Have you ever met Jen Cullen Williams at a trade show or a trade event? If not, seek her out – with a trademark warm smile and friendly enthusiasm she will wow you with her marketing know-how. It’s no wonder she won two major jewelry industry awards this year – the Women’s Jewelry Association Award for Excellence in marketing and communications, and the Jewelers 24 Karat Club of Southern California’s Rising Star Award!
Jen is the Managing Director of Luxury Brand Group (LBG) a brand communications agency with offices in Los Angeles, New York City and Orange County and specializes in marketing and public relations for the jewelry and luxury industries.
Josette: You have been working at LBG for over nine years now. What do you like the most about your job?
Jen: There are many aspects I like about my job, it’s a bit hard to pin it down to one thing. First and foremost, I love the people I work with – my boss, Frank Proctor, my amazing LBG colleagues, our clients and the incredible people of the jewelry industry like the Mark Patterson team. I love the opportunity to travel and constantly meet new people and continue to build new relationships. My job mixes creativity with business, and I get to work with some of the most established and brilliant professionals you could ever imagine. It is unbelievably fulfilling collaborating with our clients on public relations and branding initiatives that ultimately increase awareness to help grow their businesses.
Everyday, whether I’m a trade event, in the Orange County, New York offices or the Product Placement Showroom in Hollywood, my day is always unique and exciting.
Josette: What has been your most memorable moment while working at LBG and why? What did you learn from this experience?
Jen: Just one experience?! There has been countless amazing career highlights, but the one that stands out the most, and that I will always cherish, was the moment my name was announced as the winner of the WJA Award for Excellence in marketing and communications. It was a complete surprise, and a true honor. I felt like I was winning an Academy Award (a dream I had since I had been a little girl). Receiving that honor solidified that I’m exactly where I should be in my career, and I need to continue working hard and serving the jewelry industry.
Josette: You have become very influential in our industry, and have made an impact on launching the careers of a lot of newcomers. Although marketing is your priority, I think you have mastered the art of networking. Can you share some tips on how best to translate networking into marketing success?
Jen: Thanks for the kind words. I’m a social person by nature, so meeting people and forming relationships is one of the best aspects of what I get do. I was told during my first Las Vegas trade show events in 2007, “Business relationships don’t happen on the show floor… they happen in the after hours.”
My best networking tips:
• Smile and say hello to everyone you meet – when you see them again later smile and say hello, even if you can’t recall their name or business
• Say YES to industry social events and invitations to dinners, especially the ones with people you may not know as well
• Be able to explain who you are and what you/your company does clearly and concisely and in under 30 seconds
• Break apart from your colleagues to “work the room” to truly maximize your time mixing and mingling during industry networking events
• Ask questions – pay attention, listen and try hard to remember what is shared
• Collect business cards and stay in touch with the people you meet via email and social media
• Drink LOTS OF WATER throughout networking events – of course, it’s ok to drink an “adult beverage” but make sure its in moderation. Hydration is crucial when you are talking during loud events, especially if you are consuming alcohol and caffeinated drinks like coffee.