Member of Adelphi University’s Profiles in Success program.
Creator, Editor, and Publisher of “The Three Tomatoes”
Favorite Writers: F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway.
What English skills do you use today? I draw on my ability to think and write creatively on a daily basis. The skills you need to communicate effectively and deliver presentations are transferrable to so many businesses.
Value of an English degree: While I was working at New York City ad agencies, we hired a lot of English majors because we were looking for people with excellent communication skills, both verbal and written.
Advice for English majors: Get some experience working as an unpaid intern. Be willing to do anything in the field you are interested in. Distinguish your resume. Network; don’t be hesitant to reach out to people. Social networks not only help you to get a job; they are valuable throughout your career.
Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable? Cheryl Benton has the answer to this long-standing question; and it’s neither. ”In my father’s generation, instead of saying ‘that’s a good looking woman’ you’d say, ‘now that’s a tomato!’” she says.
As creator, editor, and publisher of the The Three Tomatoes, Ms. Benton is reaching out to the “tomatoes” of today – the smart and savvy women of New York City – through her e-newsletter and website. She uses her creative writing skills to cover topics ranging from books, music, and theater to beauty, fashion, and shopping; from restaurants and food, to arts and culture. ”The Three Tomatoes is the New York City insiders’ guide to living, playing, and having fun in and out of the City,” she says.
Prior to The Three Tomatoes, Ms. Benton had a successful 30-year advertising career. Shortly after graduating from Adelphi in 1973, she was introduced to the world of advertising when she joined the ad team at a technology firm. Over the next decade she worked her way up to director of advertising and then marketing director of the firm.
“In the ten years I had been working with agencies, I was always on the client side,” she says, “I wanted to try the agency side.” She decided to open her own agency on Long Island. As founder of Benton Associates, she led her technology advertising and public relations firm for 10 years before it was acquired by Bozell, the third largest advertising agency in the United States.
From there she went on to hold top-level executive positions at several different agencies, including Poppe Tyson (a division of Bozell) and Jordan McGrath Case & Partners. In these roles she drew on her expertise in advertising, marketing, and technology to help clients who had previously used traditional media build their internet divisions. Over the course of her career, she spearheaded interactive services and implemented marketing strategies for some of the country’s largest consumer companies.
After three decades in the New York City advertising community, she shifted gears in 2004 when she launched 747 Marketing, a consulting firm which specializes in high-level strategic thinking and integrated marketing strategies. ”747 Marketing offers clients strategic synergies that will allow their messages to soar and rise above the competition,” she says. ”Our goal is to bring focus, clarity, and answers to critical business issues that are standing in the way of our clients’ success.”
In addition to leading her consulting firm, Ms. Benton has been enjoying her work with The Three Tomatoes. She was inspired to start the newsletter several years ago, after noticing advertisers, marketers, and the media were ignoring women over the age of 45. ”I was frustrated. Here you have a whole group of professional, accomplished women, and nobody is talking to us,” she says. ”I decided it was high time to do something for us fabulous ladies in the prime of our lives.”
Since it began four years ago, her web site has quickly gained a large following. “Currently there are 4,000 subscribers,” she says, “Forty percent of our subscribers are from outside of New York.” With a subscriber base that grows daily and Ms. Benton’s creative juices continuing to flow, opportunities for The Three Tomatoes are boundless. “I’m having a lot of fun,” she says. ”I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes.”
When it came time to decide where to go to college, Ms. Benton chose Adelphi for its great reputation. At the University, she declared a dual major in English and political science, with a minor in education. She fondly remembers Professor Mendelson of the political science department, and she credits the English department for instilling in her a confidence in her writing. ”I learned that what I was writing was mine, and I should write it that way,” she says. ”At Adelphi I was encouraged to express myself.”
In her free time, Ms. Benton enjoys travelling and spending time with her grandchildren. She also loves reading, scuba diving, skiing, and golfing.