Fairygodboss

“The video landscape is becoming more and more complex and is constantly changing,” says Jennifer Brenner, head of client partnerships at Ampersand. “My main priority is to provide a consultative set of solutions to help clients problem solve and develop evolved strategies with better measurement.”

In her role, Brenner focuses on connecting brands to their audiences and helping advertisers make their media investments more effective. One of her main responsibilities is to collaborate across the organization, align on goals and work with everyone from data and platform to the agency teams. 

She’s the first person to have served in her role and, as one of the founding members of her team, she tells Fairygodboss that she feels energized to formalize the position she’s always been filling — even before it was an actual position.

“I loved the idea of being a pioneer and pulling together more resources and talent to really craft and shape a disciplined client practice within the organization,” Brenner says. 

We caught up with her to learn more about what that process of creating a new role for yourself looks like. Here’s what she had to say.

What did the process look like for securing this job? How did you make your case that this job should exist, and that you should be the one to do the job?

When I heard about the creation of this team, its leadership, and the access to the highest levels of advanced data available, I reached out directly and asked for it. There was a lot of change happening all at once within our organization, and I knew if I didn’t ask for what I wanted, I may not be able to shape my own destiny.

In my previous role, I had used data and measurement to engage more deeply with programmers in the media and entertainment space, and I knew that was what felt both challenging and rewarding. I also understood that this was the direction and vision for where Ampersand was heading and that this team would have the earliest and broadest access to the data. I love data!  My favorite part of this role is the ability to share data, understand goals and results together with my partners and design how to best take action from the data. 

What are the challenges of being the first person to assume a particular position? What about the advantages? 

The main challenge of assuming a new role is education and then cross-team, cross- organization alignment. Like most positions, this role doesn’t exist or work well in a silo. We needed all the other relevant teams and people involved to understand our mission.

Innovation is a key part of our most strategic partnerships. Innovation requires education and patience and, at times, grit.

The advantage of this role is that we have been at the forefront of changing the conversation, focusing on audiences and outcomes and going deeper with our clients in order to do so. My relationships with my clients feel less transactional and more purposeful, like we are on a shared journey. 

How is your experience as the first person in this role a reflection of Ampersand’s overall culture?

Ampersand’s culture is very closely related to the objectives of my role on the Client Partnerships team. Our corporate objectives fall under five buckets: people, platform, position, process, and performance. When you think about the holistic approach the role requires, leaning into these ‘5 P’s’ is critical. Constant evolution, education and flexibility are just part of it. 

How do you approach integrating your personal life and your career?

When my first son was born, 13 years ago, I strived to achieve that elusive work-life balance. Over time, I realized that it’s not ever ‘balanced’ — it’s fluid. Life is fluid. I don’t have boundaries; I have priorities and time management. I am much better at the priorities part than the time management part, but, for me, those two things are the key to integrating work and life. 

Self-care keeps me grounded. I need to move, get outdoors, go to the mountains, and listen to a lot of live music. When I do any of those things with people I care about, it’s good time management. 

What’s your No. 1 tip for women who are looking for jobs right now? 

Look for something that excites you. Don’t be afraid if it seems hard or if you don’t understand all of it. Look for something you are interested enough in to keep wanting to learn about it.

The one thing no one ever told me was that the learning and growing never stops. Once I realized that, I felt comfortable not being comfortable. And once you’re good with that, you are basically fearless. 

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