Transformation Series: Jessica Pritchard
By Jessica Pritchard, East Coast Account Sales
Transformation isn’t a one time process. I was born in Chicago but spent the majority of life growing up in Pittsburgh. If you’re a friend, colleague or client, you probably know my pup, Sidney Pawsby, who my husband and I aptly named after Pittsburgh hockey legend Sidney Crosby. My mom was one of the first female colorectal surgeons, which was a huge feat as the field was and still is very male dominated. Because of her job, we moved around a lot and got used to being nomads for a while. This also forced me to learn how to make new connections & friends quickly. In addition, I’m a typical first child (one of three girls) and have embraced the leadership personality that comes with being the oldest. I always felt like I had no option but to succeed. I went on to get a full scholarship to William & Mary for gymnastics, where I led the team as Captain my last two years, and majored in Business with a focus in Marketing.
My first internship was with Colgate Palmolive in Cincinnati. It was great because I was able to explore different departments such as finance and marketing to get a feel for where my interests lie. I was so fortunate to be offered a job opportunity following my internship, but ultimately decided I didn’t want a corporate role where I was going to be one of thousands – I like being a big fish in a small pond, so my job search continued.
During my senior year, I was put in touch with a mentor, through a family friend, who presented me with an opportunity in New York. It felt like the right move to start my career in the best city in the world (if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere is what I was hearing). So I made my way into the Big Apple at an agency called Merkle, where I started on the Ad Ops team. I had NO idea what ad ops, floodlights, pixels, or trafficking were. It was the first time I had a task where I didn’t feel like I could do it. I’d always dominated every job in front of me and this was a first (Shoutout to our COMS team). However, my mentor told me it was so important to understand these foundational skills and that they would set me up for the future. So I kept at it, and she was right.
I eventually moved from ad ops into a planner/buyer role and transitioned to the agency’s people-based identity solution team called M1, which happened to be one of the reasons Merkle was acquired by Dentsu. I started working on the platform and was put into somewhat of an internal sales role, explaining the solution to our own agency teams for them to adopt. I finally started getting my feet wet with sales, however I wasn’t getting a lot of the perks that typically come along with a sales role nor building my network. I truly wanted to sink or swim based on my own performance.
During my time at Merkle, I had made a great relationship with one of the sellers that called on my agency. She let me know that she was starting at a new company called VideoAmp. It sounded like an up-and-coming and intriguing company. She let me know they were starting to build out a sales team, and I was very interested in learning more. As a sort of unofficial VideoAmp interview, I made my way to a happy hour that all of the leadership at the time was at. I had no idea what I was walking into. Needless to say, I passed the test.
After that, I was able to officially interview and fell in love with all of the people. Even better, after getting to take a peak underneath the hood of what VideoAmp was building, I was blown away. They had spent two years actually building the product and solutions before they even thought about building a sales team. There wasn’t a rush to sell. It was clear that they wanted to make a kickass product and create a strong foundation led by the product & engineering team.
Initially, VideoAmp wanted to bring me in as an account manager and I said no because I felt I wanted to be in a sales role as that’s where I could add the most value. So, they opened a sales role for me and I started as an account executive reporting to the first-ever seller at VideoAmp. Gymnastics taught me grit, discipline and determination, and I was able to call on those experiences to always be at the top of the VideoAmp leaderboard. And here I am now, five years later, running our east coast region which brings in 76% of company revenue.
I always knew I wanted to be in sales and gymnastics taught me a lot of the skills that I tap into now as a salesperson. I love competition and chasing a number and knowing exactly where I stand. In gymnastics, even if you scored very well and won the meet, there was always something to improve upon and do better. I also feel I’m able to help people in solving their problems on a daily basis in my role. The psychological aspect of sales allows me to tap into my empathic side and understand exactly where our client is coming from and what they need in order to succeed in their own goals. I also love sales for the communications aspect and being able to speak to a room full of people and feel the energy.
I could have never achieved what I have without the help of all the strong female leaders that surround me. Both at work, where I have no shortage of fierce women to work with and learn from, but also at home, where my mom has always been my greatest influence. The ultimate boss woman. I feel so fortunate for all of these forces in my life and I’m so happy to be able to pass this support on and help uplift those around me as well.
I love so many things about working at VideoAmp. But above all else, I love the people and culture. These are genuine differentiators at VideoAmp. Others can copy your products, solutions, or strategy, etc., but no one can copy our culture. It goes so much farther than work for so many of us. People I’ve met and worked with here have become lifelong friends. There’s a passion and caring for each other beyond just work. We push and challenge each other to be better everyday. Something I always say is we put the “it” in “grit”. A lot of us have the “it” factor – the likability and flair. But “grit” takes things to that next level. We all have the grIT and are so determined to meet our goals, taking on any challenge and persevering together. VideoAmp has taught me that transformation isn’t a one time process, and it’s not always something you do alone. We’ve transformed this company into a successful reality, and along the way my team has molded me into a better person by challenging each other daily, all the laughs we share, advice we pass on to each other, and most importantly from hearing their own stories. I couldn’t ask for a better team.