Behind the Screens: Meet Project Manager Kathryn Carroll
Welcome back to ‘Behind the Screens,’ a monthly blog series in which we introduce members of our Cox Media team and share their stories.
This month, I was joined by Kathryn Carroll, Project / Program Manager for Cox Media. We discussed her unique career path, how she identified important organizational needs, and how she and her leader together found a role perfectly matched to her skills and passion.
Thank you for joining me, Kathryn! To get started, can you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your background?
Sure! My name is Kathryn Carroll, and I am a Project / Program Manager on Cox Media’s Product, Technology and Project Management Team. I just celebrated my five-year milestone with Cox, which is very exciting. I graduated from Texas Christian University (go Frogs!) with a degree in International Business and Strategic Communications.
I spent most of my childhood through young adulthood in the television / film production business, received multiple Telly Awards for the work I produced and after university, I worked several years at an advertising agency in Dallas, and then moved to Atlanta.
In 2017, I decided to make the transition into corporate life with Cox Media. To say it was the best career decision is an understatement for so many reasons. Cox is a wonderful company to work for and there are so many opportunities for professional growth. I’m so thankful I made the switch.
Well, we are thrilled to have you! We wanted to chat with you because you’ve had a unique evolution in your role here. Can you tell me about the role that you took when you first started out at Cox?
Absolutely. I joined Cox Media as a Marketing Communications Specialist on the Corporate Marketing team. In that role, I was responsible for providing linear programming support for our markets and worked directly with our cable network partners to identify opportunities to promote new and returning shows to drive revenue for our core product, linear programming.
Can you tell me a little bit about how your role has changed and how that came about for you?
How much time do we have?!
Honestly, it feels like a lifetime ago since I started the conversation about general career growth opportunities at Cox. A few years into my role, we were coming up to year-end reviews and I had a skip-level conversation when I shared my interest in learning more about the business and project management side of the organization with the possibility of pursuing an MBA.
While I absolutely loved what I did and who I worked with on the marketing team, our leadership really saw that passion within me for organizational management of projects. Looking back, I owe a lot of my success and the opportunities I have been given just from the incredible leadership on the marketing team.
Fast forward to a few months later – the pandemic hit, and we were all forced to work home. I was still maintaining my marketing role but was selected to assist on a particularly large project for the organization.
At first, I worked with an industry partner as mainly support for project management in phase one of the project. But once the vendor’s contract was up, the leadership team asked me to step in and act as head PM for phases two and three, which was a huge opportunity and such a valuable learning experience.
Going through that process, I realized there was an opportunity for Cox Media to utilize the Project Management Office’s support. That’s when I really stepped up my game and worked with my leader to get the attention of our product and technology teams. I told them ‘I know I’m a marketing expert, but I love this work – let me learn!’
In 2021, Cox Media established our very own project management office. With five projects already completed under my belt as an “unofficial project manager”, I decided to raise my hand again. While I loved working in marketing, I knew this is where the organization needed me. With my leader’s support and encouragement, I made the official move over to the project management office in June 2021. Before I worked for Cox, I had never worked for an organization that supported growth within, especially when it was a different path than what you were initially hired on to do. With that, I am profoundly grateful for the trust and support from the Cox Media leadership team.
We often think about project management as handling infrastructure and technical projects. With your background in marketing, what makes you different in your approach to project management?
I’m a great example on my team of the diversity of projects that we manage. While we are most often thought of as managing infrastructure and technical projects (which I have), I also support our sales and marketing focused projects that have organization-wide impacts. I have found what makes me different is my focus on the go-to-market strategy. A project may be technology driven, but once the technology is built, you need to understand the end-user experience. That is where I put my marketing background to good use. It allows me to see things from the client’s and our sales team’s perspective and ensure the people impacted by the projects understand the changes it will have on their businesses.
That’s certainly critical! Can you give me an example of a more people-centered project you’re currently working on?
I am currently working on the 2023 Revenue Activation Plan, which I’m really excited about. The Revenue Activation Plan, RAP for short, is an annual playbook serving as a road map that Cox Media’s local markets and leadership teams will leverage to deliver and exceed the organization’s local revenue goals. The RAP is a strategic plan developed every year to reflect industry trends and develop tools to bring our clients the best service.
We kicked off the RAP planning this summer and started engaging our development teams in October. From there, we’ll deliver the RAP market
s-wide in March of next year.
After successfully settling into your role, what is one thing you’d want someone who’s looking into a career at Cox Media to know?
My experience has shown me that Cox will support you throughout your career journey and will help you find opportunities to further advance the skillsets needed to get you to your next milestone. If your interests or passions change, Cox and your leadership team will help you determine the best path forward, whether that’s investing in trainings, plugging you into projects that align with your interest, or finding job shadowing opportunities.
The biggest testament to an organization is how they treat their employees. Cox wants to see you succeed, and they are willing to have honest conversations to help you reach your full potential.
Excellent. Here’s my last question for you: We’re invested in our people, and our people are invested in our clients. If there’s one thing you’d want our clients to know, what would it be?
Cox Media offers so many wonderful opportunities for our clients to really take their businesses to the next level. I’m excited to see where the business goes in the next five years – especially for our clients!
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