The Fishbowl: Jane Wolfson, Hearst UK

The Fishbowl: Jane Wolfson, Hearst UK

The Media Leader’s new interview series will ask the media industry’s top salespeople 10 revealing questions drawn from our fishbowl. The questions will be drawn at random and contain some tricky posers set by the commercial chiefs themselves.

This week is Jane Wolfson, Hearst UK chief commercial officer.


Jane Wolfson joined Hearst UK in June 2015 as head of commercial operations and worked her way up to be appointed chief commercial officer in June 2019.

In this role she leads the commercial team of Hearst Solutions UK across 21 magazine brands and Hearst Global Solutions spanning 84 different markets.

She started her career in media agencies, and was head of commercial strategy and innovation at Initiative before moving to the media owner side.

Who’s been the biggest influence in your career and why?

Priscilla Rogan. She was my first media planning boss at WCRS. She was amazing and taught me a huge amount – there weren’t very many senior female leaders in those days.

What’s been your biggest challenge this year and what are you doing about it?

We’ve been focusing on building and maintaining the brilliant culture in our sales team. The pandemic disrupted some of the momentum we had gained, but our approach to hybrid working, with two days in the office where all the team are in at the same time, has massively helped. Being able to have the ability to connect in person is really valuable.

If you could change one thing about the industry right now, what would it be?

Less words, more action.

Which deal in your career are you proudest of?

I’ve worked across so many amazing campaigns, but the one I was especially proud of was the Metro x Tesco takeover partnership, whilst working at global media agency, Initiative. The campaign successfully brought a client to use a traditional medium in new ways, which changed how they approached national press for many years after.

Whilst here at Hearst UK, my team has recently worked with ELLE and Nike on an inspiring multi-platform project which aims to celebrate the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 Championship and shine a light on the people driving change in the women’s game. The campaign features everyone from world-class players to grassroot communities, with the hope of opening up football to people at all levels and from all backgrounds.

What are the three most important skills that a media salesperson needs in 2022?

Positivity, likeability and integrity.

Which advertiser would you love to work with (but don’t already) and how would you sell Hearst specifically to them?

Tesco (see above). We have amazing trusted brands, with highly engaged audiences across multiple platforms, and could do so much more with them to connect with our audiences .

If you didn’t work in publishing, which other media sector could you see yourself working in?

I really love publishing but I also love all media sectors, coming from agency background I have a taste for it all.

What was your first paid job and why did you do it?

I used to work behind the bar in my local pub as I needed to earn some money, and loved the social aspect of it!

Who’s the best media salesperson you know (other than yourself)?

Joni Morriss, head of agency sales at TikTok. I was fortunate to have her in the Hearst UK sales team for several years. She’s totally committed, a great presenter and a good person to boot.

Outside your own company, which sales team is doing really well?

Channel 4. Brilliantly creative and embraces diversity and inclusion.

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