Manager, Ad Sales Marketing, Food Network & Cooking Channel

McConnell knows how to sell ad sales—by creating relationships between the network’s viewers and the company. When confronted with the challenge of partnering with a smaller brand like Sargento, he used his knowledge that their viewers enjoy active participation to create the “Chopped at Home Challenge.” Sargento promoted the challenge on its Shreds line of cheeses, which drove entries and viewers to watch “Chopped.” The contest ended with the finalists brought to New York to compete on a special episode of the show. The campaign, having met Sargento’s KPIs, has been renewed, and grown with the addition of Ted Allen as host. One of his keys to success is to choose face-to-face communications or even a phone call over email. “There is so much that is lost in translation when all work is done over email,” he says.

What is the one habit that makes you most successful?

Face to face communication or phone calls when face to face is not an option with recaps sent via email.  There is so much that is lost in translation when all work is done over email.  Working directly with someone on a project always yields a greater understanding of messaging from both parties involved.

What is the most exciting thing about working in this industry?

Getting to see campaigns that I helped create be brought to life on screens and in stores across America.

Who has been your biggest mentor and why?

Bob Martin.  Bob Martin is the Assistant Dean for Internships and Career Placement at Penn State.  He is the person that first introduced me to the world of Ad Sales and had the biggest hand in helping me win an internship at Food Network, which ultimately led to full time employment.  He is the kind of person that goes out of his way to help everyone he meets, in any way he can.

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