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40 Under 40 - Class of 2015
Business Observer Friday, Oct. 16, 2015 5 years ago

Jessica Eckley, 36

Founder / CEO, Eckley Media

Jessica Eckley says she’s always been business-oriented. While at school at University of Central Florida, Eckley interned as RDB Sports, the parent company for the Orlando Magic. By her junior year, she was working full time for the company.

Eckley worked for the Orlando Magic for seven-and-a-half years until she found a job in her hometown Tampa, with Cox Media Group. From there, she worked as the event marketing manager for the Tampa Bay Lightning for a few years and later as a public relations manager at Triad Retail Media, working with clients that included Wal-Mart, eBay and CVS.

After her first year at Triad, she kept getting calls from people asking for marketing and public relations help. “It was just the little push I needed,” she says. An extra push from her mentor, Bill Wickett, the executive vice president of the Lightning, in June 2014 sealed the deal. He encouraged, “You should try it and see what you can do,” Eckley recalls.

She thought she would start her consulting business slowly by taking it easy, but it didn’t work out that way. “It progressed very rapidly,” Eckley says. Her clients range from a travel company to law firms to a car dealership.

“I’m constantly studying their business,” Eckley says, looking for unique ways to tell their story. Recently she hosted an art show for a local law firm that supported the Make-A-Wish foundation. “It also tied back to their creative concept,” she adds.

— Traci Beach


Name: Jessica Eckley

Age: 36

City of residence: Tampa

Twitter handle: @Jeckley

Employer: Eckley Media (Self-Employed)

Title: Founder and CEO

Birthplace: Tampa

Years on the Gulf Coast: 27 years

Marital status/children: Married (Husband: Shawn) with two children (Jackson and Carsyn)

Alma mater: University of Central Florida

Best place to network: The Tampa Club

Coolest business experience: I spent most of my career in sports and entertainment. “Business” has included sold-out shows, press interviews with Bon Jovi, scavenger hunts with Olympians and high-speed hockey playoffs. They were experiences that I never took for granted.

The most important business lesson I’ve learned: Prepare for the curveball. Despite all of my planning, I’ve learned that you can’t control everything. When things go wrong – stay calm and find a solution.

One website that makes your job easier: Twitter. It gives me local news, industry insights and a little humor in between.

One community group you’re most involved with: The Children’s Cancer Center.

Favorite off-hours activity: I’m a music lover. So if I’m out, there is a good chance it’s at a concert.

Two people, dead or alive, you’d like to have dinner with: Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake. Seriously? Can you imagine how entertaining that meal would be!?

What you would be doing if you could pick another career: You’d find me exactly where I am right now.

Most adventurous thing you’ve ever done: I’ve been scuba diving with sharks and even have jumped out of airplanes, but nothing was more adventurous than starting my own company just over a year ago. It’s a complete leap of faith and wild ride, but I’m so glad I did it.

What’s at the top of your bucket list: I want to see the world… with my kids! I want to instill a sense of wanderlust that gets them excited about travel.

What new skill would you like to learn: I’d love to play guitar. I just need to pencil time in for lessons!

Who would play you in a movie about your life: I’d pick Olivia Munn or maybe Rachel Weisz.

If I had a magic wand I’d: …Give myself the gift of more time!

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