Alumni

Copy the Leader: Jordan Garcia
Jordan Garcia, j’06, is the president of JNA Advertisting. We sat down with Jordan to learn what leadership means to him.

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Jayhawks in leadership positions are everywhere you look, including through the Jayhawk Career Network. KU Alumni, in partnership with SumnerOne, is highlighting Jayhawk leaders who are models for others in their industries with our “Copy the Leader” program.

What do you do in your work?

JNA Advertising is located in Kansas City and has been helping brands across the country for over 18 years. We are a branding agency that manages business-building campaigns. What we are not is a boutique design shop. Instead, we look at a brand in its entirety, then shape the communications, marketing plans and creative programs accordingly. We design tons of logos. We design and build websites. We implement PR programs. We manage extensive social media plans. We produce strategic events. All of our resources are integrated with systematic planning based on a thoughtful brand strategy. Some of our notable clients include Blue Buffalo, Merck Animal Health, Kansas Lottery, Kansas Department of Transportation, Pet-Ag, Country Club Bank, and Visit Wichita.

 

My main goal as a leader of JNA Advertising is to drive the strategic vision of our accounts to propel great ideas into brilliant execution across every element of the business, from creative to media to activation. In short, I try to move not only the JNA Advertising business forward but also every single one of our partners. At JNA, I could go from one conversation where we are talking about saving lives on Kansas roads to another conversation regarding launch efforts for a new pet shampoo. It is an exciting industry where I am very lucky to work with an amazing group of smart and talented people.

What are the qualities of a good leader?

Great leadership is all about inspiring the team to accomplish things they never thought they could do. To accomplish that, some of the most important qualities include integrity, accountability, vision, influence, positivity, empathy, resilience and humility.

 

It is important to create a space where every member can share their opinion and feel like their manager or mentor is available to them in person or virtually. It sounds so simple, but being approachable and avoiding micromanagement can be incredibly fruitful.

How do you practice leadership at your job?

Every day, I try to create a team atmosphere. I feel it is important to have productive and open communication with my team so that we can build trusting relationships. In advertising and marketing, I have to establish the vision and communicate it well to all stakeholders. Most importantly, I want to inspire the full team to add to the greater cause. Everyone has slightly different personal motivations, but I feel it is critical to make sure everyone understands and believes in the mission and goals that we need to achieve together.

What makes a team or group successful?

A group of creatives responding to client demands can present unique challenges. However, I have learned that having shared goals from the start helps to provide focus. We can almost always be successful if there is open communication throughout the process and the managers are aware of any problems that the team could be facing. Once problems are known, the team leaders need to do everything in their power to help them overcome the challenges.

 

I am a strong believer in having trust in my team. When you lead creative individuals, you want them to take risks. We need them to step out of the box and showcase fresh ideas. They will only do that if you trust them and they trust that you’ll give their ideas a chance.

How have you adapted to the changes brought by the pandemic in your work?

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the daily operations of nearly every workplace, and advertising agencies have been no exception. Our agency has seen a hybrid office/home schedule change the nature of creative collaboration. We want to be flexible and allow a few days a week where our team can work from home. This allows our team to really zone in and get work done but removes a lot of random collaboration and brainstorming that isn’t forced or scheduled.

 

In our industry, we are tasked with reaching people to either change ideas and opinions or sell things. We have worked hard to humanize the brands we work on and the approaches we take. We are focused on producing better relationships with our clients and their customers in this new world.

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