Jill Jones: The journey from Xilinx to LinkedIn, via the Zumba studio

Jill Jones is the corporate comms manager for the social networking giant LinkedIn. She will be giving a talk on 29 April at PR360 about the best way to make use of LinkedIn in the world of big business.

Jill Jones: Promises no Zumba moves for her segment at PR360
Jill Jones: Promises no Zumba moves for her segment at PR360
When she is not helping companies traverse the murky waters of public relations in the digital age – where one awkward step could spell untold disaster or at the very least spawn an unfortunate meme – you will find her far from the boardroom on the dance floor every Saturday in her native San Francisco, leading fitness enthusiasts in the finer points of the get-fit craze Zumba.

But does being a Zumba instructor and dancer make you a better PR professional?

"Not necessarily," says Jones, who has been teaching people how to Zumba on a weekly basis since 2008.

She adds: "I don’t think being a good Zumba dancer has any correlation to being a good PR professional but it’s relevant to me in my current role as I’m constantly ‘on stage’ presenting to organisations or at conferences, similar to how I am at the front of a room teaching classes."

Jones, 29, has risen quickly through the PR industry to where she finds herself now: performing on stage for one of the world’s biggest social networks, LinkedIn, as its corporate comms manager, where she has been helping big businesses engage with the social network and use it more effectively since 2012.

She attributes her rapid rise to one thing: passion. And it was during her university days that she acquired it, along with that contagious PR bug.

I had an internship in internal communications, and loved the challenge of connecting employees to a company’s mission, vision and strategy

Jill Jones


She says: "While I was studying communications in college, I had an internship in internal communications, and loved the challenge of connecting employees to a company’s mission, vision and strategy." 

She realised a career in PR was for her and she set out to achieve her ambition in the field of comms, which would one day land her a dream role at LinkedIn.

She joined the American technology company Xilinx as its HR representative, but after a year of hard work she was promoted to the comms team.

Jones speaks enthusiastically of that time and says: "I had the opportunity… after joining Xilinx to transition to the internal communications team. I’ve always loved telling stories and I have been able to continue to do that."

Jones says one change she has noticed in the industry since then is that it has moved from dealing with those inside companies to those outside them.

Later, Jones joined the internet security company VeriSign and then moved to Symantec as its comms specialist.

It was here that she started to develop, by virtue of joining a substantial workforce of about 22,000. 

Jones says: "It was a great experience to join Symantec. I learned a lot about how to adjust my strategies to communicate with a much larger audience in an effective way."

After eight years in internal comms, the opportunity to join LinkedIn's consumer PR team was too hard to resist.

At LinkedIn, Jones has been responsible for educating brands, enabling them to tap into the potential of employees and helping them raise the profiles of company executives for the past two years, all using the LinkedIn banner. 

I promise there will be no Zumba moves

Jill Jones
It is these themes she will talk about as a speaker at PR360 later this month, along with "a couple of case studies of companies that have used this strategy and the success they’ve had".
But those who had been looking forward to Jones busting out some dance moves on stage later this month will be severely disappointed.

She says: "I promise there will be no Zumba moves."

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