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When Dustee Jenkins joined Spotify in 2017, one of the draws was founder and CEO Daniel Ek’s “deep appreciation” for communications. “He believes in communication. He understands that for people to buy into something, to believe in something, they have to get it, they have to understand it,” Jenkins told PRovoke Media.
Her role at the world’s biggest audio platform includes government relations and policy teams, internal and external comms across corporate, financial, consumer, public affairs, crisis and executive communications, supporting initiatives such as Spotify’s Music Relief Fund to help artists affected by Covid lockdowns. In an interview for PRovoke Media in 2020, she said: “As a communications leader I think it's so important to know who you are. People are always looking for comms specialists to write beautiful words, to communicate strong narratives, but it all comes down to that foundation of, ‘Who are you, who do you want to be, what's your North Star as a company? And I'm very fortunate that Spotify definitely has one, and so we have talked a lot about our mission of helping artists to live off of their work.”
Before Spotify, Jenkins was CCO of Target, where she spent seven years, including guiding the company through a highly-publicized data breach, its exit from Canada, the on boarding and transition of a new CEO and a cultural transformation. As well as having a keen eye on brand marketing trends, she is well versed in the intricacies of corporate communications and public affairs, having worked at Public Strategies earlier in her career.
Can you share a moment in your career when you saw PR’s direct impact on business performance?
In my now expanded role leading public affairs, I see direct impact daily. Whether it’s with milestone events like Stream On, market launches, challenges with content moderation, or other business critical items, the team contributes in really significant ways to how our business operates, and I’m very proud of that.
What are the communications industry’s biggest challenges and opportunities in the year ahead?
Knowing where to best spend our time. Because of the diverse skill sets and capabilities our team members have, and the value our partners have for communications, the volume of work our team supports is pretty incredible. I know this is true for many teams across the industry, but I think it is important to always pause and ensure your team is making the greatest impact, rather than just creating the highest volume.
What have you most admired about the communications industry over the past year, and what has disappointed you?
I've been proud of our continued resilience in the face of challenges across the tech sector, especially related to internal communications. When layoffs and other difficult discussions are happening, our work takes on an even more important role.
What work from your team are you most proud of over the past year?
During Stream On, broadcast live from the Arts District in Los Angeles, we shared the latest developments to help creators continue to chart pathways to success and build a truly global audience. Also our work at Cannes Lions.
How have you switched off from work and maintained wellness over the past year?
I’ve been prioritizing taking chunks of time off, rather than a day here or there. Being able to disconnect for a full week or two at a time is a game changer. Also, on a daily basis, I prioritize bringing my children to school so that we all start the day together. It’s truly the best way to start a day!
Which book/movie/TV show/podcast/playlist/other cultural source has helped you get through the past year or provided inspiration?
The Wake Up Happy playlist on Spotify is exactly as advertised. I highly recommend trying it. We sit in news all day, so it’s fun to start with something light and happy before you dive into whatever chaos might await.
If I wasn't working in marketing/communications, I would be...
Wishing I was working in communications. Truly. I love this job. Even on the toughest days, I am so grateful to be doing something I enjoy so much.
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