This week, I interviewed Janet about her experiences working in marketing, reporting from the recent Space Shuttle launch via Twitter, networking in the Triangle, swimming with reef sharks in the Caribbean, and more.
Janet M. Kennedy
1. What’s one of the most memorable projects you’ve worked on?
Fresh on my mind is the NASA TweetUp from which I just returned. It came about serendipitously as I was learning more about engaging with Twitter and expanding my interaction with some local marketing professionals. I entered a contest to be an “Official Twitter-er” from the launch of the STS-132 mission, the last launch of the Atlantis Space Shuttle on May 14th at 2:20pm.
The team at NASA were gracious and generous hosts setting up an air-conditioned tent next to the International Press location, “as close to the launch site as you could get without being strapped in.” The event involved a complete day of programming on Thursday, May 13th, including guest speakers: Astronauts Janice Voss and Dave Wolf, Chief Technologist Bobby Braun, Space Suit Engineer Ron Woods, and more. We also received a special tour of Kennedy Space Center. We were also treated to a very close viewing of the Gantry retraction on Thursday afternoon.
Friday involved more speakers and sharing our site with the arrival of the international press. All the preparation, of course, lead to the launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis which did not disappoint. The countdown was very quiet where were we standing because NASA did not want to interfere with the broadcasters.
At T-:15, the crowd of Twitter TweetUps and media verbally started to count down and then…words fail. The power, the immensity and the overwhelming accomplishment that put the vessel and her precious human cargo in space was inspiring. It was one of my proudest moments as an American.
2. What do you do professionally?
I am the Director, Market Development for Market Vue Partners. We are a consumer research and marketing services firm providing consumer sales analysis, customer segmentation and targeted direct mail for franchises, retailers, banks, insurance and other B2C verticals.
3. Since you started your career, what are the biggest changes you’ve seen in marketing?
As a marketer with two decades of experience I have seen many changes in the marketing field but the last five years have been the most dramatic. The rise of web driven retailing, communication and consumer relationships has changed the game for all marketers.
What concerns me is the newer generation of marketers is skipping core business planning in a rush to implement internet and social media strategies without determining if the social media strategy fits in the overall marketing plan.
4. What are some of the things you read, follow, or attend to keep up with the latest trends?
I believe that without continuous input of new information and relationships it would be almost impossible to keep up with the developments in the industry.
I follow a few blogs of national thought leaders but find that daily interaction, information sharing and brainstorming from my marketing colleagues in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area to be essential to staying on top of new developments and trends.
5. What advice do you have for people who are early in their marketing careers?
It is easier than ever before to make contact with other professionals in your field. Find the professional organization(s) that meet your career goals and become active. Volunteer to support the organization and give your time.
The networking connections you can make can benefit you in the short and long run. Always try to give as much as you take.
6. What do you do for fun outside of work?
This question could take a long time. I have a great group of friends who love to try new experiences; concerts, outdoor summer movies, dancing, movies–we are always on the go. I enjoy volunteering for local charities, especially at special events and fundraisers.
7. What’s something most people might not know about you?
I was certified to scuba dive in December of 2008 and dove with Caribbean Reef Sharks last year.
8. Is there anything else you’d like to share?
My career has taken some unexpected turns but each time I found new opportunities by keeping an open mind, embracing the new and looking for opportunities to help others. It is an old expression, but true, “You reap what you sow.”
Thank you for sharing your experience and advice, Janet!
Is there someone you’d like to learn from? Let me know and I may be able to feature them in a future profile. Note: I cannot guarantee everyone will have shark experience.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Janet Kennedy