Welcome to Creative Corner, a series by Wethos kickstarted to spotlight the many wonderful experts who make up our community. This week, we’re excited to share stories and inspiration from Wethos Studio Lead Jessika Davidson’s creative journey.
Tell us a bit about your founder story!
When I graduated from college, I was having an issue finding full-time work and I noticed a lot of nonprofits weren’t prioritizing digital media at all. I would cold email nonprofits and was shocked to find a lot of them didn’t have in-house teams and treated marketing and communications as more of a “nice to have” instead of as a vital part of their organization. I eventually started helping nonprofits by creating their social media pages and the rest is history!
I’ve worked in-house and have freelanced for various nonprofits across the country that provide a range of social services. After a few years, I realized that people of color are woefully underrepresented in this field, so I founded Kithe Creative Lab to collaborate with other women and people of color to work with organizations that are changing the world. I’m honored knowing that I’m doing important work and also being a part of the shift in the industry to diversify it.
How do you identify yourself professionally? Tell us a bit about what you do today.
I consider myself to be a digital marketing and engagement strategist. When you work in-house for nonprofits, you can do it all because you typically have to, but what I enjoy most is developing the WHY around the creative. What actions do we want our audience to take? When we create content, how does that move them up the ladder of engagement to be passionate advocates for our cause? Building strategy and growing advocate communities is a lot of fun for me.
What types of opportunities make your heart flutter?
I love any and all causes that center women and people of color while building online safe spaces for their communities! I also really love the idea of using art as a form of storytelling in unique spaces (i.e. using art as a storytelling mechanism to advocate for climate change policy).
How would you describe really good teamwork?
I believe a really good team is one where everyone is cognizant of their team members’ capacities and advocates on behalf of each other to the client. I also think clear communication is key! That means building processes so everyone has access to what we need to succeed.
What’s a collaboration you recently wrapped up that you’re proud of?
I’m currently working with 1,000 Days, a breastfeeding advocacy organization on a variety of projects. Most recently I helped develop a campaign that will amplify their recent report on nutrition’s impact on gender equity.
What music (or sounds) do you jam to when you’re working through a project?
I love listening to true crime podcasts (Criminal, Crime Junkie, and Swindled are my faves!) when working. If I feel like jamming music instead, I love Anderson .Paak, Ella Mai, Stevie Wonder, Moonchild and The Internet and tend to keep their music on repeat.
What do you wish you had known when you were starting out?
You don’t have to do it all! Being a one-stop shop when I started was great but it was the fastest path to burnout. I eventually built my network and learned to collaborate with other specialists. It has allowed me to have more work-life balance and it improved the finished project for the client, so everyone wins.
What discipline outside of your own do you want to connect with most in the Wethos community and why?
Public relations! A big part of strategy is finding channels (outside of your own) to amplify your work. I love learning from public relations pros on how to best build and leverage relationships to amplify impact for a client.
Jessika Davidson is a marketing and engagement strategist that has worked with a variety of nonprofit organizations on their marketing and engagement strategies and platforms since social widgets were a thing and MySpace was still “the space”. Throughout her career, she’s had the privilege of consulting with leading-edge organizations and brands on a wide range of digital communication projects and has a passion for issues that center marginalized communities and prompt civic engagement. She is a fierce believer that the work we do in our lifetime should be energized by purpose and strategic action. That belief has led her to work on in house teams for the Houston Museum of African American Culture, GenHTX, and the Family Equality Council while managing freelance projects with Pantsuit Nation, One Breath Partnership, the National March for Science and the Hurston/Wright Foundation for Black Writers.
When she’s not working, she’s walking her dog Riley, watching bad reality tv (mainly 90-day fiance) with her husband Brandon, and enjoying Houston’s culinary scene, in search of the perfect taco.