“If where you’re going in your career tends to scare you a little bit, chances are you’re going in the right direction.” -Jennifer Fiorenza
Jennifer Fiorenza is the Vice President for the Beauty, Fashion and Lifestyle Division at Beautiful Planning Marketing & PR, a firm which is currently one of the top PR companies for both national and international coverage. Growing up, Jennifer was a social butterfly and soon found a passion for fashion. Being the first of her family to attend higher education, Fiorenza continues to prove her success with an extensive background and understanding of the industry. With her love of meeting new people, marketing, and fashion, Jennifer Fiorenza doesn’t “work” a day in her life.
Q. You clearly have a very exciting job -- so tell me how did your career story start and how did you get that first foot in the door?
I went to Towson University in Baltimore, Maryland where I was a mass communications major with a minor in journalism. After I graduated I got a short stint at a regional magazine in Baltimore and then I went into advertising. I was in advertising for about a year when a friend of mine linked me into the PR industry. She introduced me to a small boutique company that specialized in beauty and fashion. I was there for about 6 years run by a husband and wife. Eventually they split the company and I was the head of the consumer practice division. The husband part of the company had made a deal that if I stuck with him, he would sign over the beauty & fashion clients to me. And he did. I wanted to get back into the agency life. I worked up to VP of Public Relations at 5W PR, one of the top 20 PR agencies in the U.S. Soon an opportunity to work with Beautiful Planning and Monique Tatum (Chairman and Founder of Beautiful Planning) came about and I just adored Monique and the team here. We’re small but steady and work with a range of fashion and beauty clients. I have about 15 years in the industry and I love what I do everyday.
Q. So when you think back to your high school days, is there anything that indicated that you would thrive in this line of work?
I loved fashion. I would always find people in school who I would want to makeover and take them shopping. I was also on the school newspaper both in high school and in college and I loved to write. To have a career in public relations and do well, you have to be a strong writer. Q. So for me the words “beauty”, “fashion”, and “entertainment” gets me really excited. And I’m sure that your job comes with a lot of perks. So what is that one thing about your job that gets you out of bed every morning? Well, 2 things: I love beauty products and one of the perks is that you always get to sample out an endless supply of them. I think another really great thing is that it is something different everyday to do. My job is never the same. It really encompasses everything. I get to meet new people, write, and garner media for a client. What I also love about working with a boutique company is that you get to work with smaller clients and you really get to watch them grow.
Q. Even though it is really exciting, is there any roadblocks you had to deal with to get to where you are today?
I think it was navigating it. I had to learn the importance of networking and not burning any bridges. I think for me also, it was really treating everybody the same. Some of the assistants I’ve worked with when I was an assistant are now at the top of their game so it is really important to network and put yourself out there and not being afraid to take risks. “Even though you aren’t sure where you want to go, take a step and hopefully you will land where you’re supposed to.”
Q. I’m sure a lot of young girls dream of having a job like yours -- so what does it really take to succeed in your industry?
I started at the bottom -- packing up samples for the media and managing the inventory of beauty samples. I always tell people that there’s a method to the madness. That yes you get out of school after 4 years of college and end up stocking lipstick samples alphabetically...doesn’t sound that awesome. However even the seemingly little task of stocking lipstick samples is a learning experience.
Also, I think it’s really being able to multitask because you really have to be able to do multiple things during the day. It’s also about pitching in and being a team player. In addition, if you really want to succeed in the industry you really have to be a strong writer, network, and really understand the client’s goals and meet them.
Q. What advice would you have to teenage girls or to yourself when you were 15?
I think it’s about finding what you love and finding a job that would let you do that. So if you love fashion, don’t give up fashion, even if you start out working in retail. It’s also about being open and making a lot of connections. One thing I would tell my younger self is that if where you’re going in your career tends to scare you a little bit, chances are you’re going in the right direction.
A big thank you to Jennifer for sharing her career story with us! Read more about Beautiful Planning Marketing and Public Relations here.
by Tiffany Gonzalez, Head Reporter