John “Jack” Hanlon ’06, cofounder of Kinetic Social, was recently named to Forbes “30 Under 30” list in the marketing category. According to Forbes, the list is a tally of the brightest stars in 15 different fields who are changing the world in 2014.
Hanlon is the architect of the data-focused Kinetic Social tech platform, which helps marketers and their agencies manage campaigns across social platforms and also gain an understanding of their audiences. According to Forbes, “The company’s more than 500 clients since launch include Mars, H&M and Victoria’s Secret’s PINK. In one quarter Hanlon increased profitability from 19% to 53% while growing the client portfolio.”
“While working at a large ad network I saw more and more brands wanting to capitalize on the power of social media, but having no place to turn,” says Hanlon. “A few coworkers and I knew there was a great opportunity to create a shop focused on leveraging the unique nature of social media to help companies reach their critical marketing objectives.”
How did this 29 year-old get from Mt. Saint James to one of the most prestigious lists in America? “I originally went to Holy Cross thinking I would be an economics major and take as many music classes as I could on the side,” says Hanlon. “When I arrived, I quickly found that music was my passion, and that the analytical side of music theory was deeply engaging for me. I also found that several of the English professors at Holy Cross were amazing so I capitalized on that.”
He says there is a strong relationship between music and math/technology. “My career has taken me through the NYSE, Google and ecommerce marketing, but the common thread throughout is the ability to break down large problems into their component pieces and the discipline to always keep practicing my skills—the two key things I learned in the music department,” he says.
Hanlon, a music major, says the liberal arts education at Holy Cross allowed him to take a series of courses across disciplines. “Through this I was able to understand the relationship of many disciplines to a larger framework, namely, literature, philosophy and music, and how they influenced and played off of each other,” he says. “This skill is valuable in any context and has allowed me to be flexible in my career.”
While on the Hill, Hanlon was the captain/coach of the Ultimate Frisbee team for three years and he still stays in close contact with his fellow teammates. He was also the guitarist in the Holy Cross Jazz Band and music director for the Alternate College Theater (ACT) shows “Damn Yankees” (2005) and “Pal Joey” (2006).
His favorite professor? “This is a tie. I am extremely lucky to have studied with Lee Oser [professor of English] and Joseph Lawrence [professor of philosophy], two extraordinary, passionate educators,” he shares. “I took ‘20th Century British Literature’ with Professor Oser as well as his amazing seminar on T.S. Eliot. Just the way he could recite the work could give you chills, and as a result I still remember many of those poems by heart.”
Hanlon lives in New Jersey and works in New York City.