TEGNA is proud of our diverse and inclusive culture, where all employees are encouraged to be their authentic selves and where diversity of people and perspectives are highly valued. Today, we’re taking PRIDE in the good company of Jeff Burrell, Local Sales Manager at WWL-TV in New Orleans.
Then: Talk about your career path, how you got to where you are today at TEGNA.
I majored in Television and Radio advertising at Indiana University but went to work for Ford Motor Co. as a Zone Manager for the first few years after college. I got my start in media in newspapers; first as an Account Executive for an Atlanta weekly arts and entertainment publication and then eventually the daily newspaper in Atlanta. My career just seemed to take off once I got into media advertising sales. I think that’s mainly because I really connected with local businesses and I developed a passion for helping them grow their business. I moved to New Orleans to accept a management position with NOLA.com (the daily newspaper’s website) before joining WWL-TV as the Director of Digital Media. I was a Regional Digital Director for Tegna where I traveled to a group of our stations to help in their digital sales efforts before rejoining WWL-TV as Local Sales Manager.
Now: What is your current role at TEGNA?
I am a Local Sales Manager for WWL-TV in New Orleans.
My Halo Moment: What was the most rewarding project you’ve worked on at TEGNA?
There are so many projects that I am proud of that I can’t name just one. I love empowering members of my team and watching them become great. It’s fulfilling for me to see people grow in their careers. I was particularly proud of the sales initiatives that we developed for advertisers during the pandemic last summer and fall. One of them was “Chalk It Up” where viewers submitted pictures of their favorite sidewalk chalk art that was popular at that time. A local grocery store sponsored it and our whole team was really proud of it.
Good Company: What does being in good company mean to you?
It means that we are focused on doing the right thing all the time and that we surround ourselves with those that do the same. I feel that what is good and what is right, eventually prevails. It’s a great feeling to work for a company that has this philosophy!
Note to Self: What advice would you give yourself looking back on earlier days in your career?
I would tell myself to love what I do for a living. It wasn’t until I got in media advertising sales, that my career really took off. When you love what you do, everything falls into place because you work harder and smarter.
Tangible & Emotional Intelligence: What advice would you give to someone looking to work in media/sales/marketing?
I would say that you almost have to be “obsessed” with your job. It’s a mindset to always be prospecting and looking for new advertisers and opportunities. When I say “obsessed” I mean that you have to have the attitude that “I have to absolutely do this right day-in and day-out.” In order to do this, you have to be focused on 4 T’s: Truth (always be truthful with yourself and others), be Transparent, Take Ownership (it’s a mindset of always driving the business forward and not waiting on others to do it for you), and Tenacity (you have to have a lot of energy and just keep going all the time).
PRIDE: Why is Pride Month important to you?
Pride is important because it celebrates the accomplishments of LGBTQ people. It is a celebration of being allowed to be who we are in public. It was only 50 years ago that it was illegal for bars in NYC to serve LGBTQ people and they could actually be fined and jailed for congregating. Fast forward to three years ago, I was able to legally marry my partner of 20 years!