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Grill the Arsonist: Meet Jennifer
November 7, 2016 | Alyssa Willey

This month we are grilling one of our newer Arsonists, Jennifer Sautter! Jen is a seasoned vet when it comes to agency work. She’s been in the field for many years and is a pro at identifying the marketing tactics to fire up your brand. Can she stand the heat to be grilled??

You’ve worked in the agency world for many years now, what brought you here to MindFire?

Years ago, I was Erik Meade’s project coordinator at another agency. When he and his partners left to form MindFire, we went in different directions but stayed in touch. From a distance, I’ve admired the MindFire brand, work and rapid growth. I am thrilled to now be part of it. Even though I have a lot of agency experience, this feels like something new because of MindFire’s approach to branding through research. I’m excited to be able to bring clients sound strategy and smart creative solutions.

You’ve worked with some MindFire Arsonists before-in a previous life. What on earth made you agree to do it again?? Just kidding-what’s it like working with familiar faces again?

I guess I’m a sucker for punishment! No, the fact that I’d previously worked with a good percentage of the MindFire team was a big factor in my decision to become an Arsonist. It’s been over nine years since I last worked with some of them, but it’s great to be surrounded again by people I respect and like. As a team, we’re stronger now because of the experience we’ve gained over the past decade. I wish I could say that we had grown up, but what fun would that be?

If there’s one thing you want your clients to know about branding-what would it be?

When I was in a client role, this reality was a little difficult to accept: your brand is not what you say it is – it’s what your customers and prospects say it is. But if you spend a little time and effort in understanding your brand, you’re more likely to see a return on your marketing strategies.

Crazy cat lady stereotypes are everywhere…but there doesn’t seem to be an equivalent for crazy dog ladies. Please explain! (We’ve heard from reputable sources that you may have some firsthand insights??)

I’m embarrassed to admit to this because it sounds like an episode of “Animal Hoarders” or more accurately, “Pit bulls and Parolees”…My family rescued four pit mix dogs – we’re just softies for a sad dog story! We live in the country with a large fenced yard where they can run, but these spoiled mutts prefer to sleep on our beds. Despite the fact that I live with a dog pack, I still maintain that crazy cat ladies are nuttier. Sorry Amy B.!

What has been the most rewarding point of your career so far? And while we know it’s on the tip of your tongue, you can spare us the flattery of saying being named an Arsonist!

This is going to sound lame, but there’s not one particular resume line item that stands out as the most rewarding – I’m proud of the culmination of my 20+ years’ experience.  When working with clients, I try to draw on the insight I’ve gained from my previous corporate and agency roles, and also from the broad range of projects I’ve done for a wide variety of clients. And I’ve got so much more to learn! That’s the part I look forward to the most.

What’s harder? Starting a fire without matches or raising two teenage sons?

Since I haven’t brushed up on my survival skills lately, starting a fire without matches would be more difficult. So far raising teenagers hasn’t been too bad -- it’s much easier than raising toddlers. What makes parenting complicated is that my boys are not anything alike – they seem to be from two separate species! They even attend different high schools, so that’s a bit of a juggling act. As toddlers, my kids were so active that chasing them left me physically exhausted. Now I just try to chase them off of their computers. I hope they’ll eventually decide to move out, preferably before their 40th birthdays.

Guilty pleasure. Let’s hear it!

Oh you’d hear it alright! I’m a bit of a head banger, and I love to crank up the tunes, especially ‘80s rock and alternative. Glad I can align with the boys in the office regarding the Pandora station selection. You can thank me later, Josh!

What advice to you have to any young professional looking for jobs in advertising?

Drawing on the wisdom of Warren Buffett, this advice would go to a young professional looking for a job in ANY field: never take a position because it will look good on your resume, or because you’ll make a lot of money. Take a job that you love, or work to find a job that you’ll love. You spend way too much time at your job every day -- don’t spend it being miserable. Life’s too short!

Describe yourself in three fictional characters.

Did you throw that question at me because one of my college majors was English Literature? This is tough, but I’ll take a stab at it:

  1. Hermione Grainger from The Harry Potter series– Makes me proud of my inner nerd.
  2. Jo March from Little Women – I can relate to this tomboy.
  3. Laura Ingalls Wilder from The Little House on the Prairie series – Not pretty like her sister Mary or obedient like baby sister Carrie, she was a bit of a hell raiser. I appreciate that.

Jennifer Sautter fictional characters

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