We are extremely proud and excited to announce that TUNE’s vice president of marketing, Jennifer Wong, made the very prestigious 2018 Forbes 30 Under 30 list recently in the Marketing & Advertising category.
Forbes says that there is typically only a 4% acceptance rate for nominees, so this is one of the toughest best-of lists to crack. Wong hit the list just in time: she is now 29 and in her last year of eligibility.
I asked her a few questions about the process, her feelings, and what she’s working on next.
John Koetsier: What is the 30 Under 30? Why does Forbes put this together, and how does Forbes decide who gets in?
Wong: Forbes calls its 30 Under 30 lists an “encyclopedia of creative disruption featuring 600 young stars in 20 different industries.”
I was nominated by a couple of people this year. Andrew Dumont, a 30 Under 30 alumni, submitted my name after Linkedin contacts submitted my name a few times when he published a status update on LinkedIn asking for recommendations of people he should nominate.
(Coincidentally, Andrew is also was the person that introduced me to the TUNE team for the first time five years ago.)
Kieran Hannon, CMO at Belkin, also submitted my name in the open nomination form. Over the past year I’ve gotten to know Kieran at several marketing events around the world. He’s a great conversationalist and always inspires new ideas for creating better consumer experiences.
The application review process is a mystery from a candidate perspective but Randall Lane, editor of Forbes Magazine, recently published this article about how the Forbes 30 under 30 selection process works.
Right before Halloween I received an email from the Forbes team congratulating me for being considered as a finalist for the the Marketing & Advertising category. They needed me to fill out a survey within 24 hours for them. I quickly submitted answers and after that I didn’t get an update until the list was announced.
John Koetsier: The Forbes 30 Under 30 is a pretty significant honor. What are some of the significant career steps that led to this?
Wong: I think my mindset and attitude are the biggest factors that have influenced my career.
At every stage of my career, regardless of the specific role or responsibility, I’ve always been excited about building, creating and collaborating with people that are smarter than me and excited about the impact we are making on an industry.
I know I’m in the right place when I’m surrounded by unrivaled talent, burning passion, unrivaled commitment and massive brain power.
John Koetsier: Who were some of the people that were influential in your early career?
Wong: Throughout my career and to this date, I’ve had several mentors, managers, and peers who have influenced my growth as a marketer and executive.
Instead of collecting a roster of people, I’ve always been thoughtful about developing deep relationships with a fewer number of people so I can also invest and add value for them as well.
John Koetsier: What is it like getting the 30 Under 30 honor?
Wong: I didn’t realize I was on the list until halfway through the day. I was taking a Behavioral Economics class at Yale so I was ‘off the grid’ for most of the week. All of a sudden my phone was lighting up with notifications. When I had a moment to read through the list, my first reaction was, “this must be a mistake.”
I had a bit of imposter syndrome creep up reading bios and seeing the impressive accomplishments of my 30 under 30 peers. But then I received so many kind messages from peers in the industry and friends from home.
I may never feel completely comfortable with the spotlight but I do feel deeply honored and immense gratitude to be included on the list this year.
The Forbes team does a fantastic job of welcoming and bringing together honorees. We’re all in a Facebook group and they also have ongoing events and an annual summit. On top of that, they have a member database where you can see all the 30 Under 30 alumni. Last week, there was a kick off celebration for the 2018 list at Forbes on Fifth, with 400 people in attendance.
The energy in the room was buzzing with introductions and genuine excitement for one another.
John Koetsier: Is ’30 Under 30′ going on your LinkedIn? Resume?
Wong: I’ve included the recognition on my LinkedIn profile, which is my work-in-progress resume.
John Koetsier: What are your next career moves? Goals? Ambitions?
Wong: One of the questions in the survey from Forbes was “How do you define success?” with drop down choices of Fame & Fortune, Liking yourself and what you do, Achieving your potential, and Being first.
I picked Achieving my potential.
I want to continue to work with excellent people and be impactful in helping to create opportunities for others.
Before acting as a mobile economist for TUNE, John built the VB Insight research team at VentureBeat and managed teams creating software for partners like Intel and Disney. In addition, he led technical teams, built social sites and mobile apps, and consulted on mobile, social, and IoT. In 2014, he was named to Folio's top 100 of the media industry's "most innovative entrepreneurs and market shaker-uppers." John lives in British Columbia, Canada with his family, where he coaches baseball and hockey, though not at the same time.