Jenna Hardy ’95
Growing up and attending high school in Denver, Colorado, I had an interest in languages and other cultures at an early age. At 16, I studied abroad in France for a year and during college at Georgetown I majored in French and German. Jobs using languages are very limited — you can enter into teaching, translating or foreign service, so I chose to study international business.
I wanted to work for Disney for as long as I can remember. They have this amazing way of sharing stories in other languages and cultures. I was all about the Disney culture and entertainment. I started taking business classes my junior year at Georgetown and then spent a year in France in business school. My internship in France was where I got my first job for Disney making an accounting procedure manual. It was a great opportunity for me. I would follow the accountant around and take screen shots of what she did, then I would type the report and my boss would correct my French.
When I went to Rice to get my MBA, every project, if possible, was centered around Disney. Everyone knew I wanted to work there. I loved the Rice campus and the environment, and I had a lot of great teachers. I especially enjoyed my statistics professor Randy Batsell, not because I was good at statistics, but because of the way he made it come to life and made it accessible to me. Everyone was really helpful, the faculty, other students, the staff. One of the best memories is learning something that I was not necessarily good at, but making a connection because of a great teacher and the patience of a kind fellow student. I still don’t totally understand the ice-cream game, but I have a soft spot for regression analysis because of it.
After I graduated from Rice, I was offered a consulting job working with, but not for, Disney in their Royalty reporting group working on their cash flow model. What was supposed to be a two week assignment tuned into a nine month job. I had to have my mom ship me clothes to Burbank multiple times because they kept extending the contract. Throughout this job I was officially hired by Arthur Anderson and continued to consult with Disney until they finally hired me into the Royalty reporting group. It was funny that I was so focused on working for Disney, but my route there was so disorganized and circuitous.
The next ten years I spent with Disney in the Finance and IT group and then took a role with Warner Brothers five years ago. I was still fascinated with culture and wanted a really creative role. The most creative thing you can do in business is work directly with the people who make the products. In this case it is the production houses for Warner Bother games. We have six production houses and they make anything from android games to console games. We have to look out at least five years for each studio and those plans all become budgets. With all this planning, you find out what it really costs to produce and create games. I love being part of that creative process and seeing how the project managers make it all flow together into this interactive creation.
When I am not working with some of the most creative minds on the West Coast, I love dancing and being outdoors. I love to go country dancing, west coast swing, Latin, salsa…I have probably danced everything. In high school, I did Russian and German folk dancing, so I would have to say it has been a lifelong love affair with dance. Something I really enjoy about LA is the great weather so I can be outdoors most of the year hiking or going to concerts.