Jemma O’Hanlon makes an important contribution to the communications teams at Jenny Craig and Curves Australia & New Zealand, with obesity being one of Australia’s hot topics both from a health perspective and economically. Jemma studied an arts degree majoring in Psychology and Journalism, but it was one subject, Physical Activity and Nutrition, that led her to her passion for Nutrition and Dietetics. Before taking on her current role, Jemma had several years of professional experience including dealing with patient diets in hospitals, working in business development and marketing at Nutrition Australia and being a Consultant Dietitian at Carman’s Fine Foods.
Your elevator statement – who are you professionally and personally?
A Dietitian and Nutritionist, a self-confessed fitness fanatic and a coffee drinking food lover.
My friends would probably describe me as easy going, a ‘social butterfly’, happy go lucky, caring and loyal. I’m a Gemini and am left handed so I like to mix things up and can be a bit of a risk taker at times.
We once did a team exercise at work where we had to describe our colleagues in a few words, and I was described as passionate, friendly, dedicated, determined, positive, personable and open minded. I won’t confirm or deny if some of these colleagues were direct reports of mine.. hence the nice things that were said!
Tell us about your typical work day?
There is no one typical work day at Jenny Craig and Curves. I’m rarely at my desk as I’m often in meetings, and often these involve tasting food products (I know, it’s a tough life…!) I feel privileged to be able to have a say into what goes into our meals and ensure they get the nutrition tick of approval.
Who’s your communication hero/mentor?
I have always looked up to Carolyn Creswell, the Company Founder & Managing Director of Carman’s Fine Foods. One day I heard her speak at a business event so I went up to her afterwards and asked her if she needed a dietitian. Two months later I was pinching myself as Carolyn welcomed me into the company with open arms.
Which tools can’t you live without?
My mobile phone and my apple watch. I was never a big watch wearer but when the apple watch came out I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I love being able to check my calendar, reply to messages, and track my exercise and heart rate all through the watch. Yep, I’m one of those people. #nojudgementplease
What are the biggest challenges in your role?
The biggest challenge would have to be keeping all of our wonderful clients happy with the range of foods we produce. When it comes to food, everyone has different tastes, so you’re not going to please everyone. But we listen to every piece of feedback we receive (#thickskin) and always try to see how we can better our products to not only meet our clients’ expectations but exceed them.
Tell us about the best campaign you’ve ever worked on?
In January our team will be launching 16 new products, which is super exciting. I also love the challenge of being thrown in front of a camera and representing Jenny Craig on stage. I feel humbled that such a high profile brand would choose me to be their nutrition spokesperson, although it does mean that I put a lot of extra pressure on myself. I did a live interview with Ita Buttrose and Jess Rowe for the TV show Studio 10 last year, which was crazy fun. Lots of adrenalin running through my veins that day!
Which campaign do you most admire?
I have always loved the campaign we did with Mel B. She was (and is) a smoking hot yummy mummy and was an inspiration to so many of our clients. She has this beautiful positivity about her and she just radiated with energy.
What’s been the biggest change to communication/marketing/public relations since you began your career?
We recently did a massive overhaul of the Jenny Craig artwork design, which meant a completely new look and feel for our products. We turned the packaging from being old, dated and bland into something with real personality.
If you had to cut/keep something in your communication budget, what would it be?
We’d love more air time for our ads during prime time for sure! Can anyone direct me to the money tree?
What quality do you look for in your communication team members?
Our marketing team are all fabulous people. They have a love for life and a passion for health and wellness. We all live the brand at Jenny Craig and Curves – you’ll often find us in our activewear drinking green smoothies and chatting about which restaurant we went to on the weekend (we like to call it “nutrition research”). Above all though the culture at Jenny Craig and Curves is fantastic, and I think it’s because we laugh a lot and make sure we put our heart and soul into everything we do. We work as a team it’s all about how we support each other to get things done. We can achieve anything if we put our minds to it.
What’s your favourite brand?
I’m not sure if it’s my favourite brand, but I have a soft spot for Lululemon. Every time I go into that store I buy something. I do love Carman’s brand because it has such a genuine personality and great story behind it. Everyone knows what Carman’s stands for, and the marketing team there have done a tremendous job of staying true to their brand. I think it’s pretty easy to do that when your brand reflects the people behind it and the values that the company has.
What book/blog do you think every communicator should read?
Without any hesitation, ‘How to win friends and influence people’ by Dale Carnegie. An oldie but a goodie.
What tips do you wish you’d known starting out in communications?
Just be the best version of yourself and don’t try to be someone you’re not. And, always listen. We were born with two ears and one mouth, so we should listen twice as much as we speak.
Finish this sentence: ‘Communication is…’ a beautiful, beautiful thing. It’s how we connect and share our lives and experiences with others.