Where are you now Jen Hannon?

Jen Hannon at CITGO
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During Jen Hannon’s undergraduate years at North Central College, she took Cardinal Video. A class that would take her to Naperville Community Television for classes and video editing; Liz Spencer was her professor at the time. When Jen graduated in 2007, she started her career as a part time news and sports reporter. After several years covering Naperville sports like football, softball and cheerleading, she transitioned and focused fully on news. Over the years, Jen became the News producer and anchor, bringing the news to Naperville residents.

Today, Jen is the Public Affairs Manager for CITGO Petroleum Corporation Lemont Refinery.  We recently caught up with Jen and here’s what she had to say!

What initially attracted you to work at NCTV17?

When I was younger, my dream job was to be the Morning News Anchor in San Diego, California! After going to college in Naperville, NCTV17 was the obvious choice to start. While I didn’t stay in television beyond NCTV17, the experience still helps me in my current role. I’m currently in a very public facing role, and I still interact with many folks I met through my time in the Naperville community – I just saw Mayor Wehrli the other week!

What’s a memorable NCTV17 moment that always brings a smile to your face?

My absolute favorite project was when Carl Schultz and I went through the Citizen Fire Academy! It was amazing to learn the ins and outs of the Naperville Fire Department. We got to use actual equipment and go through real life scenarios that these brave men and women face every day. Thanks, Chief Puknaitis!

How did your experience at NCTV17 contribute to your professional growth and development?

NCTV17 was my first real job out of college, so many of my years there shaped my entire professional career. Liz was, and truly is a mentor to me, and showed me how to become a professional.

Have you continued to work in the field of media?

After seven years working in television, I transitioned to a different career path. I spent three years working as Communications Manager at Naperville CUSD 203, then left the Naperville area and spent three years as Director of Community Relations at Lincoln-Way 210.

In 2021, I made a major career change and entered the corporate world as Community Relations Advisor for CITGO Petroleum Corporation Lemont Refinery. After a year and a half, I was promoted to my current role as Public Affairs Manager and manage a team of three. Our department maintains all internal and external communications, and I serve as the Public Information Officer.

CITGO is a wonderful community partner, supporting many municipalities, Chambers, Park Districts, local non-profits and many local schools. Our department also plans our many volunteer events and fundraisers, such as Habitat for Humanity, United Way Employee Giving Campaign and several events for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

I serve on several boards throughout the community, including the Romeoville Area Chamber of Commerce, Joliet Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Joliet Chamber’s Council for Working Women, United Way of Will County, Three Rivers Education Partnership, the Will County Center for Economic Development, and the Rialto Square Theatre Foundation. I’m also a member of the Rotary Club of Romeoville.

What skills are you using in your current job that you learned at NCTV17?

With working in the communications field, many of the skills I learned I still utilize today! For example, instead of reading press releases like I use to, I now write them. Understanding what reporters want to hear and how to capture a story is still vital to my role today. Also, many of the connections I made at NCTV are still relevant in my career today. And I still edit videos from time to time!

What’s the best part of your current job?

The people! I’ve made so many friends and connections at CITGO and in the community. Working with volunteers can be a challenge, but when they become your friends, it makes the work fun.  The best part though, is to see the impact CITGO makes in the community. Our volunteers put in more than 2,000 hours in 2023 by attending local STEM nights or building an entire house. Last year we raised more than $696,000 through our CITGO/MDA Driving for a Cure Golf Outing.

What do you do outside of work?

I have a six-year-old son! So, most of my time outside of work is spending time with family. We love to do fun activities like go to the zoo or a park.

What is your favorite book?

I read a lot of books about catching serial killers. Being married to a police officer, I like to see if I can figure out the mystery.

What type of music do you enjoy?

I pretty much only listen to country, but only the old school! I don’t enjoy a lot of the new “pop” country. Many of the songs bring me back to my roots of growing up on a farm in Central Illinois.

Do you have any favorite travel destinations?

I grew up on a farm in Central Illinois that has been in my family for more than 150 years. My dad has since passed away, but my family still owns and lives on the land. I love going home to see my mom, sister and nieces.

A recent addition to our travels is a permanent lake house in Michigan. We’ve spent the past two summers spending every major summer holiday on the lake, boating, fishing and creating memories.

This year, we’re looking forward to our first Disney trip!

Do you have any pets?

A super crazy, but sweet 3-year-old German Shepherd mix.