Alumni Spotlight: Jennifer Kerns
JK Communications, LLC
H&S Alumni Society Board of Governors General Member
Jennifer Kerns graduated from the Fisher College of Business in Marketing in 2001. Originally from Beavercreek, OH, Jennifer fell in love with Columbus while at Ohio State and planted her roots here after graduation. As owner of a successful marketing consulting firm, JK Communications LLC, and more than 10 years working at central Ohio marketing agencies, Jennifer brings a wealth of business knowledge and capabilities to her role on the Honors & Scholars Alumni Society Board of Governors. Jennifer has experience developing strategic marketing plans and managing all marketing activities for a wide range of clients including real estate, healthcare, agriculture and technology.
1. When it came time to decide where to go to college, what stood out about The Ohio State University and the University Honors Program?
I fell in love with The Ohio State University during my campus tour. It was just how I imagined a campus should look and feel for a university experience. I felt that Ohio State had the right mix of academia, support, spirit and of course fun.
I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in marketing, so I had been looking at various’ school’s business programs and was excited about the caliber of the Fisher College of Business. I knew that my passion would be fueled by the knowledge I would gain at OSU. The new Fisher campus was under construction when I did my first tour and I was lucky to enjoy the brand new space when it opened during my collegiate career
2. How did the University Honors Program impact your Ohio State experience and future career?
The Honors Program helped me to learn how to be organized and strategic to reach my goals. I loved the guidance it gave me when mapping out what classes I needed to take and the support whenever I had questions.
My business classes also gave me a confidence boost in public speaking. I enjoyed learning how to work in teams to figure out solutions to problems presented to us. It gave me a look into the future of working with co-workers and how to deal with different personalities.
3. What was your path after graduation? What advice would you give to recent alumni in pursuing their career?
After graduation, I immediately got a job at the marketing agency where I had been interning at during school. After more than 10 years in the agency world, I decided to start my own firm, JK Communications. I have experience developing strategic marketing plans and managing all marketing activities for a wide range of clients including real estate, healthcare, agriculture and technology.
I recommend doing internships to every student I meet. Working in marketing while learning about it at OSU was incredible. It made both experiences much more valuable to me. It doesn’t matter if you are doing menial or administrative tasks. Watch and observe, create connections with co-workers, learn from them and most important is to be invaluable to that organization. I also tell students to get involved with professional associations and network. I still keep in touch with people that I have worked with in the past including my former bosses when I was an intern. This has provided me with continuing learning opportunities as well as great friendships.
4. What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your current work?
Being your own boss is great. It gives me a chance to have flexibility in my day as well as working with a wide variety of clients. But of course being on your own has its own set of challenges. I miss having someone in the office right next to me to bounce ideas off of. I have built up a great network of freelancers to work on solutions, but I still miss the closeness of having office mates. Running your own business also brings you the fun of being entrepreneurial but its always a delicate balance of working on the business versus growing the business.
5. As an Ohio State alumni, how do you hope to give back to current students?
Being fortunate to live in central Ohio, it gives me an opportunity to give back to the school that gave me the foundation to my thriving career. Being on the H&S Alumni Society Board also gives me a chance to further my quest to stay involved with the OSU community and develop my skills professionally and personally.
Being an alum is an opportunity to teach prospective and current students and families what a great institution The Ohio State University is and how The Ohio State University can help them. Getting involved also offers me a chance to “pay it forward” for all the times OSU professors, staff and alum helped me through my experiences at school.
6. What are your goals for the future?
It might sound cliche, but I am always striving to be a better and more kind person. As a mom of three young children, I want to set the best example possible and guide my children to be the best they can be.
I never want to stop learning. Marketing is constantly evolving and I want to continue my passion for it. Along with that, I want to continue to grow JK Communications and provide superior service to clients.
To learn more about Jen, visit jenkcommunications.com