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Laura Jensen

Company: Initiative, an IPG company, US global media & advertising agency

Title of Current Job Position: Director, Digital Marketing

Recently Awarded: The Golden Elephant Award

Degree and Year of Graduation: Communications Major with Marketing and Professional writing minors; Graduated in 2012

Involvement while a Student at Virginia Tech: Original founding member of PRISM, Hokie Ambassador tour guide and Orientation Leader

Post Graduation Professional Career: Laura moved right after graduation to New York City to begin her career in advertising. She lived in New York City for just over 3.5 years and was so grateful for getting my professional start in Manhattan, where it's truly a sink or swim mentality. The way she learned to work and conduct herself from the start was with the backbone of having a strong, confident, go-getter attitude, always focused on learning, growing, and saying yes to any type -- big or small-- of career growth opportunity. She got her start at a small marketing shop and then moved to Ogilvy's headquarters office where she learned the importance of cohesive teamwork, cross functional strategic efforts, and how to hold her own in big boardroom presentations with colleagues and clients. She then moved to Los Angeles where she has been for 4 years working at Initiative across the accounts of Uber, The Honest Company, Honest Beauty, Petco, and Best Western Hotels & Resorts.

What were some of your biggest professional accomplishments since graduating?: “ One of my proudest accomplishments since graduating would be centered around growth. First, I'm proud of advancing in my career in two very top challenging markets and working extremely hard to be the youngest Director at my LA office. Second, I'm proud of growing and teaching my team(s) I manage to appoint 5+ employees to grow in their careers as well.” 

The Golden Elephant Award: The Golden Elephant is a quarterly top employee recognition award, which Laura received in October 2019, after being nominated, voted on by leadership, and ultimately selected out of 600+ US employees.

Description of Award Write-Up:

Restless (disrupt the status quo) Laura is a champion of activation, providing her travel client with strategic advertising firsts that have helped her client win over 60 (!) Hotelier and Travel industry awards in 2019. Those firsts include many advertising Betas, such as being the first Travel advertiser to insert audio ads into Amazon’s streaming music Alexa-enabled devices. She is a marketplace leader internally through her assistance in marketing evaluations and landscape POVs.

Radical (let’s feel uncomfortable) She’s help to stretch our agency boundaries by pitching and getting the approval to run our first paid influencer advertising program. The program was an absolute success, leading to another renewal in the year. The campaign drove over 1.8MM video views that built an entirely new customer list and a 626% lift in branded search on Google.

Relentless (don’t take no for an answer) She has been relentless in searching out custom partner solutions within the confines of client directive. She negotiated a free test with Roku to build a custom program to new customers was additive to existing advertising.

Above all, Laura is an admirable person, manager and role model who cares about her team, colleagues and the success of her client.

Additional information:

“I absolutely loved my time at Virginia Tech and value the education I received that taught me to be a bold, confident leader and strong woman. My career advice for any future students is to never stop learning... find out what your key passions are and your top 3 key strengths and focus your hard work around those strengths. Be confident, work hard, and empower those around you to do the same. Go, Hokies!”