By Sabrina Garone
On Nov. 8, Sacred Heart University’s School of Communications and Media Arts (SCMA) hosted a live interview with Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Nielsen Holdings PLC, Jamere Jackson.
SCMA students packed the Martire Theater to listen to Jackson’s insights about succeeding in the world of business and communications.
The event began with a few opening remarks from SCMA Director James Castonguay. Katie Burke, SCMA’s executive in residence, conducted the interview.
“Having people like Jamere Jackson come and speak to SCMA is important in order to give students guidance and perspective,” said sophomore Ryan Touhey. “Many students feel unsure about how to get to where they want to be in life, and I felt he gave great advice and was responsive to students’ questions and concerns regarding that topic.”
Jackson attended the University of Notre Dame on a basketball scholarship. He graduated in 1990 with a degree in Finance and Economics.
Jackson has held several roles in finance, mergers and acquisitions, and strategic planning at companies such as PepsiCo, First Data Corporation, Total System Services and Procter & Gamble.
He would later go on to spend nine years at General Electric, holding the CFO position in multiple departments of the company.
In March of 2014, he was appointed CFO of Nielsen, a global information, data and measurement company.
According to their website, nielsen.com, the company studies “consumers in more than 100 countries to give the most complete view of trends and habits worldwide.”
Much of the interview revolved around the relationship between communications and business.
Jackson explained how the successfulness of a business relies so much on being a good communicator and getting a company’s message out in a way that the general public can understand.
“I found this topic to be really interesting and informative,” said junior Lauren Baker. “As a media major, it was interesting to hear about how communications and business work together. One can not be successful without the other.”
Burke’s questions not only revolved around Jackson’s experiences as a CFO, but also his experiences as a college student that prepared him for his future career endeavors.
Students were interested to hear about his college basketball days and the lessons he learned from competing on a team sport.
“I wasn’t the star player on the basketball team,” said Jackson, “but basketball taught me that everyone has different skill sets, and when people with a diversity of skills come together, that’s what makes a good team.”
Jackson connected how these skills translated to the working world.
“The same is true in business, which is why I like to surround myself with people with a diverse set of backgrounds and a wide array of experiences,” said Jackson.
Another important piece of advice Jackson shared from his college years was how to make productive use of time.
“When I was at Notre Dame, I remember thinking, ‘wow, I’m going to this school for free, I better take advantage of that,’” said Jackson. “I thought, if I wanted to get the most out of my college experience, I better take advantage of every opportunity that I can.”
A final point emphasized by Jackson was the inevitability of failure, a message sophomore Ryan Touhey found value in.
“I think it’s important to recognize that there will be setbacks in life,” said Touhey. “Jamere Jackson, and all of the speakers SCMA has hosted this semester, have made it clear that you can’t let setbacks prevent you from getting where you want to be.”