May 6, 2022
Meet Director, Creative Operations, Jenny Panitch
Take a person that's great with numbers and reporting, super efficient, extremely organized and loves working with people. That's Jenny Panitch, our amazing Creative Operations Director! Jenny has been with Realogy for nine years. In fact, she was hired right out of college and started in a marketing role, which quickly turned into project management, and the rest is history. When Jenny's not fearlessly leading her team of 30+ people, she's either teaching a barre class or spending time with her adorable dog, Pippa in her hometown of Chicago.
I sat down with Jenny to hear more about her time at Realogy and what she loves about her role.
How has Project Management evolved over the years?
The general principle of project management really hasn't changed. Since I started, our team's role has been to help keep the work organized and on schedule. My hope has always been that project management helps make everyone else's job a little easier, allowing our creatives and clients to focus on what they do best, while we sort out the details like backup information, assignments, timelines, etc.
How we do the work has definitely changed. When I started with the company, project management consisted of a "hot sheet" that we had in Excel and paper job jackets. I remember doing laps around the office looking on people's desks for projects that were on a deadline. We managed a surprisingly high volume of projects at that time – our "hot sheet" typically had around 300 projects at any given time.
We've come a long way since then and have really embraced technology, which allows us to scale up, report on important metrics and build a fully remote team of diverse talent. We were lucky to find Adobe Workfront back in 2017 when The Studio was first forming.
Why Project Management? What drew you to this type of role?
This was my first job right out of college! I studied creative writing in undergrad and thought maybe I'd get into publishing. A family friend suggested I apply for an entry level marketing position with Coldwell Banker, which was before The Studio was created. Once I learned more about project management for a creative team, I knew I had found the right place for me. It's the perfect blend of analytical and creative that keeps me going!
How have you evolved your skills through the years?
I love to say "yes" to new challenges and push myself to learn new things. Early in my career, I spent my Saturdays and many late nights earning an MBA, but most of my recent growth has come from engaging with other leaders across various industries. I am part of a group of creative operations leaders from companies like Boeing, Amazon, and Starbucks that meet monthly to discuss various topics, and a group specifically for women in leadership. I also do a lot of research to learn about things I was otherwise unfamiliar with, like service level agreements or capacity management.
What work are you most proud of?
I'm super proud of the Workfront system we've built. It has evolved so much from when we started and continues to bring value in so many ways. However, I am most proud of my incredible team. They are crazy smart, driven, thoughtful and kind. It is such a joy to have the opportunity to work alongside them and be a part of their career growth.
Share a little about your team and how you work.
My team started as Project Management only and that was the case for quite some time. In the last couple of years, I've had the pleasure of expanding our team to include Production Design & Development and Creative Operations, all of which constantly keep me on my toes. The thread between these three seemingly different groups is so strong, and I am passionate about leveraging the strengths of each to bolster another.
Where do you find inspiration or examples?
My team is constantly inspiring me to find better ways to do things. They are all so passionate about their work, and I want to continue to foster a positive, solution-oriented culture, all while helping them achieve the work/life balance they need. I also love working with The Studio's leadership team, whose range of experience is so impressive and inspiring. I am always learning from them!
Any advice to someone interested in a career in project management?
Be open-minded and flexible. Always remember that behind every project, there are people, and the key to being a strong project manager is communicating well and understanding the needs of the people involved. Be thorough and thoughtful in your work and don't be afraid to ask lots of questions.
Finally, when not at work, what's your ideal vacation?
My boyfriend (Heath) and I are itching to go back to Europe together to hit up some of our old favorites and explore some new ones.