Pivots, Perspective and Mastering Change

Pivoting is in Jenean Glover’s DNA. A graduate student at USC Iovine and Young Academy’s Master of Science in Integrated Design, Business, and Technology (MSIDBT) program, her journey to the Academy has been winding and full of new beginnings. She’s pivoted from engineering to entertainment; nonprofit to business, and she isn’t done yet. As she completes her second USC master’s degree this spring semester, Glover’s acceptance into Beyond Barriers, a global leadership platform for women professionals, and Founder Gym, an accelerator for underrepresented founders launching in May, is helping her pivot again.

Glover’s path to entrepreneurship isn’t a straight road. Prior to the Academy, Glover was focused on raising her now 12-year-old twin daughters, one of whom is high-functioning on the autism spectrum. She then enrolled in a wealth management program at Morgan Stanley for women returning to the workforce, just before starting the MSIDBT program.

“I kicked off returning to school with an internship realizing I skewed on the older side of applicants and wanted to have current work experience to share with my new colleagues,” recalled Glover. “I was attracted to the relevance that an integrated degree with innovation, business and technology could mean for me as I restart my career after focusing on my family.”

Glover’s journey reflects a dynamic, hardworking personality with a thirst for lifelong learning. After earning her BA in electrical engineering from Purdue University, Glover started her career as a field sales engineer for Hewlett Packard. She quickly transitioned into the entertainment industry as a talent agent for William Morris Agency and then with her own entrepreneurial venture, Screen Partners, Inc. She has worked with comedic actors such as Academy Award winner Mo’Nique, Golden Globe winner Tracee Ellis Ross and partnered as a producer with Angela Bassett and her husband Courtney B. Vance.

When the economy took a turn in 2009 and her daughter was diagnosed with ASD, Glover put the entertainment world behind her and focused on advocating for those with developmental disabilities. She rose to President of the Board of Trustees for the North Los Angeles County Regional Center and worked with families and legislators in Sacramento to support the disability community, giving them a voice within the California state budget. More insight into Glover’s career transition and her work in advocacy can be viewed on YouTube.

A two-time Trojan, Glover earned her MBA from USC Marshall School of Business in 1999. Glover was a vibrant presence on campus, bringing together students to network on campus and at various entertainment studios such as Disney, Fox, and Paramount. She produced a short film at the cinema school which won several film festivals and aired on Showtime. Glover recently celebrated her MBA Class of 1999, 20th anniversary reunion. Times, however, have changed.

“I realized that I needed to update that traditional MBA because the solutions needed in today’s world require a fresh approach with the technical, business, and media experiences I’ve gained,” says Glover. “I’m excited about strategic partnerships and bringing the right people together, so that is the throughline to my education, community service, and career today.”

Glover decided to retool her education for the future, and found the right fit in the MSIDBT program, which offers a cross-disciplinary curriculum that teaches the principles of design as the basis for creative problem-solving. Even as she took courses in the program, Glover seized on every opportunity in and outside the classroom, becoming a marketing technology consultant for Deloitte Digital, and consulting for the Los Angeles-based virtual reality theme park Two Bit Circus. She even went international, taking advantage of the program’s hallmark Professional Practices Residential (PPR), in which students work with companies on real-world challenges.

Through the PPRs, Glover traveled to Estonia, the birthplace of Skype, to experience the local startup culture; worked with disenfranchised communities on power (both literally and figuratively) in Puerto Rico, post-Hurricane Maria; and developed a concept for a virtual obesity clinic on behalf of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Jenean along with some of her fellow MSIDBT cohort members in Puerto Rico

“Though it is an online program, my best experiences came from the hands-on, face-to-face opportunities and meeting my virtual classmates in real life. I am happy that Estonia and Puerto Rico happened,” says Glover.

The MSIDBT PPR program sent students to Estonia to study the country's unique startup culture

As the COVID-19 global health crisis changes norms, Glover embraces these times of uncertainty. She believes the MSIDBT program has taught her and her cohort to adapt to constraints, large and small, giving them a built-in advantage to thrive in this exact kind of scenario. Being able to stay focused on the future has been useful, especially for someone like Glover, who always has her eyes set on the next challenge.

Jenean with her MSIDBT classmates on Zoom

“My plan is to pivot and carve a new path in an entrepreneurial or intrapreneurial role at a sports-focused entity,” says Glover. “My ability to make inroads into the arena of sports and athletic innovation is an area where I can leverage all the tools I’ve gained.”

Interweaving newly gained skills in lean & agile modeling, human-centered design, and javascript, Glover is using her final semester as an opportunity to study the industry. Her final capstone project examines the Fair Pay to Play Act, a California bill designed to allow college athletes to promote products and companies and be paid for endorsements.

“This bill would allow amateur athletes to benefit off the use of their name, image and likeness outside of the professional environment. It will help gain parity for young women in sports by leveling the playing field,” says Glover.

As Glover finishes her final semester at the Iovine and Young Academy, and prepares to dive headfirst into both the Founder Gym and Breaking Barriers programs, it’s clear that whether through partnerships, community service, or education, her career is about always taking the opportunity to learn, adapt and springboard one moment into new opportunities.

“This will be a continuation of my journey as a lifelong learner and help position myself for success in our new post-COVID-19 world.”

For more information on the Master of Science in Integrated Design, Business and Technology click here. Stay up-to-date on Academy students and the latest news on The Pulse.

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