Leading up to PromaxBDA’s big international conference, we are taking a look at the speakers, sessions and panels that make the event memorable. Jennifer Bennett Allen, senior director, primetime strategy and advertising at PBS, speaks about her upcoming session, her career and her advice to industry up-and-comers. Don’t miss Bennett Allen’s session at this year’s conference: “Diving Deep into ‘Downton’ Abbey on Masterpiece: Driving Anticipation in the Age of Now!”

Name: Jennifer Bennett Allen

Title: Senior Director, Primetime Strategy and Advertising, PBS

Could you summarize your session in 5 words? “Downton Abbey:” an entail’s long tail.

What other speaker are you most interested in seeing at PromaxBDA: The Conference this year? I can’t pick just one… I’m more interested in the conversation around a bunch of the topics – binge viewing, millennials, driving viewers via social, branding/rebranding, etc.

How do you watch television content? TV in our family room (almost of it DVR’d, except for sporting events) iPad, iPad connected to TV in family room, small amount on iPhone.

What do you think is the most important trait of a leader? Being an iterative learner is the most important trait of a leader in my opinion – learning from mistakes, past experiences and those around you, and applying and using that knowledge and experience as you move forward through life.

What is your greatest career achievement so far? Making a career out of something that I enjoy so much, yet never would have imagined myself doing when I graduated from college. I had no idea this kind of job existed then! That, and Ken Burns knowing my name.

What one piece of advice would you give to an up-and-comer in this industry? Learn the business side of the part of the industry you are in so that you can understand what’s driving the decisions, allocation of resources and strategic direction of your company, and how what you do fits in and contributes to the bigger picture.

How did you get your start in this industry? After a couple of years in telecommunications management consulting, a woman who was anxious to get back to her fiancé in London hired me for a business development job at the newly launched BBC AMERICA channel. She had previously worked for a competitor in the management consulting space and figured I would be able to learn quickly and jump in. After a couple of years in that role, I moved into marketing at BBC AMERICA, and then after a few more years, onto PBS. I feel lucky to have landed in two places where the content is so rich and varied. In both places, I’ve also been very lucky to work for fantastic advocates and bosses who have given me opportunities, responsibility and space to grow and learn.

And for more information for PromaxBDA: The Conference, June 18-20 in Los Angeles, check back at promaxbda.org. Speakers and sessions are being constantly updated.


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