Gathering Around the Campfire
PROVO, Utah – Jun 08, 2022 – The crackling sound of sparks, dancing orange flames, and the glowing light of a fire cast upon the faces huddled around it are the images and sounds that play in Marinne Pearson’s mind when she thinks about a campfire. When the 2013 BYU Marriott School of Business marketing alumna was working to rebrand a new company, Pearson likened the company’s service of bringing managers together for trainings to people gathering around a campfire.
Starting at BYU in 2009, Pearson originally thought she would study to become a physician's assistant. That was, however, until she had a conversation with her dad about her intentions for her career. “He told me, ‘You like to achieve and be the best. I think you will struggle in a position where your creativity is limited and you always have to report to someone above you,’” she recalls. “He encouraged me to try business because I was good at math and liked to be creative.” Pearson decided to follow her dad’s advice and applied to the business management program at BYU Marriott.
Pearson still remembers an activity from her first marketing class after she was accepted into BYU Marriott her junior year. Her professor, Mike Bond, was teaching the adoption cycle, which is the cycle of how consumers adopt new products, and he took the class into the hallway to do an activity. Bond asked the students to dance across the hallway and then watched as one student bravely followed his instructions, then a few more, then suddenly the majority of the class all at once, then the few remaining—similar to how consumers adopt new products. “He made me realize how fun and creative marketing can be,” says Pearson. “That day was the day I knew I wanted to pursue marketing.”
Several years into her career as a marketer, Pearson was working as an event marketing manager and was feeling stuck and wanting to expand her knowledge and skill set. Once again, Pearson turned to her parents for advice. They encouraged her to pursue an MBA. After talking with her husband, Pearson discovered that he also wanted to receive his MBA. Together, the couple started the Professional MBA program at the University of Utah in 2019.
While Pearson was completing her MBA and working full-time, one of her fellow classmates connected her with Steve Arntz, cofounder of a leadership development company. Arntz asked Pearson to lead the company through a rebrand, which she did during her free time. The company was focused on growing and connecting people, and the idea of bringing people together to learn from each other made Pearson think of the common experience that people have sitting and connecting around a campfire.
The team fell in love with the name of Campfire and were committed to bringing the new brand to life. Because of Pearson's hard work, she was invited to join the team as the fourth cofounder in 2020 and help launch Campfire, an opportunity Pearson couldn't pass up. She has been at Campfire ever since.
As a cofounder, Pearson has been able to learn and grow in both her professional and personal life at a rapid rate. “I discovered rather quickly that being a cofounder meant showing up in a different way than I was used to, and I needed to be open with my other cofounders about what I was going through in my personal life," she says. "We are financially and personally invested in our developing business and the stakes are high."
“Our relationship as cofounders is more, and has to be more, than just coworkers,” adds Pearson. “When you sit around an actual campfire, you are surrounded by family and friends. At work, my fellow cofounders are who I metaphorically sit around the campfire with as we advance our business. We are like a family.”
In July 2021, Pearson, who now lives in Saratoga Springs, Utah, welcomed her first child. Becoming a mom and still working full-time required some adjustment for Pearson where she had to learn how to show up as a great mom, while also showing up as a valuable partner in the business. Arntz and the rest of the team have been incredibly supportive in providing the space that Pearson needs for these important roles. “I have grown so much as an individual and as a leader,” she says. “I feel grateful every day that as a marketing professional and a mom, I can still work and be part owner of a business that I am so passionate about.”
Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Bethany Benham