Who Has Been the Biggest Influence in Your Career?

It is incredibly important to look back and thank the people who have helped you throughout your career. No one does it alone. There are countless managers, co-workers, peers, vendors, clients, family members and friends who have given you opportunities to move your career forward. It’s the client who gave you a unique opportunity that expanded your skill set. It’s the manager who believed in you when you didn’t believe in yourself. It’s the friend or family member who gave you the confidence when you needed it most. It’s the co-worker who helped you learn a new software program. Regardless of who or when it was, it’s the collective impact of all these people who make a difference in your career every single day.

For me personally, while I have many people to be grateful for, two stand out above the rest. I’ve had the privilege of working for and alongside Jim Sweeney, Sweeney CEO and founder, for 18 years. He is my biggest cheerleader and believes in my capabilities more than I do at times. He’s continued to teach and mentor me in the marketing and PR field. First starting with tactics, expanding my knowledge beyond public relations and into marketing and building my skill set in strategy and creative.

And it’s not just about the work. Jim has taught me how to better balance family and a career. Raising his son on his own and starting a business, he understands first-hand how important this balance is. Being a military family, we are faced with deployment after deployment. Balancing a family with a career and the military lifestyle is a challenge. Jim has given me an opportunity to open an office in North Carolina and has allowed me to work remote from California to Chile. I know my commitment to the business, our clients and our employees plays a significant role in his wiliness to be flexible, but he definitely goes above and beyond, and I’m forever grateful for this opportunity.

My father is another person who significantly molded me in a way that benefited my career goals. While he wasn’t in the marketing or public relations field, he was always committed to his job, providing for his family and striving to do his best. I recall as a young girl getting straight A’s never really phased my father. I got a quick “good work,” and then it was on to something else. Good was never good enough. I continue to carry this throughout my career, and while employees I manage may not appreciate it at the time, they will somewhere down the line. Just like I did with my dad.

My father was never afraid of hard work and always pushed me to work harder. I recall standing outside begrudgingly throwing the softball prior to games. I remember being the only one in the gym practicing basketball with him. As a young girl, this was definitely not the way you wanted to spend your time. But it taught me to be good at something, you need to put in the time, commitment and ongoing dedication.

Thank you to Jim, my father and the countless others who have helped me throughout the years. While hard work and persistence is key, it’s the people who end up making all the difference.

Jennifer Manocchio


After starting her career with Edelman in Chicago, Jennifer joined Sweeney and quickly established herself as an exceptional industry innovator. In 2004, she opened Sweeney’s first full-service office outside of Cleveland and quickly rose through the ranks to become agency president. Jen leads by example and without fear. She has been critical to agency growth throughout the past decade and continues to lead the agency into the future.