Dustee Jenkins | Influence 100
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Dustee Jenkins

Chief Public Affairs Officer
Spotify
US

Can you share a moment in your career when you saw PR's direct impact on business performance?
One standout moment in my career (and something I’m still working on daily) is Spotify’s push for fair competition against Apple and its App Store rules. This effort is crucial for Spotify to deliver the best experience for our listeners. So, to support, our public affairs team teamed up with legal and other parts of the business to engage with policymakers, developers, the media, and consumers globally. This work put a spotlight on Apple’s unfair practices, showing how they were stifling innovation and hurting consumers, ultimately leading to the European Commission fining Apple over €1 billion for antitrust practices, leading to the Digital Markets Act and the passage of the Digital Markets Competition and Consumers Act in the UK. While there’s still more to do, this momentum really shows how strategic PR and public affairs efforts can influence regulatory outcomes and drive significant business benefits.

What are the communications industry's biggest challenges and opportunities in the year ahead?
We're living in an age of information overload, making it tougher than ever to reach the right audiences at the right time. With fragmented channels and divided attention spans, it's a real challenge to differentiate your brand and remain relevant. News and information spread at lightning speed, so to break through, we need to be more nimble, more creative, and more authentic than ever before.

What have you most admired about the communications industry over the past year, and what has disappointed you?
I’ve most admired the brands that are finding ways to be authentic while still differentiating themselves from the competition. We’re seeing more and more that consumers value clarity, directness and transparency, with brands celebrating the good, but also addressing criticism head-on to maintain real and open dialogue with their stakeholders. What I think is less interesting is brands that think about their audience as one big group, rather than tailoring their approach to reach the right people to achieve the right impact.

What work from your team are you most proud of over the past year?
Over the past year, our team's work has been focused on engaging with a young, digital-first audience, and I'm incredibly proud of how we've evolved our approach to reach them. One standout example is how we've utilized Instagram to share artist career trajectories in a new series called The Come Up. The series highlights success stories of artists like Sabrina Carpenter, Chappell Roan and Tyla. We’ve found that showcasing their journeys have created a more personal and engaging relationship with their audiences. Taking it a step further, we were lucky enough to have Tyla perform for fans at our recent Spotify Beach event at Cannes Lions. It was an incredible moment to see fans rally around such a talented up and coming artist and we were able to time the release of our Come Up feature with that experience.

How have you switched off from work and maintained wellness over the past year?
Walks! I’m huge on taking walks. Whether it’s walking to get my kids from school, just taking a breather around the block in lower Manhattan, or spending the weekend walking on the beach. It makes me feel very grounded and forces me to take in the world around me and put what is on my computer screen into perspective. I also make playlists to soundtrack my walks so it’s a great reminder of the role Spotify plays in coloring the world around us.

Which book/movie/TV show/podcast/playlist/other cultural source has helped you get through the past year or provided inspiration?
One podcast that I highly recommend is Jay Shetty's podcast, On Purpose. He talks to guests from so many different backgrounds about mindfulness and living a more balanced life. As someone whose life can often feel a bit chaotic, this podcast forces me to take a minute and put into practice things that really elevate my day to day.

If I wasn't working in marketing/communications, I would be...
I’ve said this one before, but I’d be wishing I was working in public affairs and communications! There’s no other job I’d want to be doing, even on the toughest days.