Welcome to 300 The Fenway's "Know Your Professor." Here's your opportunity to get to know Simmons' professors on a more personal level. You'll get the inside scoop on their favorite books, music, hidden talents, and more.
Meet Professor Jill Avery from the School of Management. Professor Avery is perhaps best known for her background in brand management and customer relationship management. But did you know she volunteers at the Museum of Fine Arts and loves sushi? Plus, you may be surprised to hear about the last concert she attended!
What is your favorite class to teach?
My two favorites are Consumer Behavior (MGMT 230) and Creating Brand Value (MGMT 231). I spent 10 years as a brand manager for Gillette, Braun, Samuel Adams, and AT&T before becoming a professor, so teaching students about brand management brings me back to my roots. Brands are such an important part of contemporary culture and I believe that our brands are windows into our identities, so I love unraveling the mystique that brands have for their consumers. I also love teaching Consumer Behavior because it is fascinating to understand "why we buy". The course teaches us how to be better marketers, but, more importantly, how to understand ourselves as consumers and to be more mindful of the many invisible forces persuading us to buy.
What book are you currently reading?
I just finished The Little Book by Selden Edwards. It is a fascinating novel about time travel, family ancestry, and intellectualism in turn of the century Vienna. It resonated with me because 1.) it illustrates the life-long influence good teachers have on their students, 2.) it transported me to a magical time and place, and 3.) I visited Austria this past summer with my family to be a guest professor at the University of Innsbruck, so it was wonderful to learn more about the country's cultural, political, and intellectual history. I also read The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein to my children this summer. It was the first time I'd read it since I was a child and it still fascinated me.
What's your favorite book?
I hate this question! As a former English literature major, I struggle with choosing only one favorite book, as there are so many books that have been influential in my life. Books that have been particularly resonant with me are F. Scott Fitzgerald's This Side of Paradise, Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles (I chose to name my daughter Tess in tribute to this one!), Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, and Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. More recently, I have enjoyed Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides and The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.
Do you have a favorite TV show?
Mad Men, of course! I'm fascinated by Don Draper and would love to have Betty Draper's wardrobe. The advertising agency world is a great setting for drama.
If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be?
My mother, Margaret, who died when I was 26 and who made me the woman I am today. I would love to tell her all about her grandchildren, Tess and Larson, as she never got to meet them.
What's your favorite band/artist?
REM, and yes, I am devastated about the break-up. The Grateful Dead, and yes, I miss going to Dead Shows since Jerry's passing. The most recent concert I went to was Katy Perry in June, which I attended with my twelve year old daughter and her two buddies. We had a blast, and yes, I know all the lyrics!
Fill in the blank: When I was in college, I _____
Struggled to make it to class on time (or at all!). I simultaneously worked three jobs as a bartender, legal secretary, and consumer advocate while going to school full-time. My father didn't believe that girls needed to go to college, so I had to pay my own way. Needless to say, I didn't have a lot of time to have fun, so sometimes I wish I could do college all over again and enjoy myself more!
What's your favorite website or social network?
YouTube! As my students know, I spend a lot of time on YouTube and use it frequently in class to demonstrate theories and practices in marketing.
What's your favorite restaurant in Boston?
I love sushi and spend a lot of time at Uni and Oishii.
If I could travel to anywhere in the world right now, where would you go and why?
If I could travel to anywhere in the world right now I would visit Big Sky, Montana because the snow has just started falling and I can't wait until ski season!
Do you have a hidden talent?
My hidden talent is something for which I keep searching! One of my passions is art history. I am very involved as a volunteer at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and keep hoping that someday I will discover my inner artist. But, for now, I just enjoy the talents of other artists.
What song is your personal anthem?
I find the song "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack to be very inspirational. There are some great reminders in there about not taking yourself too seriously, not taking life for granted, the importance of taking risks and fully participating in everything you do. In the words of Womack, "When you get the chance to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance." I've tried to spend my life "dancing".
"Life is short, eat dessert first."
I love my students because _____
They challenge me every day. I love learning alongside them.