40 Under Forty: Michelle Jackson, market development manager, CenturyLink

2014-02-02T00:15:00Z 2014-02-10T16:40:18Z 40 Under Forty: Michelle Jackson, market development manager, CenturyLink The Billings Gazette
February 02, 2014 12:15 am

More and more, the way to do business in the 21st century is to get your head in the cloud.

No, we’re not talking about spending long hours daydreaming like Walter Mitty.

Cloud computing involves moving certain information technology functions such as data storage and even some applications into the cloud, a vast array of servers located in remote sites.

Michelle Jackson of Billings, market development manager for the telecommunications company CenturyLink, says more businesses have grown to understand the advantages of working in the cloud.

“It’s exciting to see where the cloud is going,” Jackson said. “More businesses are moving their entire networks to the cloud, and from a cost perspective, it makes sense.”

Rather than investing in servers and other equipment that will likely be obsolete in a year or two, it makes sense to move functions to the cloud, Jackson said.

Before going to work for CenturyLink, Jackson worked in the Officie of Political Practices in Montana. That agency will often spend months investigating complaints about campaigns or candidates. By contrast, Jackson enjoys the fast pace of working for a technology company.

What’s the toughest challenge that you have faced in your business? As the market development manager, I face the challenge of managing a large territory that encompasses Eastern Montana and Wyoming. Each local community is unique and the marketing tactics that may work in one particular community may not always work in another community. It is my goal to put together effective localized marketing plans that will make an impact in each local community.

What did you learn from that challenge? Over the past few years, I have learned that working closely with the local employees in each community is of the utmost importance in order to put together a successful marketing plan. Being in the trenches with the local teams makes all of the difference.

What’s the best business advice you have received? Always give people a second chance in business. If you end up having a fallout with someone, make the effort to reach out to him or her later. You never know what kind of business relationship you may end up developing with that person.

Who gave you that advice? Jeremy Ferkin, the VP/GM for CenturyLink over the states of Montana and Wyoming.

Here’s what I’d like to do to improve my community: I would like to provide the Billings Public School district with the most up-to-date and available technologies for the classroom. Technology is going to continue to play a crucial role in the workforce. Providing children with technological hands-on experience will only help strengthen our community and future workforce.

Aside from profit and loss, how do you measure success in your job? This question can be answered in one word: Relationships. Every successful public relations and marketing professional understands the importance of relationships. In order to help a business build and grow a positive image within a community, one must develop key relationships within that community.

Which living person do you most admire? Richard Branson. He started his business from his basement and grew it into what it is today. Along the way he has built up and empowered many other entrepreneurs to start their own successful businesses.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Being a mom. It may sound cliché, but family really is one of the most important things to me in life.

I’m happiest when I’m… collaborating with a group of like-minded professionals to come up with a creative solution to any given problem. I love working with a group that is not afraid to develop creative and innovative ideas. Working with a team where the sky is the limit is refreshing and empowering.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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