Jessica Zell, 26, works in Delray Beach, Florida, as marketing manager at Paragon Events Inc. As a 2019 40 Under 40 honoree, Zell discusses her passion for the events industry.
*Connect with Zell on Instagram.
What I do: I proudly lead the strategy and development of our internal and external marketing plans, including the budgets, labor metrics and performance goals for each area. Our in-house department serves a multitude of industries and offers comprehensive support for print and digital marketing. On a regular basis, I contribute to the brand concept, graphic and web design, email marketing, social media, public relations and on-site signage installation for client accounts.
How I got here: I often credit my high school drafting and design program for first allowing me to explore varying marketing equipment and tools—ranging from screen printing presses to digital software. It inspired me to attend Florida State University, where I participated in several internships and experiences to develop a strong portfolio. Through professional connections, I was then introduced to Paragon Events Inc., of which I am extremely thankful, especially for recognizing my potential and continuing to fuel my true passion.
Greatest career accomplishment: In October 2018, I put forth the initiative to strategize and write a conference session script, featuring Hanson Robotic’s Sophia the Robot, for the Hawaii Global Tourism Summit. The assignment included many moving parts (no pun intended) and challenged me to incorporate a futuristic perspective, while still preserving the value of the human touch. For the same event and over two consecutive years, I have also led the development and facilitation of their full-scale signage plan, encompassing endless concepts, hundreds of materials, and multiple vendors to manage and work with.
Impressive stats: I’ve successfully directed the transition of three websites within the last two years, migrating over to entirely new platforms and learning the back-end systems; secured five speaking opportunities within the last year for our President & CEO Renee Radabaugh and assisted in the development of each presentation; submitted and received four industry awards within the last year for the company and varying team members; received a seven percent increase in new business leads within the last six months due to social media efforts and engagement initiatives and facilitated and supported the completion of more than 2,500 graphic design requests (not including individual quantities) within the last year, for more than 65 meeting and event programs in five countries.
Specific improvement I’ve made: Through utilizing the project management tool SmartSheets, I created a custom sheet where employees can log in, select a specific form pertaining to their request, simply fill out the corresponding fields, and submit their request to the queue. From there, our designers can upload digital proofs, address any edits, view what assignments are top priority and comment with any questions to quickly approve a project into production.
What I am working on now: I am most eager for the launch of our new company website. It has been a collaborative team effort for more than two years in the making and we are finally reaching the final stages for its reveal.
What I do outside of work: I love to stay active and exert my excess energy into exercise. I balance between running and paddleboarding, and I strive to attend a local yoga event each month, where attendees actually receive access to the luxury spa area (talk about a win!).