Name: Jane Rotonda
Title and Organization: Director, Wisconsin Book Festival
Graduation year and Degree: 2010; Bachelor of Arts – Journalism and Mass Communication
Since graduating from the J-School in 2010, Jane Rotonda has found a passion for non-profit work and has worked at the Children’s Museum and Wisconsin Public Radio. However, it was her life-long love of reading and stories that drew her to her newest role as director of the Wisconsin Book Festival. We caught up with Jane to hear about her proudest moments, advice to current students, and the challenges of completing a J201 quiz in 90 seconds.
When it comes to your professional accomplishments, what are you most proud of?
I’m proud of the relationships I’ve built in every job I’ve ever held. I am loyal. I uplift, respect, and fight for the worth of my colleagues. It’s always been important to me to invest in my teammates in a way that is genuine and intentional. In turn, I get to hold onto their trust and support.
What’s the best advice you have for a J-School student who wants to do what you do?
I recommend trying to be present and enjoy the moment you are currently experiencing in your career. There is a lot of pressure to be looking to the next phase, promotion, or opportunity. Don’t get me wrong, forward momentum and future goals are important. But I think one thing that has served me well is recognizing the opportunities to which I have immediate access. It takes discipline and patience, but when you are consistent in your efforts to embrace the more unassuming spaces for growth and achievement, they will inevitably lead you to your next goal – and maybe for you, that’s becoming the next Wisconsin Book Festival director.
What is your favorite J-School memory?
All of my connections to the J-School professors left a big impression. They really pushed me, while also sparking this immense curiosity because of their sincere commitment to teaching and dedication to the material. Oh, and I’ll never forget showing up 15 minutes late to my first J201 class and having to complete the weekly quiz in 90 seconds. Yep, total bummer.
Bonus Question: When we say “J-School,” what do you think of?
Katy Culver is synonymous with “J-School.” What a force!