Humble Beginnings: Jeff Winton
Published on March 3, 2020, at 5:48 p.m.
By Allie Rose.
Each person you meet is like a new book — each a different title, full of chapters with unique stories and various experiences encompassing a person’s life. As I have grown in my 20-something years on Earth, I have learned to appreciate that everyone you meet has a story. When I first met Jeff Winton and heard about his industry experience as well as his zeal for life and helping others, I could instantly tell he was someone I wanted to befriend. What I didn’t know was how incredible his story is.
Winton’s narrative starts out with a small-town farm boy from upstate New York. He is a first-generation college graduate from Cornell University with a degree in agriculture. His college dorm had more students in it than his hometown had people. He and his family owned and operated a dairy farm that helped put him through college. Winton showed up to college the night before classes without a single book or class schedule. As a first-generation college student, he did not know what to expect or anyone to guide him. His family’s farm animals were being shown in the New York State Fair during freshman orientation week, so naturally, he was with his family taking care of the animals. His passion and love for animals carried over into his early career.
His first job out of college was a communications position for animal health care at an advertising agency on Madison Avenue in New York City. During that time, the AIDS epidemic hit New York City hard. Winton began volunteering and becoming more involved in the human health care industry. This eventually led him to spend the majority of his career in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries.
Winton has learned throughout his career that the job path is not a straight line and often out of your control, but he has tried to always be open to the opportunities presented to him, even when they weren’t familiar or made him uncomfortable. “Curiosity has always served me well and has allowed me to invite possibilities into my life to be challenged and grow,” he said. He has rarely shied away from taking risks or trying things he never thought he was capable of.
With high risk can come high reward, taking us to his latest chapter. Winton recently took a risk on a new adventure by opening up his own agency on Feb. 2, 2020: Jeff Winton Associates. His former company was undergoing a corporate restructuring, and he decided to step down last fall. His new agency aspires to provide seasoned advice to up-and-coming and early-stage health care companies. The agency offers more than just communications — it assists clients with key strategies for areas such as diversity and inclusion, patient advocacy, investor relations, public policy and corporate social responsibility.
When he is not working with clients, Winton is a competitive equestrian, shows and breeds dogs, and owns a dairy farm. He owns 12 American saddlebred horses and regularly competes with them throughout the year. He also breeds and showcases whippets, greyhounds and borzoi dogs across the country at various dog shows. His dairy farm, Wall Street Dairy, is located only 20 minutes from his hometown in upstate New York. The farm allows him to stay close to his roots and maintain his love for agriculture and animals.
Aside from being an outstanding PR practitioner and communicator, Winton is all things caring and compassionate. In this next chapter of his life, he aspires to fill a gap in the industry with adept and sound guidance to encourage his startup clients to reach their fullest potential. Winton offered a small nugget of profound wisdom to me personally and professionally:
“Treat each person you meet with kindness and respect because you never know what they might be going through.”
I think we can all agree that the world needs more Jeff Wintons.