Game Changers: Jennifer Hanley
Driver Carl Edwards wrote to thank Hanley and former employer Scotts Miracle-Gro after his first wins at NASCAR’s highest levels.
“I kind of started out in an employee-relations role. I put on company events and wrote the company newsletter,” Hanley said. “And then I got into a marketing role and never looked back.”
Hanley returned to Rubbermaid for a job after graduation. She proceeded from there to be a pivotal force in the marketing efforts of Mac Tools, Scotts Miracle-Gro and now Nationwide. In the last year, Nationwide launched its “Join the Nation” campaign, which Hanley says has greatly increased brand awareness. Hanley and her team also have maintained a large role in the sponsorship of NASCAR, including helping to bring the Nationwide Series to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time last year. “That was a big deal for us because that’s not too far from Columbus,” where Nationwide is headquartered, Hanley said.
- Crowning professional achievement: Last year, we launched the “Join the Nation” campaign, and it was fully integrated. There was a team of over 100 people who deserve credit.
- Biggest professional disappointment: To me, it’s always disappointing when you’re ever in a situation where you lose talent, for whatever reason. Whenever something happens that impacts people, that’s a big deal.
- Woman in sports business you’d most like to meet: Pat Summitt. She’s unbelievable, in terms of what she’s been able to do, and she did this in a time when it was not necessarily easy.
- What would you, at age 18, find surprising about the person you’ve become today?: I always thought, “Am I going to be a mom or have a career?” I never thought I would get to do both, and here I am doing both. (I’m not saying it’s been easy!)
- The biggest challenge I face working in the sports business is …: Getting the most leverage out of the property for your brand and being relevant to your fans. You’ve got to be authentic and genuine to the fan.
“I’ve enjoyed working closely with Jennifer in her current role at Nationwide Insurance, and previously during her tenure with Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. It’s a testament to both her creativity and versatility that she has developed such successful marketing programs leveraging motorsports in such a short time for two companies with such different business models and marketing objectives.”