Ever wonder what it’s like to walk a day in someone else’s shoes (or spend a day in someone else’s job, as the case may be)? Us too! In our “Women at work” series, we’re talking to some of the most accomplished women we know about how they got to where they are in their careers, what advice they’d give their younger selves, and any tips & tricks they’ve picked up along the way.

Name: Jackie Eisen Nathan
Job Title: Director of Internal Sponsorship Sales and Business Development for the Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City Wine & Food Festival presented by Capital One (known as NYCWFF)
Age: 32
College major: Hospitality Management with a minor in Business from the University of Florida – GO GATORS!

What does a typical day look like for you?
No day is exactly the same. However, I do spend a great deal of my time on the phone, in meetings and on email, connecting with potential partners and existing sponsors of the Festival. My mission is to get to know the brands, learn their marketing goals and get creative on bringing each brand to life as part of our Festival. I love having the opportunity to build relationships and long term partnerships to help craft brand awareness, experiential marketing and a key moment as part of our Festival, which benefits the No Kid Hungry® campaign and Food Bank For New York City.

During the actual four-day Festival, which will take place this October 11-14, 2018, I try to get to as many of our 80+ events all over the NYC to check-in on our partners, connect with team members and see our brands interacting with attendees. The actual Festival week is always a whirlwind (no sleep and constant running for me) and each year I am truly amazed at how creative brands are, while representing themselves on-site.

What role has your gender or racial identity played in your career to date?
I don’t let anything gender related hold me back or define who I am. I am proud of the work I do and how hard I have worked to get where I am. I am however very excited about our kick-off event of the 2018 NYCWFF – Supper is Served: A Tasting featuring Tarana Burke, Giada De Laurentiis, Alex Guarnaschelli, Padma Lakshmi, Katie Lee, Rachael Ray and Friends, honoring women who are changing the game both in and out of the kitchen! I am always inspired by women in our industry making great change.

Can you share the best professional advice that someone has given you along the way?
There will be hard days, long days and challenging days. These days have made me feel defeated at times, but have also pushed me to work harder and prove that certain challenges are not going to slow me down. I have learned to prioritize, I am still learning (10+ years later at the Festival) not to take things personally and to lean on my team to work through situations to turn them into successful outcomes. One person cannot do it all. It is important to build your team with people you can trust, rely on and feel comfortable working with on a day to day basis.

What advice would you give your 25-year old self about navigating your own career?
It is important to work hard and put in long hours, but it is ok to take those vacation days and enjoy the world around you. I have a hard time disconnecting and turning off. To this day, I am really bad about taking my days and stepping away from work. I can still work on this!

Who has inspired you in your life and why?
Both my parents. My mom is a Camp Director for a Sleepaway Camp, Pine Forest Camp, and my dad owns his own law firm. Both my parents have an incredible work ethic and drive, but have also instilled the importance of meaningful relationships into my life, both in a professional and personal manner. They taught me the importance of never giving up, working hard, the meaning of love and enjoying the ride along the way.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
I have the opportunity to work with our NYCWFF team and Sponsors on coming up with a vision, working through the details, strategizing a plan and watching the plan become a reality. It is incredible for me to see a plan come to fruition from start to finish, while watching consumers and trade learn and experience the specific brand first-hand. Moreover, I am working with brands to not only tap into our incredible marketing platform and on-site events, but the dollars we bring into the Festival, through Sponsorships ultimately go towards the fight to end hunger in our nation. We are doing something big, something meaningful and making a huge impact on so many lives.

Rapid Round:
Someone might be surprised to learn: That I still get butterflies in my stomach on event day, 10 years later.
Favorite book you’ve read in the last year:  I am currently reading Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant. It has opened my eyes on certain topics and inspired me on others.
Favorite quote: I changed this to my mantra to live by – Just Dance!
Favorite health hack: Ice cream! It always makes me happy
Favorite life hack: Sharing the ride with really good friends and family (my hubby!) makes the experience that much better!

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