career profile | marketing & communications strategist

Aussie born, English bred shoe addict with a passion for Public Relations and Communications. Jenna has a background in Performing Arts, PR and Communications, and is currently work as an internal Marketing and Communications Strategist for Australian Technology company, WorldSmart. She operates her own freelance consulting firm, JW Communications and has a number of private clients in the Fashion, Entertainment, Technology, Hospitality, Real Estate and Lifestyle industries in Australian and the UK. Recently, Jenna has accepted a consultant’s position with Sydney based PR firm, Weber Shandwick.

Jenna Woods | Marketing & Communications Strategist, WorldSmart

Brief description of your role:
WorldSmart is a technology development company in SA, specialising in both hardware and software, and within it, encompasses WorldSmart Technology, WorldSmart POS Solutions for Hospitality, WorldSmart POS Solutions for Retail and The Jackpot Club. My role is effectively to contribute to the overall success and profitability of WorldSmart through the coordination and implementation of marketing, advertising, Public Relations and communications related strategies. This can and does involve everything from social media management and evaluation, community management, copy writing, development of marketing strategies, budgets and schedules, market based analytics, internal communications and campaign strategies for all of the brands within WorldSmart.

At JW Communications, I represent private clients in a multitude of ways, assisting them to heighten the awareness of their brand, and to communicate effectively with their stakeholders. I also write for Adelaide based PR and Events firm, Glam Adelaide under this guise, as well as Cargo ART Magazine, reviewing events, music, theatrical performances, and films, as well as contributing editorials

So… what do you actually do?

6:00AM – Alarm goes off, light yoga and core exercises 7:00AM – Get ready, drink lots of tea (I’m not a big coffee drinker) 8:30Am – Arrive at office 9:30AM – Review emails news and events, draft social media posts for the day, gather images 10:00AM-5:00PM – Meeting with department heads in Hospitality, Retail and The Jackpot Club, work on brand strategy, database development, marketing schedules, budgets, campaign development, maintain digital presence on social media, draft copy for website and publications, review advertising drafts, talk to art department, review industry journals and white papers, develop brochures and somewhere/sometimes, lunch. 6:00PM – Get home 6:30-7:30PM – Dinner, walk the dog, gym (maybe), sometimes after work drinks, or an event to review for Cargo ART or GLAM Adelaide 8:00PM – Communicate with private clients about the day, discuss posts for social media, editorial ideas, and gather images. 10:00PM – Draft editorial content for clients, work on private client’s needs, digital evaluation and interaction, (especially for hospitality clients as they are busiest at nights). 11:00PM – Wind down and digital detox.Nighttime ritual, remove all make up and read before sleep, (normally a book I am reviewing).

How did you get to your position of being a Marketing & Communications Strategist?
I was approached on LinkedIn. My Managing Director saw my profile and my digital portfolio which I included and told me that he thought they had a need for someone with the skills that I had, and that they wanted to find a place for me at WorldSmart.

Have you always wanted to work in the PR/Marketing Industry?
From as young as I can remember, I wanted to be an actress. I was convinced that by 16 I would be in my first feature film, and that I would have my Oscar and have appeared on Broadway by the time I was 25, so this wasn’t always the dream. I even studied for four years in Flinders University Drama department, and applied for NIDA, but as the years went on I found more fulfillment in the Media and Communications courses I took as electives, and eventually went on to study my Post Graduate Degree in PR and Communications. While I work in Marketing and Communications now, through interning, and setting up my own freelance agency, I was able to grow my skills in a number of disciplines, and truly discovered a passion for storytelling and branding. I am now excited to be moving into a formal PR role with Weber Shandwick PR in Sydney.

What do you love about your role?
I love accomplishing goals, and this industry allows for that. I love that I can wake up in the morning knowing that I will work with two completely different clients, with their own objectives and messages, and then be able to check that off my list and move on to something else, and this is AFTER I have worked an 8 hour day with WorldSmart and dedicated myself to achieving their goals. There is no limit to what you can work on if you have the drive and passion for it, and I love that PR, Marketing and Communications allow for that flexibility and respect that kind of dedication and ambition.

In your current role, what has been your biggest achievement?
Actually just getting the job was a big highlight for me. I was so proud of myself that by displaying my skills in the right forums, and in the right way, that someone from within the corporate world was able to see something in me that would work in their organization. I originally did not have a lot of luck pursuing career opportunities through traditional channels, so I changed my tactics. I started to embrace myself as a client which I would present and market to the industry, and it has worked. I was offered my position with WorldSmart because I changed my tactics, backed myself and was willing to present at every opportunity.

Over your career, what has been your ‘love this’ moment?
I have little moments like that all the time. The first time I was invited to my first big campaign launch as an industry representative and not just a guest was a big moment for me. The first time I was published as a contributing author to a magazine was another. My first international article. My first big client signed to JW Communications. There are many times when I will be up until 2am writing a client’s campaign strategy, or going over budgets or filling a last minute story with my editor when I am just overwhelmed and I think this is crazy, but much more often, I am reminded why I love what I do.

I get emails now from people who have seen my editorials, seen my portfolio or just approached me on LinkedIn, asking for advice or how they can market themselves and create their own personal brand. That is a big ‘woo-hoo!’ moment for me.

What would be the least favorite aspect of your role?
The hours can be difficult. Not to borrow too heavily from Kelly Cutrone, but PR is not a job it’s a lifestyle, and can often mean you go to events and meet with clients when you are on your deathbed with a cold or sleep deprived. Ideally you have a good support network who will tell you to just tough it out, bring you soup and tell you that you’re not crazy for being out until 2am three nights in a row, but it can be overwhelming at times.

Any advice for anyone aspiring to work in the PR/Marketing industry?
Firstly, know your personal brand and market it appropriately. Focus on what your skills are, where your passions lay and where you want to go both professionally and personally. Create your own brand and then go for it. If your passion is fashion, create a kick ass Instagram, write a blog and connect with others in your field. If you have a passion for finance, connect with influencers. Go to networking events and make yourself known in your field. If you can’t do this for yourself, then how do you ever expect to advise a client on how to present their brand?

And secondly, seek out mentors, and respect them. For so long I would approach people in the industry, and my professors at uni and invite them for coffee to discuss ‘opportunities’ and I approached it from a ‘What can you do for me?’ angle, and I was amazed that they didn’t just give me their phone book and install me directly into their firms. It took time, and one not-so-subtle tutor of mine to whom I will always be grateful, to tell me to look beyond what I want right now, and plan my long term career. I started connecting with him and my other mentors in a different way. I was interested in what they have done and been through and because of it, I volunteered my time. I wrote for free in magazines to get exposure as I was advised. I interned at firms which would build up areas on my skillset which we underdeveloped, and I met regularly with these influencers as friends. I am very lucky to have had, and still have some brilliant mentors in the industry, and my advice to anyone wanting to break into or develop their own career in this or any industry, is to seek out your own influencers and mentors, and to learn from them as much as you can. In time, they will become your biggest fans and strongest supporters in your career, and you may make some firm friends out of the experience as well.

Thank you Jenna – what a fantastic insight into your world and career journey. Love your dedication and passion for the industry…

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