Jodi O’Connor hired to lead brand development, PR at NZE Services
I distinctly remember the first time I met Jodi. She sent me a short LinkedIn message that said she appreciated NZE, and she hinted that she might be interested in writing for us.
I was curious.
Then I needed help with a PR campaign, and I asked Jodi if she could sacrifice a few hours out of her day to lend a hand. That went off without a hitch, and we exceeded our targets by 37%.
I was impressed.
It was about 2 months ago now that I first met Jodi in person. My business partner Kate Giles and I drove to a crowded Christchurch venue on a Friday night. You know the kind – the bars that also double as restaurants, the ones who turn up the fast-paced pop music too loud to coerce patrons into eating, drinking, and spending faster.
Over a glass of wine and a dubstep remix of Pharell’s “Happy,” Jodi was talking about her past employment at Xero, her involvement with Startup Weekend, and what she thought of the cloud startup ecosystem.
It was then that I realised that NZE needed Jodi to be an integral part of the team.
Jodi was describing to me how she is a strong believer in the power of the network.
Many of us have read the articles commanding us to send better LinkedIn invites, to actually go to “things,” and to “mingle.” Jodi does all of the above, and she believes that, in a small country like New Zealand, that’s how business gets done.
“I think networks are central to all areas of business,” she said. “Strong partnerships stem from solid relationships with people no matter what industry you are in.”
Too often, entrepreneurs get caught up in their products and forget the people who are using them.
“It’s great to interact and nurture contacts who involve themselves with your brand online,” Jodi explains, “because it creates a sense of community and belonging.”
But you need to be able to take the online, offline.
“Face to face conversations are essential for current and future business. Making a great first impression will help with lead generation for clients who may need work in the future. There’s nothing better than connecting with people.”
It was through her connections that our newest team member landed her previous job at Xero.
Back in 2009, Jodi went into the University of Canterbury wanting to be a journalist. She then transferred her degree to the University of Auckland for its last year, where she was staying with her godmother, who at the time, was the country manager for Xero.
“I was fascinated by her career,” Jodi says.
“So I started off helping with the partner presentations for accountants and attending many events where Xero had a presence.”
Jodi quickly caught the attention of Xero CEO Rod Drury, who wanted some writing done about the impact that the Christchurch earthquake had on the accounting industry, and the importance of the cloud amongst such a tragedy.
“It was here that I met Mel Morris whom I interviewed for the story,” Jodi recounted. “Mel created the business recovery centre out of her offices to help displaced business owners.”
Mel later became Jodi’s boss and mentor through Training and Beyond, a Christchurch-based global training centre for cloud applications.
Towards the end of her degree, Jodi was approached by Paula Jackson, Xero’s General Manager of Marketing at the time, to complete a project on brand awareness and compliance.
This new role evolved into providing support to the marketing team in Wellington, and a lot of time was spent working alongside the enablement and sales teams in Auckland.
Jodi graduated from university, and she was hooked on startup culture.
“The involvement in the startup culture seems to breed opportunity, and I’m loving being a part of it,” Jodi says.
“Innovation intrigues me.
“We are putting our country on the map with our startups, and our swift uptake of ‘the cloud’ has been internationally recognised,” she added.
“My exposure to Xero and the phenomenal people that make up the add-on software ecosystem have inspired me follow their journeys and get involved in my own way.”
NZE Services is providing Jodi with the perfect opportunity to do that, to work with startups every day, to help them become well known, and most of all, to help them become successful.
She’s doing that through the PR, social media, and brand development skill set that the young digital executive has learned and acquired. She’s doing it by networking, finding disruptive ways to communicate to people, and getting results.
“I love connecting with people,” Jodi says. “I love understanding vision and creating beautiful content to allow people to connect.”
“I enjoy visual arts, architecture, and music. I mould these interests into my identity and I love to be in position where my passion becomes my work in many fields, not just technology.”
This often manifests itself in Jodi’s style of work, both in design, communications, and marketing, as she goes by the mantra that business doesn’t have to be serious, and she thinks that our generation – Gen Y – are helping this new culture, this new “mode” of entrepreneurship emerge.
“Live your passion and you won’t work another day!”
Jodi is now an integral part of our team, leading the brand, social media, content, and PR side of NZE Services, and we’re impressed. We see results, we see happy clients, and we see startups that are one step closer to exceeding their targets.