As a child at school career days, Willie Jackson dressed up as his father, an IT consultant, thinking he’d follow in his footsteps. After college, he did consult for a while before realizing his passion for advertising and finding the right audience for goods or services.
How Willie Jackson built a data-driven team at Starcom
Jackson, 38, got his start in the advertising space in 2011, working at Mindshare as manager of business planning. He has since made his way up to executive VP, data strategy, at Starcom—where he combines data, technology and creativity to help solve clients’ business problems.
Since taking on the role last year, Jackson has helped new and existing clients including Lowe’s, AutoZone, ESPN, Best Buy, McDonald's and ABI. His team has also increased demand by 25% year-over-year. He also co-developed a new mentorship program for the 100-person data and analytics team and piloted a senior leadership mentorship program within the solutions architect team.
“I feel like I’m in a very interesting kind of point in my professional journey, and one of the things that I am passionate about is building people and developing people and growing people,” Jackson said. He added that while data and analytic-driven roles are often “relegated to being independent contributors, I think that building a team that is motivated by their successes and their development has been really rewarding.”
Jackson also serves as a mentor for junior and mid-level talent, where he can foster connections through his involvement in the Black Association of Starcom Employees.
If you could have dinner with one person, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
Leonardo di Vinci. Language barrier aside, it would be fascinating to hear about the myriad inventions that he captured in his journals, as well as his perspective on the modern iterations of many of his ideas.
What are the top two social media sites you use on a regular basis?
Instagram and Reddit.
What's currently on your bedside reading list?
“Tragic Magic” by Wesley Brown.
What was the last show you binge-watched?
Most recently, I binge-watched both “Inventing Anna” and “The Bear.”
At what age do you hope to retire?
I’m not sure I’ll ever truly retire, but by 60, I would love to be pursuing a variety of industry-related passions, while spending time with family and making space for cycling and travel.
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