Jess Molina is a storyteller. That’s just who she is – a 20 something editor turned actor and TV host, chronic oversharer on the internet, flatlay enthusiast, pasta eater, writer, and fairytale believer from New Zealand. And that’s just her night job.
By day, she’s a cool corporate, helping bring stories to life through her unique brand of storytelling. Somewhere in there she manages to relax and live her best life eating all the food, staying up late to interview celebrities LA time, and sharing her ‘Instagram’ life.
This week she is writing a series of blog posts in the led up to our NZ Startup Bootcamp:
If you have never read a piece by Elly Strang (seriously, where have you been?!), I can assure you that you are missing out. As editor of Idealog Magazine, Elly has written quite literally a lot of articles from think pieces, opinion, and Q&As. Her piece "How can New Zealand Design a Better Society" really resonated with me the first time I read it and I think it's even more relevant now.
What an absolute treat it is to have her on this week's In Conversation special! We chat about crazy career opportunities, Endgame (of course!), and her advice for anyone wanting to get into her industry. Girl crush alert!
Career highlight so far?
There’s been a lot of moments, particularly because every time you put a magazine to print, it feels like raising and then releasing a child into wild – it’s simultaneously terrifying, and a huge weight off your shoulders.
But last year was a particular highlight as I travelled to Sydney for Vivid Festival to interview some pretty big names: Titanic and Avatar director James Cameron, Google Empathy Lab founder Danielle Krettek and ex-Wired editor Scott Dadich. All were surprisingly down to earth, and the latter two admitted they still get impostor syndrome, which I thought was quite interesting – no level of fame or success counteracts the natural doubts that affect most humans.
Best thing about getting to do what you do?
I get to connect with people on a deeper level, probe them about what makes them and their business tick and then tell those stories. It’s a process that requires a lot of trust, a lot of attentiveness and a lot of care, but it’s always worthwhile. It hasn’t really got old after five years in the business.
Also, we’re increasingly trying to take a role-model like stance and educating and inspiring businesses on best practice, particularly with our monthly trends we’ve been exploring at Idealog, such as AUDACIOUS CHANGE. It’s really meaningful work and feels like we’re creating some change – or at least some ripples – in the business community.
Last book/song/or film that resonated with you and why?
Deepak Chopra’s new podcast, The Theory Of Everything – in particular the episode with Dr. Michio Kaku, a world-renowned physicist, about what’s beyond our universe and the science behind consciousness.
The Avengers Endgme’s ending had me sobbing like a baby. And I’ve been reading a lot of good books, but next on my to read list is Ruined by Design: How Designers Destroyed the World, and What We Can Do to Fix It. It looks pretty damn good.
Best cure for a crap day?
I’ve become part of the yoga cult that’s sweeping the world and every time I do a class, I come away feeling so blissful. It’s the antithesis to this busy, noisy digital realm we’re spending most of our time in, and it makes my mind at peace after being bombarded with information all day.
If that’s not an option, then a hot bath and a book or a run always does the trick.
Dream guests for a dinner party?
Oprah is legitimately my spirit animal, I can’t get enough of her SuperSoul and Masterclass podcasts. So I’d say her, Whitney Wolfe Herd (founder of Bumble, co-founder of Tinder) as I really admire the values she built her business on and George R. R. Martin, so he can tell me how Game of Thrones ends.
Advice you’d give your younger self?
Stop being so self-conscious as everyone feels insecure about their abilities deep down, it’s just some hide it better than others. If you can put those doubts aside and stop playing so small, success will be much more closely within your grasp.
Tips for anyone wanting to get into your industry/follow your footsteps?
Start small, and humble: Have big dreams, but start by getting some experience under your belt, even if it means interning for a very small amount of money and sucking up to various publications or people. It means you’re building your portfolio and forming connections that will pay off later when roles arise.
Connections are key: On that note, networking is your best friend. You can be one of many impersonal CVs in a pile or you can form face-to-face relationships that will leave a lasting impression, and these will lead to greater opportunities later down the track. LinkedIn is an awesome tool for this – you can keep all of your professional contacts in one place and use it as a platform to showcase your best work.
No matter how successful you are, always have a mentor and a student-like mentality: When you feel as though you’ve learned all there is to know in a role, you start to get cocky, unmotivated and narrow minded. There are always new skills to be learnt and feedback to take on board, even if you’ve made it to a leadership position. Ensure you’ve got a mentor figure who inspires you and has more experience than you that you can turn to for advice, even if you have to look outside your company to find them.
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This post was created in partnership with Jess Molina.