OUTFRONT Media’s CMO Jodi Senese began her career at a company called New York Subways Advertising, first as an intern, and then as a secretary and assistant to the sales promotion manager.
“I’ve worked in the OOH [out-of-home] advertising industry for my whole career, beginning 36 years ago after graduating from Rutgers University,” says Senese.
The CMO says she had joined the subway advertising company to get acquainted with New York advertising agencies. With degrees in English and criminology, Senese had planned on going to law school, but says she fell in love with advertising and has never left — and still turns to her first boss for advice and inspiration.
Now, she drives all aspects of OUTFRONT Media’s marketing efforts, in addition to helping develop new business strategies for the OOH advertising company that has more than 400,000 digital and static displays located throughout the US.
What mobile device can you not live without?
My iPhone and Kindle.
Can we take a peek at your phone’s home screen?
Which apps do you use most often for work?
News apps keep me informed and relevant (Flipboard, BuzzFeed, NPR, HuffPo, Empire Report). I’ve also started to rely on news aggregation apps, with my main points of interest set on advertising, media and technology.
What social media network or website do you frequent most when you’re not working?
BuzzFeed and BuzzFeed Food. It is the perfect combination of mindless and useful at the same time.
What’s the first thing you check on your phone in the morning?
Always my messages (instant message, text, email, etc.).
Take me through your typical workday.
I get up at 5:00 a.m., on the train at 6:00, and at my desk at 7:15. I catch up for about an hour, and then I’ll have eight to 10 scheduled meetings and calls — both internal and external — throughout the day.
What’s really different now than a few years ago is that my day is completely structured; 90 percent of phone calls are scheduled calls. I have many “interruptions” throughout the day from co-workers and my team. I actually welcome these, because some of the best ideas emanate from our informal chats.
What has been the most exciting work development during the past year?
Transitioning our company from a static medium that began as a “sign seller” industry to a media company that facilitates the connection between brands and audiences while they are in the OOH space.
We have deep roots in our assets — billboards and transit ads — but are evolving to include a holistic approach that enables advertisers to tell their brand stories to audiences while they are away from home (which is 70 percent of the time they are awake).
What does your office look like — any sentimental objects you can share?
I have a mug that says “Dog mom,” photos of my family, and six bottles of tequila — not sure where they came from!
How many miles have you traveled in the last 12 months?
I travel twice a month, on average — I would count number of trips versus actual miles. I travel to our many offices across the US. My most exciting upcoming trip is next month when I head to Amsterdam with my teenage daughter. While it is not a business trip, I am planning to pay close attention to the OOH landscape.
What work challenge keeps you up at night?
My brain is wired analog, but we’re now in a physically digital world — it can be tough to keep up your knowledge base, skill set and remain relevant as things change. Many on my team, and a good number of our clients, are digital natives, so I need to be constantly learning.
I think I learn as much as I teach!
Can you tell us about a campaign or work project you’d like to do over?
In marketing, you need to keep moving the ball down the field. Few things are perfect, but you need momentum and to learn things as you go. I can’t regret any one campaign because I’ve learned from them all.
Tell me about the people who have been most influential in your career.
My first boss who hired me out of college. I worked for him for about 20 years, and he’s still my go-to guy when I need advice and inspiration.
What traits does a person need to succeed in your position?
Emotional intelligence, communication skills, and equal parts ability to give and take advice.
Can you tell us something about yourself that your team would be surprised to know?
I drove cross-country in a Volkswagen Bug around 25 years ago. Oh, and it was a stick shift!
Why did you go into marketing?
I studied English and criminology in college. Actually, I thought I was going to go to law school, but then decided on advertising.
I took an internship at New York Subways to get acquainted with the New York advertising agencies. During the internship, I fell in love with the industry and never left.
What other career would you like to try, and why?
I really enjoy the work I do, and it’s difficult to envision myself working in another industry.
What’s the last business book you read, and what did you think of it?
“Platform Revolution” by Sangeet Paul Choudary, Marshall W. Van Alstyne and Geoffrey G. Parker. It provided great insight into what our economy looks like now and what it means for the future.
Outside of your company’s efforts, what ad campaign caught your eye recently?
I think the “Stop Smoking” [“Make Smoking History”] TV spots are really well done, there’s so much emotion and impact.