Catching up with an Alum: Dennis Hull
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With a Business Economics degree from Miami University, Dennis began his career in nonprofit development for various Chicago-area organizations. Each experience taught him to be more creative, collaborative and inquisitive. Then, in 2006, he had the unintended good fortune of discovering the Wisconsin School of Business while working on a stakeholder survey with A.C. Nielsen Center Executive Advisory Board Member Steve Cooley. It proved to be the right time for Dennis to make a career change by specializing in a Marketing Research MBA from Wisconsin. Although Economics, Nonprofit and Insights may initially appear a random mix, in fact, Dennis found each one an opportunity to look beyond “what” is happening to critically learn “why”.
In his time at the A.C. Nielsen Center, Dennis was encouraged to embrace his innate curiosity while also honing his skillset as a burgeoning insights professional. The Wisconsin MBA provided incredible opportunities in and out of the classroom – from the classrooms of Neeraj Arora and Jan Heide, to the student section in Camp Randall, to the fish markets of Tsukiji. It also led to first a summer internship and then a full-time opportunity with the CMI team at Wrigley. For the next seven and a half years, Dennis continued to learn in a variety of base, innovation and shopper insights roles. He also expanded his network among the tightknit marketing research community, and he chewed a lot of Orbit gum.
In January 2017, Dennis joined Merisant, Inc to build its global insights capability as the Director – Consumer Insights. Dennis is responsible for discovering and embedding objective insights that shape strategy and grow the business for Merisant, a Chicago-based tabletop sweetener company with a global brand portfolio including Whole Earth Sweetener Co, Canderel, Equal and Pure Via.
Additionally, Dennis remains invested in the Wisconsin School of Business as an Alumni Board member since 2014, an annual donor since 2009 and a Lifetime Member of the Wisconsin Union. Each helps him maintain a connection to the University of Wisconsin as well as acknowledge the transformational experience provided by his time in Madison.
Dennis and his wife, Barbara, live in the Chicago suburb of Northbrook with Emma (5), Brendan (3) and Molly (5 months). Everyone is well-rested… especially mom and dad.