Name: Amanda C. Jones
Current Role: Brand Management, COVERGIRL
Hometown: Little Rock, AR
College/University & Degrees:
- The University of Arkansas– BSBA Marketing Management, Cum Laude
- The Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University– MBA, Marketing Management & Management and Organizations
- How did you find/obtain your job? The journey to my current job started the summer before my senior year of college, when I interned at General Mills. It was there that I realized I loved the idea of Brand Management and was advised to eventually go back to school to earn an MBA. After five years of working post-undergraduate work in the retail industry as a Buyer, I decided to start the MBA journey. Before applying to business school, I applied to a pre-MBA program called Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT). MLT is an excellent organization that exists to close the gap between minority talent and top business leadership roles. As an MLT fellow, I was exposed to several Fortune 500 companies seeking to hire diverse MBA talent, including Procter & Gamble (the company that owns iconic brands like Tide, Pampers and COVERGIRL). I interviewed for an internship during business school, and then accepted a full-time offer upon graduating with my MBA.
- What does a typical day look like for you? A typical day in Brand Management is everything but typical. The best analogy for this job is being an owner of your own business. I am a cross-functional leader who is responsible for the overall sales and profit growth of my business. On any given day, that could mean traveling to New York to develop a new digital advertising strategy with Facebook, collaborating with my finance team to develop complex sales and profit forecasts, or working on set at a photo shoot for our next TV commercial. If I had to sum it up, there are three main skills I use on a daily basis: strategic thinking, analytical reasoning and creativity. It makes my job different every day- new challenges, new solutions and a huge need for time management and prioritization skills!
- What do you like most about your job? Least? I love seeing something I worked hard on show up in the marketplace. Any time I open a magazine and see a print ad, turn on the TV and see a commercial, or walk into a store and see a product that I launched, it’s an amazing feeling. Not many jobs allow you to truly see your work tangibly come to life. I also love the chance to continuously learn every day and never get bored. Whether it’s a new social media app that is all the rage, a new makeup trend that everyone wants to try, or a new way to bring my products to market, this job allows me to never stop being a student of my craft. What do I like least? I work a lot! While I think it’s a blessing to have a job that I love and don’t mind working, I seem to always be plugged in. This aspect of my job can sometimes take away from doing things for myself- like cooking more, working out or traveling for pleasure.
- What advice would you give someone seeking to enter this industry? Be relentless. The beauty industry is sometimes seen as hard to break into. And equally, brand management is competitive. If you are passionate about doing this, you must relentlessly pursue it. Seek out internships (even if they are unpaid) to gain valuable experience. Sign up for industry organizations to stay informed and build a network. And always tell your story passionately every chance you get. At one point during business school, I was simply known as “the girl at Kellogg that wants to work in beauty.” And that worked out well for me because I began to make a name for myself as a passionate, hardworking individual who knew what she was after and was willing to do the work to get it.
- How do you feel being a Black woman in your industry? Luckily, I work in an industry that is more populated by women than most industries. However, even in the Beauty industry, the further up you ascend the leadership ranks, the more male-dominated it gets. The same is true for race and ethnicity. And frankly, it shouldn’t be. I love the idea that I can contribute to closing that gap, both as a future senior leader, as well as giving back to young minority women who aspire to the same career. While I’m certainly not the first African-American woman to pursue a Marketing career in the Beauty industry, I definitely want to make sure I’m not the last.
- What advice would you give to other women of color who want to be like you? First, don’t let your gender or ethnicity define you. The hard facts: African-American women represent 7% of all employees at publicly listed companies, but only 2% of board seats, and a whopping 0.2% of the CEO spots. At first glance, those are pretty depressing statistics. While they illustrate a scarcity at the top, they also tell you it is possible. Many intelligent Black women have paved the way for people like myself to continue to break barriers and be successful in business. Our job is to recognize the opportunity, be confident in our abilities versus our white male counterparts, and go after it. Second, get a sponsor. In Corporate America, a sponsor is an internal advocate- someone with high rank in your company that will vouch for your abilities and elevate your perception among other senior leaders. This is more than just a mentor (which you should also have). A sponsor is probably the single most important person any rising leader can have, but it is even more important for Black women given the current lack of representation in the senior ranks.
- What would you tell your 16 year old self? “You are enough.” As a teenager (and even still today to some extent) I often discounted myself. “You aren’t pretty enough.” “You aren’t smart enough.” “You don’t have enough experience.” Those words are self-deprecating. And ultimately, can be self-fulfilling. It took me too long to become a person who was confident in myself and my abilities. And it still takes conscious effort every day to maintain that level of confidence (which I sometimes still fail to do). Take it from me- YOU ARE ENOUGH. And the sooner you realize that, the quicker you can soar to new heights that you thought were unimaginable.
- Who do you aspire to be? Who are your role models – dead or alive? I aspire to be someone who is passionate about life, fearless when taking on new opportunities, family-oriented, graceful and benevolent. There are so many women who embody this spirit. A few of my favorites- First Lady Michelle Obama, President and CEO of Sam’s Club, Rosalind Brewer and my absolute favorite- my mother.