The power of networking

by Jaden Constant

September 26, 2017

Jennifer Murillo, vice president of global marketing at Discover, highlights the importance of cultivating social connections as a guest of the Eric Mower Advertising Forum

Jennifer Murillo speaking as a guest of the Eric Mower Advertising Forum on Sept. 21, 2017 Saniya More

“Networking happens all the time,” said Jennifer Murillo, vice president of global marketing at Discover Financial Services.

Networking is the practice of expanding social contacts in hopes of a positive result, typically for career advancement.

Murillo, who graduated from Northwestern University with a journalism degree, emphasized the importance of networking, suggesting it can significantly impact personal life events as well as professional. Murillo told the story of how she met her husband, which was through a casual acquaintance as an undergrad.  

“Through a series of conversations,” said Murillo, “she ended up introducing me to someone she worked with...and twenty-five years later, that turned out to be my husband.”

Murillo pointed out that minor networking moments can result in life-changing turns, especially in one’s personal life. In a career-oriented world, however, such results are not as surprising; they are to be expected.

After working at her agency job for a few years, Murillo received another opportunity from the same friend.

“She was my entrée to my job at Discover,” said Murillo.

Murillo’s friend worked at Discover and recommended that Murillo speak to her boss. Reluctant at first, because her current job was unchallenging and thus comfortable, Murillo decided to have the meeting anyway, believing it was time to take risks.

“I took a chance,” said Murillo. “I took the job, and I never looked back.”

At Discover, Murillo gradually rose in the ranks. From unit manager to vice president of global marketing, Murillo’s near two decades at Discover revealed how networking can have enduring effects. Murillo’s accomplishments at Discover include spearheading the Discover it® campaign, which involved an updated Discover card that includes a cash back program and no annual fee charge. In addition to this, she has partnered with the NHL and Six Flags for promotional purposes.

“Usually the most important networking happens when you’re not even thinking about it or trying to build your network,” said Murillo. “Sometimes you just never know.”

Jaden Constant is a first-year television, radio and film major at the Newhouse School.