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New Marketing Manager Joins SmartZone, Invent@NMU April 9, 2020

Manistique native Nicole Johnson is the new marketing manager of Innovate Marquette SmartZone, which partners with Invent@NMU to support economic development from a shared location on Northern Michigan University’s campus.

After graduating from Western Michigan University in December 2014 with a degree in marketing and international business, Johnson moved to Grand Rapids, Mich. to join the private brands’ team at StartanNash as a project coordinator. In the summer of 2017, she left her position at StartanNash and moved to New Zealand for more challenging freelance opportunities.

Over the last three years, Johnson has worked as a freelance marketer with a variety of clients in the travel and wellness industry focused specifically on developing and implementing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies, brand development, web design, copy writing, and other client focused creative projects. Her most recent position as a managing blog editor for and copywriter for Yoga Trade took her around South and Central America, as well as parts of Europe.

“During my time with work travel, I developed a real appreciation for the here and now,” Johnson said. “I’ve worked in a plethora of communities across a broad spectrum of cultures and nothing compares to the U.P. I’m so happy to not only be home, but to have the opportunity to work with the SmartZone’s management team supporting the expansion of the economic and entrepreneurial culture in this unique piece of paradise.”

While working at the Marquette SmartZone, Johnson will focus the majority of her efforts on managing both the day-to-day and longer-term marketing strategies for the SmartZone, Invent@NMU program and their collective set of clients supporting efforts to grow Marquette’s economic and entrepreneurial ecosystem.

“Nicole’s extensive experience in the development and execution of multi-faceted marketing and social media communication strategies brings a unique set of skills and experiences to our SmartZone and the Invent@NMU program,” said Ray Johnson, the SmartZone’s’ CEO. “We are especially glad to see team members like Nicole ‘return North’ and bring with them worldly experiences to share and implement.”

Nicole officially joined the Innovate Marquette SmartZone team on March 23. For more information, visit

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