Jesse Pedraza | Barkley Fellow
“Hi! My name is Jesse Pedraza.”
This is what I say to myself in the mirror when I need to get ready for something big. Yes, it’s weird, but here I am airing it out. That’s me, Jesse Pedraza. Although is it?
My given name is Jesus, but I have always gone by Jesse. I am a father of two (Ava 9 and Jameson 6), road dog to my best friend and partner Sarah, an avid golfer, I have been cutting my own hair since I was 17, and I once took John Mayer to Denny’s. Yes, that John Mayer. If you were wondering, he ordered a Grasshopper Shake, celery and blue cheese dressing. I had the French Slam with a side of sausage and scrambled eggs. Always go with the French Slam.
I spent most of my life in California and moved to the Kansas City area (Kansas side) in 2011. I am a curious person and enjoy learning useless facts. Did you know that Ohio is the only US state not to share a letter with the word mackerel? You do now. When I was younger, I wanted to play professional baseball, until I found golf. Since then, I have never looked back. Today, I hold a single-digit handicap and travel the world chasing that little white ball.
I attended California State University, Sacramento where I wanted to major in marketing and advertising but was talked out of it by a career counselor; he doesn’t get a Christmas card from me. So instead, I majored in finance so that I could learn the value of a dollar and one day retire. I spent 14 years in the finance world where I led a global team and ultimately created a regional diversity officer position which I held for three-plus years.
After my stint in finance, I did some consulting for Kansas City organizations such as Prep KC and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. During that time, I met the new owner of what was then the Kansas City T Bones, an independent professional baseball club. He asked me if I was interested in helping make something of the team. This intrigued me, so I took a position as head of Diversity & Civic Engagement. First project: helping spark the team rebrand to the Kansas City Monarchs. I was responsible for revenue growth and the development of the organization's efforts to build and sustain an inclusive baseball club. The scope of my work included sponsorship sales, marketing activation, and developing the organization’s diversity and inclusion strategies as well as starting their 501(c)(3), the Monarchs Youth Academy.
The skills that helped me be successful in both the finance & sports industries also helped me land my position at Barkley. I love being creative — working with a strong team of creatives is something I have always looked forward to. My kids are bummed that they won’t be getting to sit in suites and run the field at Monarchs games any longer, and they have no idea what advertising is, or what I do now for a living. That’s ok though, I get my nights, weekends and summers back so I can spend more time with the family. As for the younger generation not knowing what advertising is? Well, I intend to change that while working here at Barkley, so stay tuned.
Five Questions with Jesse Pedraza
What is one thing you can’t live without?
A watch on my wrist. Seriously, you will always see me with a watch on my wrist. I actually feel naked if I don’t have one on.
What is one thing about you most people at work don’t know?
I am into horology. Excuse me? Yes horology, it’s the study of mechanical time-keeping devices, get your heads out of the gutter! Watches! I love watches, and I collect them too. Some of my watches include:
What's an unpopular opinion you feel strongly about?
Pineapple on pizza GANG, for life!
Life without social media or life without music?
Life without social media for sure! Music is too much part of who I am to lose it. Also, what will you listen to while you’re driving?
Do you believe in aliens?
I do believe in aliens. I mean, there has to be aliens out there, right?
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Apr 27, 2022
People of Barkley
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