MSUB Alumni selected as 2017 40 Under Forty

Jonna Jones

BSBA Management 2009

director of marketing, Wentana LLC


JonnaJonna Jones says her co-workers sometimes refer to her as the office’s resident millennial.


But Jones insists that she hardly fits into the stereotypes that most people associate with millennials, even though she was on the steering committee for the formation of NextGen, a millennial-oriented young professional group started by the Billings Chamber of Commerce.


“I’m the worst millennial. I don’t have a TV, and I like to (disconnect from the Internet) at night,” said Jones, who is the director of marketing for Wentana LLC, a division of Spokane, Wash.-based Wenspok Resources, a Wendy’s franchising company.


Jones was among several employees in the corporate office who transitioned from Wendy’s of Montana to Wentana when the business changed hands in December of 2015.


Some people equate marketing with advertising, but that’s not necessarily the case. “Because we are franchise, our TV ads and what you see from a digital perspective all come from the national office in Ohio,” Jones said.


As part of her job, Jones is involved in the design of some print advertising and works with an ad buyer. But she also has a lot of involvement in promoting different products.


“We have to make sure the restaurant management team is aware of new products so they’re ready when they see a sales increase,” Jones said. “We also have to make sure the right marketing materials are posted where and when they are supposed to.”


Jones graduated from Montana State University Billings with a degree in marketing and management. She worked on campus for a while with the Center for Applied Economic Research, then took a job with Coors in Colorado.


Jones missed Montana and decided to move back, then landed a job with Wendy’s after a short time back in Billings. She said her experience working in the restaurant industry has proven helpful in her current position.


What’s the best business advice you have received?


Sometimes it’s not what you know but who you know that can help you.


Who gave you that advice?


My dad


Here’s what I’d like to do to improve my community: I would really like to see us take more pride in our city. I think we too easily forget how many great things go on every day in Billings (myself included) and I think that mindset hinders us from finding our true potential as a city. There are some really great organizations and people who are trying to help reverse our thinking and get us to be our own best advocates but they can’t do it on their own. We need to be all in.


Outside of work, my biggest passion is: I love cooking and finding new recipes to try out on friends and family. The last few years I have gotten to put my skills to the test as I have become the official camp cook for my friend’s hunting camp during opening weekend.


Which living person do you most admire?


My parents


Aside from profit and loss, how do you measure success in your job?


If I am living up to my personal beliefs and values of doing what’s good and best for others. That means doing what’s best for my co-workers, our employees, and our communities. I also measure success based on if what I’m doing aligns with and maintains the culture of Wentana and if it upholds the Wendy’s brand and company standards.


One of the reasons I love working for Wendy’s is because Dave Thomas had very basic values and beliefs that you should do the right thing and treat people with respect, among others. We are constantly putting focus on these values and using them to make decisions.


What do you consider your greatest achievement?


In college, I was selected to be a summer intern for former Montana Sen. Max Baucus. I went to live in Washington, D.C., for three and a half months without having ever been there before and without knowing a single person. I learned so much during my time there not only about the political environment and the inner workings of Capitol Hill, but also about myself.


I’m happiest when I’m… On my parents' boat in the middle of the lake (Fort Peck Reservoir) on a hot summer day with a cold drink in hand and Tom Petty on the radio.



Article & photo credits: Billings Gazette

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