Fueling Customer Satisfaction

PROVO, Utah – Jan 21, 2022 – After he learned from a fast-food mogul and role model, Dustin Leonard dreamed of becoming a successful marketer. Now a BYU Marriott School of Business marketing senior, Leonard discovered that success comes through mentorship, pursuing his marketing passions, and seizing opportunities. 

As a high school student in his hometown of Edmond, Oklahoma, Leonard was introduced by a mutual friend to Todd Smith, president and chief marketing officer of drive-in restaurant company Sonic Corporation. Smith ignited Leonard’s interest in marketing by teaching him the fundamentals of product promotion and consumer values. “Todd mentored me through Sonic’s marketing processes using real-life examples from their test kitchens and new product campaigns,” says Leonard. “He helped me see marketing concepts in action and inspired me to pursue a degree in marketing.” 

The knowledge Leonard gained from Smith led him to study at BYU Marriott where he learned from another inspiring mentor—BJ Allen, assistant professor of marketing and global supply chain.  “Professor Allen encouraged me to find a ‘why statement,’ which is a specific purpose for pursuing marketing, to motivate me to perform better and enjoy the work I do,” Leonard says.  

“This is why I am studying marketing: I want to pursue a career that challenges my abilities and allows me to follow my dream of working in the automotive industry while making a living,” says Leonard. His love for the automotive industry began as a child when his father taught him how to repair old car engines. “I love working on cars. I realized that I could merge my interest in cars with my passion for marketing by pursuing a career in the automotive marketing industry,” he says.  

Leonard had the opportunity to gain experience in the automotive industry during his junior year as a product marketing intern with Cummins Engines. As an intern, he helped Cummins engineers determine the qualities that customers value in a car engine. Leonard hopes to continue pursuing his love for marketing and passion for helping customers find products that fit their needs by looking for employment at an automotive manufacturing company after his graduation in April 2022.

In addition to learning from mentors and obtaining work experience, Leonard takes advantage of opportunities available to him as a BYU Marriott student. Leonard became involved with the BYU Sales Society and serves as the vice president of competitions. In this role, he finds opportunities for BYU Marriott marketing students to compete in case competitions across the country.  

Leonard not only identifies case competition opportunities for his peers, he also participates as a competitor himself. Recently, Leonard and a team of three other BYU Marriott marketing students won first place at the MarketStar Case Competition held at Utah State University. During the competition, Leonard also received the Rising Star Award, a recognition presented to one student for their skills during their team’s presentation.    

As both a leader for his peers and a team player, Leonard appreciates the opportunities he receives through BYU Marriott to learn and lead. “Participating in and organizing case competitions teaches me the value of working with a team of dedicated students,” Leonard says. “The collaborative nature of the marketing program at BYU Marriott allows me to learn from my peers and improve my marketing abilities.” 

Speaking of his time at BYU Marriott, Leonard advises incoming marketing students to discover their own "why statements" for pursuing marketing. “My why statement to work in automotive marketing has propelled me to work hard during late nights and long weeks,” he explains. “The most important skill to develop as a student is to have a growth mindset because every obstacle is an opportunity to grow. Obtaining an education at BYU Marriott has taught me that I can pursue my hobbies and career goals by learning from mentors and seizing every opportunity.” 

BYU Marriott marketing senior Dustin Leonard. Photo courtesy of Dustin Leonard.
BYU Marriott marketing senior Dustin Leonard. Photo courtesy of Dustin Leonard.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Kaylee Hepburn