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Jessica Powell

Vice President of Marketing & Brand Strategy at Bellagio

Interdisciplinary Studies with concentration in Mass Communications and Graphic Design

Graduated in 1993

Explain your career path

After interning with Boyd Gaming during my senior year at Southeast I secured a job with the gaming company's advertising agency. That led me to Las Vegas working the marketing firm that represented many of the city's casinos. From there I moved to Chicago and joined Leo Burnett working on the Walt Disney World and Disney Cruise Line brands. Since then I've worked for some of the world's biggest and best advertising agencies such as McCann, DDB and David&Golaith and have specialized in the travel and hospitality categories. My latest role as the Vice President of Marketing & Brand Strategy for the Bellagio brought me back to Las Vegas.

What was your major at Southeast and what led you to that?

In speaking to marketing professionals while I was in school I learned the importance of understanding marketing strategy as well as creative. Southeast allowed me to create an Interdisciplinary Studies major with concentrations in graphic design and mass communications that provided the hybrid education that I needed.

Why did you choose to attend Southeast?

I grew up in Cape Girardeau.

Who influenced you most during your time at Southeast?

My graphic design professor Louise Bodenheimer as well as Dean Martin Jones

Share your best college memory.

Getting a B in Dr. Baldwin's Mass Comm Class. I still reference court cases that I learned about in her class.

What is the most important thing you learned while you were at Southeast?

Collaboration. Working with other mass communications to submit a campaign into the Business Marketing Awards competition was the most painful and illuminating part of my college education. It was also the most authentic, real world experience.

Describe Southeast in three words.

Inspiring Approachable Springboard

What is your greatest professional accomplishment?

Authoring a series of research-based white papers designed to help the gaming industry better understand the needs and desires of younger players.

How did your education at Southeast prepare you for what you are doing today?

Southeast taught me nothing is handed to you. Work hard and show perseverance and people will want to help you. Dr. Bodenheimer and Dean Jones helped me find the scholarship opportunities and part time jobs that not only got me through college, but set me up for a wonderful career.

What advice would you give current students or recent graduates interested in pursuing a career in your professional field?

Don't specialize too early. Learn it all. Media planning. Coding. Design. Advertising strategy. It's easier to find a job with a wide array of skills.

What do you wish you had known before graduating and entering the "real world"?

Learn to love collaboration. Marketing is a team sport.


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College of Humanities and Social Sciences
One University Plaza
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701