How a sponsor changed Jessica Palm’s career

Posted on Mar 6, 2019 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

Jessica Palm and Stauffer-Flint Hall at the University of Kansas
Kansas City Jayhawk Jessica Palm was recently featured in Fast Company’s article “7 successful women explain how they got the sponsor that changed their careers.” Palm, j’11, is past president of the Greater Kansas City Alumni Network and is Vice President, Lead Executive for TeamKC: Life+Talent at the Kansas City Area Development Council. An excerpt of the article featuring Palm is below.

After Jessica Palm had worked a year at the Kansas City Area Development Council as a public relations specialist, her CEO challenged her to create a talent attraction and lifestyle marketing initiative.

At the time, Palm, now a vice president at the organization, was 23 years old and knew that winning the trust of executives at the company and business leaders representing top employers in the region was going to take a lot of effort. She turned to Martin Mini, a chief marketing officer at her organization, for help.

When Palm ran into roadblocks securing funding for her initiative, Mini advocated on her behalf both internally in the organization and externally in the community. Today, the initiative is recognized nationally as a top talent attraction and lifestyle marketing effort in economic development, says Palm. She believes that Mini’s sponsorships is also one of the driving forces behind the five promotions she’s had in the eight years she’s been at the organization.

How she attracted the attention of a sponsor

Palm learned about sponsorship in the workplace in 2007 in a women’s studies class in college. The class taught her that being intentional when identifying a sponsor is critical in a career. In many ways, the onus of a sponsor relationship falls on the person wanting to be sponsored. When Palm knew she needed support for her new initiative, she identified Mini, a senior leader in the organization who she knew had the influence she would need to get the job done.

The Jayhawk Career Network provides a central hub to coordinate career connections and networking opportunities for students and alumni at every life stage. Services include KU Mentoring, a job board, informational articles and more. For more information about the Jayhawk Career Network, contact Kristi Laclé, assistant vice president for the Jayhawk Career Network, at

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