Featured Advisory Board Member: Jennifer Cho, Weber Shandwick
DISE advisory board member Jennifer Cho is the EVP/GM Southwest at Weber Shandwick, an international public relations agency with offices in 79 cities. Jen’s robust background in sports and entertainment has led to a fascinating career path, and her leadership and extensive experience in marketing have made her a valuable addition to the DISE team. Jen was recently the moderator for our diversity and inclusion in sports event, Cultivating Change On and Off the Court. She’s also graciously lent both her time and her team to help with our own DISE marketing endeavors, and for that we’re very grateful!
We caught up with Jen to ask for her thoughts about the growing and changing sports and entertainment industry in Dallas and what advice she might have for up-and-coming professionals.
Why did you choose to get involved with DISE?
As a Texas transplant with a professional career working in the sports and entertainment industry, I was looking to connect in Dallas. I was intrigued by how DISE leveraged its stellar roster of Advisory Board members and Young Professionals not only to network, but to give back to the DFW community. After attending a Fast Pitch event where I saw everything in action, I was eager to join this important community.
What is your favorite part about working in the sports/entertainment industry?
100, 1,000 or 10,000 years from now, how will we be remembered? Yes, there are historians who will document and interpret how we have moved forward, but it is in the sports and entertainment world where the future of humanity will understand our culture - what it was really like to live today. To be a part of creating that culture and to have a voice in creating it is a privilege as well as a responsibility. I love being a part of this industry as a fan and am honored to be a working professional that gets to deliver the best of who we are for the future to see.
What excites you most about the North Texas sports/entertainment industry specifically? Where do you see the future of the industry in North Texas?
With the growth of the DFW population, it’s interesting to see the increased participation in sporting activities from a junior level to the plethora of professional sporting events that we can attend as adults all year round. It’s exciting to see Dallas host historic events like the Winter Classic while investing in the future of sports with the build of the Esports stadium in Arlington.
Have you seen any major changes or innovations recently in how firms like Weber Shandwick support and service their clients?
Our daily lives are changing at an unprecedented pace, and as communicators and marketers, it is exciting to see how we are evolving our capabilities and talent to embrace - and lead - this change. Instead of pitching specific capabilities or pre-baked solutions, we are really trying to solve challenges for our clients and deliver against their specific needs.
How would you describe your career path that led to your current position?
I think I have been lucky to have a career fueled by passion. From music and telecommunication marketing to sports, analytics and communications, I enjoy teaching ways to leverage learnings to be successful in any industry. My path has definitely not been linear, and I think that is why I feel so fulfilled by the work I have been able to do and capable of leading my amazing and talented team of integrated marketing professionals.
What do you consider to be your biggest professional accomplishment?
I am the most proud of the wins and learnings I was able to experience owning and operating my own music label early in my career. As an entrepreneur who faced impossible challenges and earned some miraculous wins, I was able to experience the full range of success and failure. Leading a start-up, understanding the business behind the business, managing integrated marketing campaigns and being accountable for sales – all of those early experiences taught me so much, and at the same time showed me how much I needed to know. My experience with my label fuels my efforts to continue my professional education to this day.
What are the most sought-after skills for someone working at a PR agency right now?
Agency delineation is becoming blurred. All agencies, whether PR, marketing, digital or creative are looking for individuals who are great at what they do. There is a need for great specialists, whether that means earned media, digital or analytics and also for generalists who have had strong integrated marketing experience and know how to drive team collaboration. We are always looking for the best of the best as agencies are defined by their talent – and the great work of the talented teams they bring together.
What advice would you give someone looking to work at an agency like Weber Shandwick?
Do the work. Develop the core communication skills required of a marcomms professional. There are so many online and in person courses that can structure professional learning outside of an office. Bring your whole self. As leaders in the communications and marketing industry, we are always innovating, we are always solving the problems of our clients. In order to do that, we need to embrace all perspectives and we need to recruit talented professionals who are strong in their own identity and ready to collaborate with the most talented people in the industry.
What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?
I use this time and time again, but my dad told me that if I was the smartest person in the room, to find a new room. Joining DISE was an intentional decision and I am learning from this amazing room of sports and entertainment professionals every day!
Learn more about Jen and connect on Linkedin.