#WomensHistoryMonth at Cox Enterprises: Get to Know Coleen Jennison

Coleen Jennison is Cox Communications’ Market Vice President
Mar 14, 2017 9:25 AM ET

In celebration of Women's History Month, female leaders from across Cox Enterprises are sharing insights from their experience throughout the month of March. Coleen Jennison is Cox Communications’ market vice president.

What women inspire you and why?

Condoleezza Rice is a woman of substantial accomplishments: first black woman to serve as both National Security Advisor and US Secretary of State, piano prodigy, expert on Russian history, author, College Football Playoff Selection Committee – and those only scratch the surface. Her tremendous attitude is what inspires me the most. Her life was not without trials or discrimination. She has said, “the essence of America - that which really unites us - is not ethnicity, or nationality or religion - it is an idea, and what an idea it is: that you can come from humble circumstances and do great things.” 

Saint Teresa of Calcutta also inspires me. Her entire life was spent completely in the service of others. It seems so simple and yet so difficult to achieve. Amazing.         

What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?

Assuming you work for a company that champions diversity and inclusion, the most significant barrier, in my opinion, is our own selves. If you look at the often-described traits of good leaders – collaborative, visionary, ethical, innovative, passionate – they aren’t exclusive to one gender or to anyone for that matter. Being capable isn’t enough. Don’t expect anything to be given to you – it must be earned. Women must have the confidence, determination and guts to achieve success. Just like anyone else. Don’t doubt or second guess yourself. A lot of what makes a great leader is attitude. Have a good one.

What will be the biggest challenge and opportunity for the generation of women behind you?

The biggest opportunity will be for women to continue championing women. Serena Williams said “the success of every woman should be the inspiration to another. We should raise each other up. Make sure you’re very courageous: be strong, be extremely kind and above all be humble.” The biggest challenge – don’t underestimate yourselves.

What are the best and worst decisions you've ever made?

My best decision was marrying someone who believes in me 100 percent (this is far from agreeing with me 100 percent). I’ve made plenty of bad decisions, but I’ve learned something from each one of them, so they were valuable.

What is your perspective on work/life balance?

I think Microsoft’s Julie Larson-Green said it pretty well – “there’s no such thing as work-life balance. There’s only life.” Do your best everyday – sometimes there is balance, sometimes there is chaos. Things always have a way of working out.

What career advice do you have for others?

Be authentic. Good relationships, built on trust, are the best way to get things done. Don’t be afraid to admit you made a mistake – just don’t make it again. Mentoring – best time you’ll ever spend.

About Cox Enterprises
Cox Enterprises is a leading communications, media and automotive services company. With revenues exceeding $20 billion and approximately 60,000 employees, the company's major operating subsidiaries include Cox Communications (cable television distribution, high-speed Internet access, telephone, home security and automation, commercial telecommunications and advertising solutions); Cox Automotive (automotive-related auctions, financial services, media and software solutions); and Cox Media Group (television and radio stations, digital media, newspapers and advertising sales rep firms).

The company's major national brands include Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book and Manheim. Through Cox Automotive, the company's international operations stretch across Asia, Australia, Europe and Latin America. To learn more about Cox's commitment to people, sustainability and our communities, please visit CoxCSRReport.com.