2017 Game Changer: Jessica Watts
"I like that I get to help real people solve real problems with best-in-class solutions," said Watts, vice president of sales at Chicago-based Jellyvision.
Jessica Watts is all about growth — personally as well as professionally. And her company, Jellyvision, is the beneficiary of her attitudes about growing and nurturing her team.
In 2015, Watts joined Jellyvision, an interactive software company whose platform, Alex, helps employees at companies make decisions about their benefits and wellness, as a senior account executive. She was immediately drawn to sales and interested in impacting clients’ lives in a meaningful way.
After helping more than 60 companies eliminate confusion and hit enrollment goals in less than a year, she was promoted to director of business development and rapidly grew her new sales team from four to 24 people. As her team expanded, she exceeded goals and also maintained the company culture.
“The insurance industry is complex, so I like that I get to help real people solve real problems with best-in-class solutions,” said Watts, 28, an Iowa State University graduate who moved to Chicago shortly after graduation. “We try to make it easy and speak the average person’s language instead of bombarding them with insurance lingo, and they really appreciate it.”
Watts again was promoted, this time to vice president of sales, in February 2017, which put her in charge of all new business growth for a team of 52 sales representatives. Even with the pressure of a new position, Watts hasn’t shied away from the challenge of making 2017 the year Alex helps more people than ever.
Watts credits her business development team for providing a work environment where she in turn also learns from them.
“A standout moment for me in my years here was building and training my business development team,” Watts said. “Every day here we’re having new interactions and solving problems, and it was a growing experience for all of us.”
Watts places an emphasis on team learning and engagement. She implemented training programs, researched and instituted a tech stack — a combination of software products and programming languages used to create a web or mobile application — and created a department culture that’s competitive yet helpful. She started holding role-playing sessions to make new hires more comfortable on the phone and created the Business Development Rep Slam channel in Slack, where sales reps share their successes and get likes and shout-outs in return, which created a positive and transparent work environment for her team.
“If you surround yourself with like-minded, passionate, intelligent people, work becomes easier. If you can find a company that supports your productivity and creativity and puts you in a desk next to someone who inspires you, you’re at the right company,” Watts said