In 1999, Jen Pavlak was working in the mortgage industry but was looking for a change. “It was a decent enough job but I just didn’t enjoy it,” she said. “It was all paperwork so my interaction with people was minimal … not my idea of fun.”
Through a friend, she heard about a job opening at an up-and-coming Central Florida advertising agency. “I thought that might be interesting because I had always wanted to do PR-related work,” she said. We feel fairly confident in saying she wasn’t thinking about becoming JKR’s first-ever 20-year employee that day.
Upon her initial arrival, she realized the agency’s office atmosphere was not your typical work environment. “The person who interviewed me was dressed very casually and there was a dog asleep in a corner of one of the offices,” Jen recalls. “Though it was a little out of the norm, I was pretty certain I could fit in … so I was very excited when I received the job offer.”
She started out as a Traffic Coordinator Assistant but quickly moved up to Media Coordinator. “It was pretty much sink or swim,” she says. “You also have to remember that things were done a little differently back then. E-mail wasn’t yet a big thing, so much of the job was done by sending and receiving faxes. I had to learn a lot in a very short period of time. I asked a lot of questions to get the answers I needed … and there were a lot of late nights. But I didn’t mind because it was much more fun than pushing papers at the mortgage company!”
Promoted to Account Executive in 2001, she became part of the team spearheaded by Richard Brauns; the dynamic duo is still together today serving their clients, some of whom have been with JKR the entire time. “It’s been a real benefit for me to work with Richard because he understands things from the perspective of a dealer. That knowledge makes him an invaluable resource for me and helps me do my job better,” Jen says.
She recalls that when JKR first made its move to the Downtown Orlando offices they occupied until 2016, the recession was in full force. “We did everything we could behind the scenes to minimize the effect on our clients,” she said. “Most of them stayed with us and we even picked up some new ones – and as a result we made it through the difficult times in much better shape than a lot of people. Then, once the recession was over, it was back to business as usual and we’ve grown into the automotive advertising giant we are today.”
What has Jen learned over the years? “This isn’t like any other industry,” she said. “In most jobs there’s a learning curve when you first start out … but in this job it never stops. I’m constantly looking for classes to take on my own time so I can do the best job I possibly can for my clients. And as the landscape of automotive advertising changes in the future, we have to be ready to change along with it so JKR remains cutting-edge.”
Jen lives in nearby Sanford, where she enjoys the trendy historic downtown area and being part of the local high school booster club with her husband, Jason, and three kids: Austin (21), Alyssa (17) and Jack (12). The family is planning to rescue a Boston terrier in the near future.
“I am thankful that the leadership of JKR took a chance on me; I truly appreciate their faith and trust; and that they have shown me the same loyalty over these many years that I’ve shown them,” she concluded.
Please join all of us at JKR in congratulating Jen for 20 years of outstanding dedication and enthusiasm for her job and our agency. We look forward to the future with her as an integral part of our continued success.