Strategies & Tactics

Jennifer Cho on Tech Innovations

June 3, 2019

Name: Jennifer Cho

Current status: EVP/General Manager, Weber Shandwick Southwest

Location: Dallas

Career highlights: The career pivot — from the music industry to experiential marketing to analytics strategy and communications

Any three dinner guests: Genghis Khan, the Obamas and Eliza Hamilton

Favorite musician/artist: All things opera and musicals. I find it hard to listen to popular music because I still analyze it for business, which means I am thinking too much to genuinely enjoy it.

Best thing to do in your downtime: Hang with my dogs, explore Dallas and greater Texas (I’m a New York transplant) — especially theater and restaurants and in general, and catch up on content — shows, books, podcasts and whatever else.


You got your start in the legal world, but what was your dream job as a child?

I am actually not an attorney; that was what my parents thought my career path should be when they were funding my college education. I tried to obey their wishes, so I found an internship at an entertainment law firm to learn and explore. That is where I was exposed to the business of music and was able to land my first job with Blackground/Virgin Records working for Aaliyah and Timbaland.

As a child, I dreamt of being an archaeologist and a fashion designer. I was encouraged to attend a medical sciences high school to explore a more stable career. I’m a first-generation American and my parents didn’t really support a career outside of being a doctor or lawyer. Even today, they still struggle to understand what I do for a living.

 

You also created and ran your own record label. What inspired this?

My father owned his own company while I was growing up, and I knew early on that I wanted to be my own boss. While I was working at RED Distribution/Sony Music, I encountered a music artist who was pitching for his own label deal. I was a huge fan of his work. Using my intern experience and my relationship with the attorney I had worked for, I was lucky enough to have the right leaders coach me into making my dream of owning my own company into the reality of owning a record label.

 

At Weber Shandwick, you oversee employees who work remotely in several cities. What are tips to effectively managing remote staff?

In the past, I had the experience of managing an entirely remote team (M2W) that was led out of New York but had a national scope. At Fish Technologies, I inherited a team that had been working out of one office for years. What I learned is to base performance on deliverables and have empathy for the work experience, whether in the office or at home.

 

What other tech-related trends do you see on the horizon?

Tech is life! I am excited to see what 5G does for innovation in general. We’re living in the fourth industrial revolution. With all of the changes in AI and the IoT space, I am excited to see how our daily lives will change — and the pace at which they will. Even with the challenges that new technology brings, the improvements on our daily lives will be something I’ll continue to embrace.

 

In a previous piece, you mentioned you’re in the process of building a new home. What ways are some new technologies playing a role in that?

Building a home in 2019 had been a technology adventure! The advanced technology that creates efficiencies in living — from energy bills to extermination to general wear and tear — has been amazing to learn about and has created easy ways for me to track warranties, maintenance schedules and repairs in ways that will improve my quality of life, save me money and, ultimately, allow me to maintain my home for a lifetime of happiness.

On the convenience side, it has been exciting to see what I can connect (all things Alexa) and automate. I feel like almost everything can be voice controlled or automated and I can’t wait to see what new technology we can incorporate into our lifestyle.

 

What is your favorite part of working in public relations?

The human element. As marketing and communications professionals, we all realize that integrated programs informed and driven by analytics deliver the strongest results. What I appreciate about public relations is that, at the core, we need to tell stories that resonate with us emotionally. I love how public relations brings that human aspect into all of the work my teams are delivering every day.

Amy Jacques

Amy Jacques is the managing editor of publications for PRSA. A native of Greenville, S.C., she holds a master’s degree in arts journalism from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in advertising from the University of Georgia’s Grady College and a certificate in magazine and website publishing from New York University.

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