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Volume 20 No. 42
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Jennifer Carper, partner and chief client officer, Engine Shop

Want a start in sports? This exec notices volunteers

A veteran of the agency business with more than a decade of experience, Jennifer Carper joins experiential sports, entertainment and lifestyle marketing agency Engine Shop as a partner and chief client officer. In addition to her work with marketing companies, Carper worked for the PGA Tour in the marketing department. She spoke with staff writer Brandon McClung.

Age: I wouldn’t qualify for the SportsBusiness Journal Forty Under 40 unless you raise the age limit
New title: Partner and chief client officer, Engine Shop
Previous title: Owner, Eclipse Marketing
First job: Working at an ice cream shop on the beach in Rye, N.H.
Education: Bachelor of arts in Chinese, University of Arizona (1990)
Resides: Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., with my husband and two kids
Grew up: Amherst, N.H.
Executive most admired: My mother, a principal at public middle school
Brand most admired: Louis Vuitton
Favorite vacation spot: South Island, New Zealand
Last book read: “Alex Cross, Run” by James Patterson
Last movie seen: “Argo”
Favorite movie: The Bourne trilogy of movies
Favorite musician/band: Miguel

What will be the biggest challenge in your new position?
We have been very fortunate; the company has only been open just over 12 months and has had a tremendous amount of growth, and you need to balance that with ensuring that you are still delivering at 150 percent to your clients.

What career advice do you have for people wanting into the sports industry?
I am huge advocate of people volunteering at events. I have done a lot of hiring in this business and when I go to events to work with different properties, I am always on the lookout for people that are all with it. Just getting yourself out there and getting the experience. People do take notice, and I certainly take notice.

What is the biggest risk you’ve taken in your career?
My most recent one. Prior to me forming Eclipse, I decided to step out my comfort zone and leave a very stable and successful position with an agency to jump into the unknown to build a new business.

What is your biggest professional accomplishment?
Becoming a partner in an agency and being able to affect the culture and direction of the business.

What is your biggest professional disappointment?
That I don’t have as glamorous of a headshot as Greg Luckman!

What is one story you are continuing to watch in the sports world today?
Oscar Pistorius. It is a complete circus. It’s tragic and a bit hard to watch, but it’s quite captivating and makes no sense what happened. It’s so tragic but it is kind of like watching a train wreck to a certain degree. You keeping looking at it over and over and can’t believe what is happening.

What is the one element you would like to see changed about the sports industry?
Seeing more consistency related to the high-level customer experience at events. The definition of what is suitable and appropriate for certain brands is very different than for other brands. I think these leagues and events and organizations need to recognize the difference. I can boil it down to: Are you going to have plastic knives and forks in your hospitality or you going to have real ones?