Looking back, you could say Kenzi Jones’ dream of becoming a chief marketing officer started around her family’s kitchen table.
But Kenzi doesn’t spend a lot of time looking back. In fact, her laser-focus on the future has been the driving force of her emerging business career.
“I think finding something that makes you excited and happy to do all the time is important,” she says. “I think optimism—always looking at the bright side, not dwelling on the past—is important for continuously moving forward.”
As a self-described “creative kid,” Kenzi knew early on she wanted to pursue business, but on her terms. With her dad working in sales and her mom working in marketing, conversations about business were a common dinnertime occurrence, and planted the seed for Kenzi that a career in marketing—either in sports or the consumer packaged goods industry—was a real possibility.
While her first steps into business came in high school during an internship with a local credit union, her trajectory skyrocketed when she was admitted to the Business Emerging Leaders (BEL) Program at the Wisconsin School of Business, a college preparatory program for students from diverse backgrounds that have strong academic records and leadership skills.
Family has always been the biggest motivator in Kenzi’s life—and the catalyst for her pursuing a career in business, just like her parents.
Later, when Kenzi came to WSB as an undergraduate student, her focus expanded beyond just getting a business education. She began immersing herself in opportunities and finding ways to elevate the voices of those around her.
To that end, Kenzi joined Women in Business during her first semester on campus, where she held leadership positions over the years ranging from trip director to senior vice president of corporate relations.
During her senior year, Kenzi also landed a brand marketing internship with Under Armour—something that immediately put her creativity and talent to work.
“It was probably the best internship I’ve ever had,” she says. “I was immersed in so many different areas within the marketing field and outside of it. My team let me play a really big hands-on role. It was just absolutely amazing.”
Now, as she explores her post-graduation career options—and her ultimate path to the C-suite—she knows what’s important to her and possesses the skills to get there.
“I want to make an impact within a company, help drive the direction but also make sure that everyone on my team’s voice is heard,” she says. “It’s also important to me that I know there’s inclusion within the business world through many different avenues. I value flexibility and the ability to keep learning and growing.”
What is your favorite place on campus?
Who inspires you?
My mom and Michelle Obama.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
Just take the chance and put yourself out there.