Howdy, I’m Jack Pate. This is my blog. I’ve been blogging since 1999 or so. This particular blog goes back to 2002, but it only features newer material.
I am currently employed as director of social media for Tyson Foods, Inc. I work with the Corporate Affairs team there to develop strategies for our corporate social channels.
Opinions here are my own. Pictures here are mainly of my cat.
One of my favorite quotes is by science fiction writer Robert Heinlein: “A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”
My first “real job” was teaching college English Composition classes at a rural community college (converted vo-tech). From there, I gravitated to newspapers, where I worked my way up from cub reporter on the schools beat, to business editor, to assistant managing editor, to Internet publisher for the NW Arkansas edition of the state paper. This was during the first “dot com boom” of ’99-’00, and big changes were happening in the industry. I was lucky enough to be working in one of the few competitive print media markets in the country, with four dailies going head-to-head, competing for a vibrant, growing audience.
I moved to Tyson Foods in 2002 to join the Corporate Communications department, which, at the time, was functioning as a kind of full-service, in-house agency to various departments. I worked with the company magazine, as well as doing photography and various multimedia projects. I moved to Las Vegas in 2008 because of family responsibilities. There, I worked in corporate communications for a casino company, where I learned a lot about crisis management and PR from some really talented people. I was noticing that a lot of casino guests were using social media to communicate with us, but we didn’t have anyone listening. I successfully got each property set up for monitoring and responding on Twitter.
I moved back to Tyson in 2010 to rejoin the Corporate Communications team, with an emphasis on social media. Not long after I was settled in, the “pink slime” news story rocked our industry. For the first time, senior leadership saw social media as less of a novelty, and more of a threat. We built our new social media team under the umbrella of Corporate Affairs, which houses PR, Community Relations, Charitable Giving, and Government Relations.
Although were were founded as a crisis monitoring and response team, our expertise was sought after by different business units looking to get started in social media. We formed alliances with Legal, PR, Compliance, HR, Corporate Security, IR and Marketing that were the beginnings of a social media governance committee that meets regularly.
My management style? Some people would say that I am more of a consensus builder that an iconoclastic leader. I would say that I hire the right minions people to do my bidding.