Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Surprising People: Jennifer Cornell

Jenn Cornell, PR Superhero
Jenn Cornell
This Tuesday I rousted myself from bed a little earlier than usual so that I could meet one of my classmates from Leadership Ann Arbor. Jenn Cornell was in my project group back at the beginning of the class and whenever we had a moment or two we had some fun conversations. In the last class, Quality of Life Day, while walking to the Michigan Theater, she revealed to me that she was going to be leaving the public relations firm where she had worked for the last seven years to head off on her own.

Now, please keep in mind that Jenn is everything you would expect in a public relations expert. She's knowledgeable, creative, has made great contacts with the media, and has an amazing eye as to how to craft a message to target a particular venue. She's probably one of the friendliest and most outgoing people I've ever met. I was astounded by some of the intricacies of how she helps people position themselves and get their message out to their audience and potential customers. In fact, she says that one of her biggest challenges is in helping the client understand that what they are selling is not necessarily their product, but rather that intangible quality that the client gains from the product -- whether that be more time with loved ones, a sense of security about the future, or more energy to achieve their dreams.

And, yet, with all that, she's got a deep dark secret...

... She's a nerd.

Of course, I'm hardly one to point fingers, but it's always quite wonderful to discover others like me out there.

How did I find out?

I was waiting for her in the restaurant when I saw her pull up outside. I noticed in her rear window that she had a "Transformers" sticker. When I asked her about it, she told me that she has been a fan since she was a kid and that she still frequents Vault of Midnight, the local comic book shop. In fact, she knew more than I did about some of the upcoming comics-related news.

The funny thing is, we're all "nerds" to one extent or another. To be a nerd is just to have a passion for something which other people might not understand. Some people love to attend foreign films, others prefer spending every spare minute in their gardens, still others invest their time obsessing over stamps or coins or baseball cards.

It comes down to this: All things being equal, we do business with those people we like (and sometimes even when things aren't equal). Of course, you want to work with people who are skilled at what they do, as Jenn most certainly is. What makes us human and ultimately approachable, are those parts of our lives which make us fun and interesting -- whether it be prize-winning roses or a healthy obsession for the collectible toys from our youth.

By the way, if you own or work for an established IT company in or near Ann Arbor and you need to get your message out, you really need to talk to Jenn. She'll know just how to help you out.

So, what obsession do you have that would make people call you a "nerd"?

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Jenn sounds like a groovy chic, Greg. Seriously, thanks for the shout out.

I'd suggest you've got some skill in the PR world yourself -- note how you "clear confusion" vs. consult on IT. Talk about SPIN!

Cheers!
~J