Episode #28 – Jennifer Winter talks about her career pivots and her current position as a Director of Programming for digital media at a dot.com company
Jennifer Winter has always understood the importance of seeing the big picture, while always focusing on the small details. Doing both well enabled her to grow, along with Turner Broadcasting. She began her career in print publishing before moving to sports, where she coordinated sponsorships in every sport the network broadcast — NBA basketball, Major league baseball, NFL football, PGA golf, NASCAR, figure skating, and more.
After 21 years at Turner, and after rising to the position of Vice President of Sports Sponsorship and Marketing, Winter transitioned back to her home city of Austin, where she has brought the same skill to her role of Director of Programming for Texture Media. Her role is to ensure that the company has both the strategy and resources in place to grow and succeed. As she has done throughout her professional life, she is helping shape the creative vision of her company, while at the same time, ensuring that it has the plan and the resources necessary to execute that vision on time and on budget.
[3:36] Jennifer is an introvert, and full of regrets that she didn’t make changes to her life sooner, but she is happy to be home in Austin, and to be working towards acceptance of her professional position.
[4:21] Jennifer wants to make sure she doesn’t repeat the mistake of working for years in a job she didn’t like.
[5:00] Jennifer describes her career path during the first half of life, and how she spent 21 year at Turner Broadcasting, finally in Turner Sports, doing a job she never imagined.
[7:07] Jennifer explains her time at Turner. She hated sports, and all her time was spent at sporting events, and with on-air talent. People told her everyday that she had a dream job, but it wasn’t her dream to work 24/7 on sports. She kept asking herself why she hadn’t moved to entertainment, or news.
[8:50] Jennifer got to know Charles Barkley, and other great athletes, which was great, but not enough of a reason to stay. However, she stayed, unhappily, for 21 years.
[9:42] While Jennifer was at Turner, she had great friends, but was miserable. She was risk averse, and didn’t do anything to change. In 2013 Turner started talking about layoffs, and Jennifer thought about making a change, but still didn’t do anything about it. Then she got the notice that her position had been eliminated, and she was badly hurt!
[11:22] In a typical layoff, Turner went through and laid off the 20-plus year employees who were making good money. That’s what prompted the change. Jennifer was risk averse, and when it happened, her feelings were hurt, because she took it personally. They gave her a generous severance package. The family moved back to Austin.
[13:14] Even though a layoff is impersonal, and everyone is replaceable, it feels very personal. Jennifer had felt like a part of Turner, and wondered how they could do it without her!
[15:10] Jennifer is now working for Texture Media, LLC, in Austin. It’s a website all about wavy, curly, coily hair, and Jennifer is the Director of Programming, overseeing the development of video and photo content. She started as a contractor, and then became a full-time employee after a year.
[16:01] Jennifer talks about searching for a job after settling her family. Her television skills didn’t seem likely to transfer to the digital city that Austin has become. After joining Women Communicators of Austin, she gained confidence, and reached out to Marc.
[18:10] At that time, Jennifer had applied for a CSM position at TextureMedia. A phone interview showed she didn’t have the right experience for that job, but the interviewer told her there might be something coming up that she would be good for, and to follow back. So after four months they met for coffee (although Jennifer doesn’t drink it).
[19:20] They had an honest conversation about what they were looking for, what Jennifer’s background was, and where she was in life. The next day she got an offer to help them produce client videos as a contractor. The idea made Jennifer nervous. She had no idea how to discuss compensation. Marc helped her determine a good rate.
[20:58] Jennifer started at 30 hours a week, to have flexibility to pick her children up from school, and look for full-time work. However, she didn’t stop at 30 hours. She kept her Turner mentality and got things done, whatever time it took. She started to burn out. Marc told her to track hours and get paid overtime. They weren’t happy, but they did it.
[23:39] Jennifer is still challenged by the differences between broadcast media and digital media, even though they are both video content. The way people consume content is different. All the language around it, and how it is measured, are different. Keeping up with changes is challenging.
[25:27] Jennifer had the industry expertise, but she had to update her skills around digital media and platforms. Jennifer knows how to get creative people to behave themselves.
[27:17] Jennifer leaves this advice: Working with Marc has been huge, and she still calls him all the time with questions. She suggests staying involved with small networking groups, as she did with the Women Communicators. It helped her come out of her shell, and find others like her, with the same concerns, and hopes.
[30:00] Marc’s notes: Jennifer was institutionalized at Turner, and that made it difficult to leave on her own. She was angry when they let her go, but she knew it was for the best. She would not transition to a new job in a new town by applying to job postings online.
[30:27] Jennifer reached out for help, which she found at WCA, and with Marc. She was first hired as a contractor, which was a good way to ‘date’ the company. However it was new territory, and it was terrifying. She had been in a dying business — broadcasting — but she was frozen and did nothing about it. Does any of that sound familiar?
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