Meet Jillian “JJ” Simmons: Speaker For The First Annual Black Collegiate Marketing Conference
Since its existence, radio has been a way to unite people worldwide. By simply turning on a radio you are surrounded by sound waves that can keep you updated on pop cultural, current news, and the latest hit songs. The radio industry might actually be what makes the world go round. However, none of this magic would be remotely possible without the DJ’s. Radio DJ’s are so much more than the people who select what song you will hear next. For many of us, their voice is the first thing we hear in the morning and the last before we go to sleep at night. Radio personalities act as out entertainment, friends, and therapists. There are countless radio personalities across the world, however only a few who seem to capture our hearts. Jillian “JJ” Simmons is a former radio DJ who has not only gained the hearts of the public but our support and following as well. In addition to having talents in the radio field, Jillian is also an author, mother, and, philanthropist. This Cincinnati native has worked alongside a true queen of all things media aka Wendy Williams and has even had the opportunity to interview former president Barack Obama. I was excited that I had the opportunity to interview Jillian because she is a prime example of how fighting for your dreams can truly pay off.
Twila-Amoure: What are a few of your favorite aspects about working in radio?
Jillian: I love music, you can’t see me so I don’t have to dress up! Lol. I seriously hate dressing up. You get to speak to some amazing people on a daily. I don’t mean celebrities but regular everyday people who depend on you to make them smile.
Twila-Amoure: When did you first realize that you wanted to pursue a career in radio?
Jillian: 6th grade! I used to call the local radio station on the request line and harass them by telling them what they were doing or saying wrong. I was obsessed with personalities.
Twila-Amoure: What were some of the first steps you took to get your radio career off the ground?
Jillian: I interned for almost a year. Built a relationship with the folks at the station and I learned EVERY job at the radio station.
Twila-Amoure: Where you afraid before you quit your job at 979 the box?
Jillian: I wasn’t scared but I was aware that some people would have their feelings hurt. That mad me sad.
Twila-Amoure: What advice would you give someone who’s considering leaving their own job to pursue their dreams?
Jillian: Just know it’s not easy at all. Don’t think for one second that it’s going to be rainbows and butterflies. Have a plan [and a] vision, have a cushion for a bad day and keep away from negative people who don’t believe in your dream.
Twila-Amoure: What’s the hardest challenge you faced within your career so far?
Jillian: [A] Lack of respect for women, [being in a] male dominated industry it is tough to be taken seriously.
Twila-Amoure: How did you overcome that?
I demanded respect by the way I carried myself.
Twila-Amoure: What are steps you think we (as a society) can take in order to have more women in leading radio roles
Jillian: We need men to see us as equality talented and help fight for us. This is why a person like Geo Cook can help push DeDe into syndicated. He is known for helping women progress in the industry. Sexism, gender roles, etc. add to the issue.
Twila-Amoure: What was it like working with Wendy Williams?
Jillian: Wendy was awesome. I may not have agreed with everything she said or did but she mastered her craft. I admired that about her.
Twila-Amoure: For our readers who may be unaware, what inspired you to write your book Without Bruises and where can they purchase a copy at?
Jillian: I wanted women AND men to see the often missed signs of mental and emotional abuse and the effects it has on our lives. Also, I wanted to give people the tools to heal from abuse. [The book] is available on Amazon, Kindle, iTunes, iBooks and Audible
Twila-Amoure: Your daughter is also an author! How old is she and what is her book about?
Jillian: She is 11 going on 25! [Her book] is about her personal experience with failure during a Mandarin Chinese speech contest. She gives kids tips on how to deal with failure. I think she realized that she could help other kids. She loved to help people and has a huge heart for giving.
Twila-Amoure: What advice would you give someone who wants to go into a creative field but doesn’t have the support of their parents?
Jillian: Remember that your parents only want to see the best for you. Sometimes they just can’t see what you can see. You could sit down with them and them and tell them your goals and plan but ultimately you just have to show YOURSELF that you are putting in the work to be great at whatever you do.
Twila-Amoure: What is the goal and purpose of JJ’s I’m Me organization?
Jillian: We encourage young ladies and girls to be the best version of themselves, by exposing them to leaders and influencers in the community who provide career development, lifestyle planning, health and wellness training, and character education.
Twila-Amoure: If you could, what advice would you give the college you?
Jillian: Don’t listen to these boys feeding you want you want to hear, stay focused, network your butt off and remember YOU ARE QUALIFIED!
Jillian is someone who isn’t watching life pass her by but instead living life to the fullest. Being in her presence and hearing her speak will leave you feeling motivated and encouraged. If you’re looking for a chance to meet Jillian in person then be sure to buy your ticket for CampusLatley’s First Annual Black Collegiate Marketing Conference where she will be speaking!
Hope to see you there!
Connect with Jillian:
Twila-Amoure McDaniel43 Posts
Twila-Amoure McDaniel is a college student who is majoring in both communications and film studies. When she isn't in class she is more than likely somewhere making videos for her YouTube channel. Her passions include writing, art, and film-making and she currently has plans on going into the film industry. Twila-Amoure does have crohn's disease, however she is very determined not to allow that to stop her from achieving all of her goals in life. Be sure to follow her on all on her social media platforms @TwilaAmoure and feel free to browse through Campus Lately for more of her work.