In each “On Leadership” column, Allen Lima Leadership Executive Director Matt Childers talks with a regional business leader. This week, he profiles Jessika Phillips, president of NOW Marketing Group in Elida.
Matt: What were your early years like?
Jessika: I grew up in Allen County for the most part and lived in Lima. I graduated from Lima Senior. I went through the DECA program at LSH with the late Mr. Jack Black, who was amazing, and he had a huge influence on me. I was someone who was always working. My first job was a paper route, and then I worked at Dairy Queen.
Matt: You mentioned Jack Black. He was very influential in many people’s lives. What would you say about Jack Black?
Jessika: I cannot say enough good things about Mr. Black. I really got the opportunity to know him, and he was able to see qualities in myself that maybe I had not been able to see or notice. He taught me interviewing skills and customer service. Customer service was his specialty! I also learned from him how he made everyone he talked with, that they were the most important person.
Matt: Did you know what you wanted to do professionally at that time?
Jessika: No. (Laughs) I always loved technology, and I was always a nerd for computers. My first “big girl” job was working in telecommunications at Verizon. We were moving people from the bigger phones, Zack Morris phones (laughs), to smaller phones that had photo features, text and data. Verizon also was willing to pay for college and, although I was a psychology major, I found that marketing was a blend of psychology, so I transitioned to marketing and fell in love with marketing.
Matt: So take our audience from Verizon to NOW Marketing Group?
Jessika: I was in customer service at Verizon, then a team leader and manager. I then went to a competitor and was working with clients in Northwest Ohio. In many cases, these were small mom-and-pop customers with no marketing budgets. I saw the need as social media was upon to help these companies, and so I decided to start my own company. I started in March of 2010. This is our 10 year anniversary in business!
Matt: How did you go about building your team at NOW Marketing?
Jessika: Starting out, I was very fortunate to have a mentor who had a similar business in Chicago. So he helped with all the paperwork. Kathy Keller at Rhodes really helped with getting the legal set up and getting established. I had an office in downtown Lima, and honestly the team members came to me. We always look for those people who have a passion for helping businesses.
Matt: You mentioned earlier customer service. What do you say to your team about customer service?
Jessika: I always say it’s not what we do, but how we do it. Our message is bigger than our product or service. We like to add value as if we were a member of their team and they become part of the “NOW Family,” as we like to call it.
Matt: Expand on that?
Jessika: Everything our team members do for our customers is based on “Customer CARE,” an acronym we use: Capture the attention of the ideal audience. Articulate their message, build real Relationships for repeat business, Exceptional experiences. That’s our process.
Matt: How has your leadership evolved over time?
Jessika: I would say I am always learning. I have learned not everyone communicates the same way. Some may prefer written words, while others need to talk it out. I have learned to identify whom I am working with and what best serves them.
Matt: What’s the best advice you have received?
Jessika: The quote I live by is, “Act like everything is rigged in your favor.” Mindset is everything. When you have a good mindset, you are hopeful, and you have your goals that you are passionate about, that energy is contagious. Mindset is the most important investment you can have as a leader and as a team.
Matt: What was your experience like in Allen Lima Leadership?
Jessika: I actually went through Allen Lima Leadership twice! Lucky me. I loved it so much that it did it twice. One to go through the program, and the other taking photos and helping post via social media. I have lived in Lima my whole life and still didn’t realize how much I didn’t know. I have a new respect for the police department, the manufacturing and all the community leaders in what they built and what they have given to make sure our community is taken care of and thriving, what our community has to offer and the pride we feel as a community. I also enjoyed the relationships built within ALL.