HCMU PROFILE: Dennis Jenders
HCMU: What do you do at Marquette? How long have you been working here?
DJ: I’m an adjunct instructor, teaching Emerging and Social Media within the Diederich College of Communication. I’ve also worked with the university to launch the Digital Advertising Summit.
HCMU: Do you have a job outside of Marquette? What do you do? How long have you been doing it?
DJ: I have been a marketer for more than 17 years. After a two year stint on the client side I’ve returned to the agency lifestyle where I am the VP of Digital & Social at GMR Marketing.
HCMU: When did you know you wanted to go into your current field?
DJ: Students put a lot of pressure on themselves to know exactly what they want to do, or who they want to be. As a freshman at Marquette in 1994 I began my studies in Civil Engineering. Having always been interested in computers I found myself enamored with the Internet. As the World Wide Web was just emerging, I would skip class or stay late in the labs to understand and deconstruct this new technology. It served me well as the skill and knowledge gained there turned into a marketing career steeped in technology.
HCMU: Did you have any setbacks getting to where you are now? How did you overcome them?
DJ: The real world is challenging, and full of setbacks. Instead of focusing on the negativity, put on your critical thinking cap to understand what could have been done differently to reach a more successful outcome. Learn to fail fast.
HCMU: Who is your biggest inspiration?
DJ: Elon Musk, Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison. I’ve always been inspired by those that have changed the world. Closer to home, my parents have been a huge inspiration in how to raise a family, work hard, and build your own success.
HCMU: What is your favorite part about teaching at Marquette?
DJ: It is incredibly rewarding to be able to give back to the community. I’ve seen so many students apply what they’ve learned in class and find success in their own careers. Even more special is the bond that many of us now share post-graduation, I’m happy to call many of them colleagues or friends.
HCMU: What is one of your favorite memories from teaching here?
DJ: Each semester and class has its own special moments, but my Fall 2015 class definitely stands out. Two students, Kelly Watts and Dena Vang, completed assignments that made Zappos and Kohls take notice. It turned into an amazing opportunity for the class as Zappos published and promoted the work of our students, and Kohls became a client for the student’s final exam.
HCMU: What is your best advice for students?
- Network, network, network. It’s often about who you know, not just what you know.
- Be on the cutting edge. The world is changing quickly and we need people that understand the implications of new technology and how to best apply it.
- Find time to give back. We have the opportunity to positively affect the lives of people in our community. Find a way to BE THE DIFFERENCE.
HCMU: What do you do in your free time?
DJ: I really enjoy cooking for family and friends, reading, watching movies, and finding the adventure in life. Our time is short, be sure to enjoy it!
HCMU: Do you have any secret talents?
DJ: I don’t talk about it much, but I do enjoy photography. Completely self taught, I enjoy landscape and street photography. My work has been featured in a few books and publications. I find it relaxing and rewarding to just create something for myself.
HCMU: What is your guilty pleasure?
DJ: Donuts. No, wait, ice cream. Or coffee. How about, all of the above?