COMM alumna follows instincts to become accomplished entrepreneur

Joy Lynn Fields ('86)
Joy Lynn Fields (’86)

Joy Lynn Fields became a highly successful advertising executive and entrepreneur by following her own instincts and challenging herself to think creatively – two lessons she learned to embrace as a student at Florida State University.

Fields, who graduated from the School of Communication in 1986, is the president of Joy Lynn, Inc., a qualitative research consulting company she started in 1995, located near Atlanta, Ga.

But Fields did not begin her career at Florida State in the advertising track.  She earned a scholarship to the University’s highly respected College of Music with the intention of one day writing advertising jingles.

Over time, Fields found herself more interested in the advertising business and sought out internships to obtain more experience before eventually switching her major.

Fields, also active in student government and her sorority, credits Florida State’s faculty for allowing to her to find her own path.

“I think Florida State made me challenge myself and think about what I really wanted to do,” Fields said.  “Once I did, they challenged me along the way.

“There was a lot of collaboration within the school. We were put in small groups and forced to think through different ad campaigns and marketing programs.  It made us think more creatively and outside-the-box.”

After working in advertising for a few years after graduation, Fields became more interested in the marketing research part of the business.

“There was a lot of decision-making being made and I was the one executing those decisions, but I wasn’t the person making the decisions about our strategy,” Fields said.  “I started realizing there was another side to marketing involving marketing research.”

Through a co-worker, Fields met Frank Lane, author of “Killer Brands” and a high-level marketer who introduced several famous products.  Lane mentored Fields and eventually created a position for her within his company.

“He said, ‘I’ll make you a deal.  I’ll teach you everything you need to know and how to think differently and when you’re ready I’ll help you get a job as a brand manager at any of our client companies,’” Fields said.

At Lane’s firm (Pyramid/Peachtree Creek), Fields developed the qualitative research part of the business, which became half of its business.  In six years, she was promoted to senior vice president.

“It was about making people think and all the different ways of how someone can interpret something,” Fields said.

Despite the success, something nagged at Fields.  It was time to follow her instincts once again.

“I missed doing the work so I decided to spin off on my own and focus exclusively on qualitative research full time as a focus group moderator,” Fields said.

Fields started Joy Lynn, Inc., in 1995, and while she employs contractors and support staff, she is still responsible for the deliverables.

“From the very beginning I wanted to create a company around me,” Fields said.  “I wasn’t trying to create a large company, just a life for myself doing what I love.”

Fields is enjoying a successful career owning her own firm and received two awards last year for her accomplishments.  Enterprising Women Magazine named Fields one of their 2013 Enterprising Women of the Year, and Fields garnered a Gold Stevie Award for Women in Business in the category of 2013 Female Entrepreneur of the Year – Business Services – 10 or Less Employees – Advertising, Marketing, & Public Relations.

If you are a student interested in the School of Communication’s advertising track, visit