Regents Professor of Marketing at University of Montana; specialty in marketing strategies for emerging technologies and innovations
Regents Professor of Marketing
education, consulting, executive training, public speaking, developing business strategy, coaching,
Dr. Jakki Mohr is the Regents Professor of Marketing, the Gallagher Distinguished Faculty Fellow, and Fellow, Institute on Ecosystems, at the University of Montana. Jakki studies challenges companies face in developing and commercializing break-through innovations, including a broad range of technologies ranging from scientific innovations to innovations in restoration and ecology. She also served on the National Academies of Sciences Committee to overcome barriers to electric vehicle deployment in the United States (2012-2014). Her current research focuses on how companies use biomimicry (innovations inspired by nature, based on underlying biological mechanisms) to solve technical and engineering challenges, the basis of her TEDx talks in 2011 and 2012. Her early research focused on organizational communication between partners in strategic alliances/ partnerships and between distribution channel members.
An innovator in the field of marketing high-technology products and services, Mohr has achieved international acclaim for Marketing of High-Technology Products and Innovations (2010, 3rd edition, with Sanjit Sengupta and Stanley Slater), used by colleges and universities worldwide (translated into three languages) as well as by managers for executive training sessions. In addition, her book has resulted in invitations to guest-teach at the Drucker School of Management (Claremont Graduate University), ORT University (as a Fulbright Specialist) in Montevideo, Uruguay, as well as universities in Switzerland, Finland, Sweden, India, France, and Italy and to conduct executive education at companies both large (such as Fujitsu) and small.
She enjoys working with the start-up community in Montana. In her spare time, she enjoys many outdoor activities with her active family: Michael, son Willy and daughter Claire.
What motivates and inspires you?
I care deeply about people, community, nature, and education. I also care deeply about quality.
People and Community: I am motivated to make a difference in the lives of people around me. I strive to create meaningful networks so people can flourish. I spend a fair amount of time meeting with people, brainstorming, problem solving, advocating, listening, supporting, encouraging.
Nature: I love living in the Rocky Mountain West because of my fondness for the outdoors, for the beauty of rivers, forests, and sky that surround us, and for the wildlife. The sounds, smells, and sights are part of my core being. I try to do something outside for at least one hour every day.
Education: I am inspired to ensure that students at UM get a cutting-edge education. I love my domain of emerging technologies and innovations. It requires that I keep my skill set current. It’s far too easy to become a dinosaur in today’s world of rapid change. This requires a time commitment in training, reading, and interacting with others.
Quality: When I see shoddy practices and lackadaisical performance in any domain, I get so frustrated I want to shake people: what is wrong???
Who are your sheroes?
I admire anyone who creates excellence in her own life, AND also shares generously with others, AND laughs. Every single person on your PowerHouse Montana list qualifies!
I admire those who advocate tirelessly for the role of women.
I admire those who overcome adversity to improve their lives and the lives of those around them (including many of my students).
I admire those who are “firsts” in new categories for women: women CEOs (at GM, IBM, Xerox, Pepsi, to name just a few companies), the first woman as Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewel; Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook (regardless of whether you agree or disagree with her points in LeanIn, she has sparked a discussion of women’s roles in a way that hasn’t happened in decades); Anita Sarkeesian and her role in generating awareness about stereotypes of women in gaming (@femfreq); and many many others.
I am in awe of Princess Reema for all that she is doing to change the role of women in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Here is a link about her efforts: Driven.
Also, Mario Schulzke and Paul Gladen inspire me, for their innovative thinking and all they are doing for entrepreneurship, students, and UM!
What technology do you love and recommend to others? What about books, ideas or podcasts?
I read Fast Company and Wired cover-to-cover every issue. I also like The Economist.
I get email newsletters from a variety of marketing/business thought-leaders such as Knowledge@Wharton, The Technology Marketing Center, and Marketing Techie Newsletter.
I try to read at least 5-10 business books each year. My current reads are: The Last Mile: Creating Social and Economic Value from Behavioral Insights (Dilip Soman); Unfinished Business (Women, Men, Work, Family) by Anne-Marie Slaughter; and Elon Musk by Ashlee Vange.
And, I’m always trying to understand the role of women in business, technology, society and government through reading and various blogs.
How do you reboot?
I confess that I sleep A LOT—perhaps because when I’m awake, I’m like the Energizer Bunny (I know, a cliché…). But honestly, from the time I get up to the time I crash, my brain is going a million miles an hour and I rarely have a moment to catch my breath—let alone eat or even pee! So, I hit the bed about 9:30, and read for 30 minutes– always a non-work related book, ranging from legal mysteries (say, Michael Connelly) to thrillers (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series to Gillian Flynn to Tana French to Jo Nesbo) to nature and climate books (The Sixth Extinction) to Michael Pollan. Then light’s out!
I have to get some physical activity every day—preferably a run or hike outside, but a swim or a fitness class is also quite energizing!
I love my garden, and I love my two kitties, Max and Cheerio. Their purring snuggles relax me.
I LOVE to unwind with a glass of wine and a nice dinner at the end of the day with my sweetie.
My relationships with friends is a big part of what makes me tick. I’m lucky to have so many great friends in many domains of my life.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
In terms of my personal life, as a woman with children, I get amazing joy from watching my children grow and mature. Although every age has had its challenges, every age also has delighted me in its own unique way. Their triumphs, large or small, warm my heart.
In terms of my professional life, I’m quite proud of the work that I’ve done as a marketing scholar. I’ve always tried to take risks, be bold, and to do things that matter. Writing the first book on the Marketing of High-Technology Products & Innovations is one example, and my research on biomimicry is another.
I also feel a great sense of accomplishment in seeing the amazing positions my students have moved in to after graduation, and gratitude for the ongoing relationships I have with them. Although my role in their overall life trajectory is quite limited, I still believe that a special bond is created that helps them to find their passions, spread their wings, take chances, and soar on their own.
What is the mark you hope to leave on the world?
This is an ambitious question and one that I have not given explicit thought to. I believe in making small decisions every single day that, collectively, create the world in which we want to live. As I heard recently from Melissa Wilson at the UM Foundation, “lighting my own corner of the world” is something that we each can do to have an impact.
Ultimately, I want to leave my students with the courage to pursue their passions, to make decisions they are proud of, and to “pay it forward” to others. I also believe that business leaders have a tremendous responsibility to society, and each of us must ensure individual decisions contribute to the collective good.
What words of wisdom you want to share with Montana women?
Be open to learning, be open to others, be open to difference.
It’s okay not to have all the answers.
Live each day with grace and joy.
Don’t apologize for expecting excellence.
Lead by example.
Have fun. (From my late nanny: “If you can’t crack yourself up at least once a day, you are taking yourself too seriously.”)