Thanks, Jesse, for sharing your career adventures with us!

We were happy to host Jesse Wright, JMU Media Arts and Design alum, for a visit to Harrisonburg and our Business of New Media course.

Jesse Wright, a JMU Media Arts and Design alumnus, graduated in 2008.

SUMMARY: Working at one of the hottest agencies in the U.S., Jesse Wright's typical day includes working with national brands to create ad campaigns. But this past Tuesday, he inspired SMAD students with his career stories, and helped them prepare for the future.

By Chase Conrad Maszle ('17)

Monday through Friday, Jesse Wright commutes from his home in Richmond’s Museum District to downtown, where he’s fortunate to work for The Martin Agency. As a Senior Digital Producer at one of the hottest agencies in the U.S., Jesse works with strategy, creative, and technical teams to develop client solutions, and guides large digital products from ideation through launch. But last Tuesday, Jesse was here with us—twenty students—in James Madison University’s Harrison Hall as a part of our Business of New Media speaker series.

Here I’ll share some of Jesse’s most interesting stories and insights about his career adventures—so far.

His career began with him helping at his father’s photography studio about the time he could walk. While at JMU, Jesse spent his first two summers working at the front desk of a Marriott hotel in Virginia Beach.

“This lady called, and she was trying to get a room for her daughter’s soccer tournament. I helped her get a great deal and she asked, ‘Wait--how old are you?’ And then mentioned, ‘I run the intern program for Marriott. Would you like to apply?’”

His hard work allowed him to be in the right place at the right time and before you know it, Jesse was off to intern with Marriott International in posh Miami Beach.

Since then, Wright told us his stories of battling the job market, moving cross-country taking positions in Colorado, North Carolina, D.C., and now, Richmond, and even delivering bottles of champagne with his resume attached to grab the attention of potential employers—just like he does to help large companies stand out to consumers.

Of course, we in the classroom liked that story and wanted to hear more of his secret sauce.

“It’s important to work hard and be nice to people,” Wright mentions. “Maybe it will come back to help you later, maybe not. It usually does not take much to brighten someone’s day.”

Jesse reminded to us that humor has also played an important role. He laughs that one of his first opportunities started—literally—with a well-timed joke. Jesse eagerly wanted to score a position with Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Advertising Age’s “Agency of the Decade” who had large clients including Dominos and Volkswagen.

“I closely followed Alex Bogusky on Twitter, and found out he was involved in a guitar charity. So, I assumed that he played guitar,” Jesse shared. “I waited for him to tweet something out, then I literally had preplanned some guitar jokes that I got from a friend, then tweeted him a guitar joke. He actually responded. I tweeted a 140 character resume and asked if CP+B had internships.”

The rest was history, and he moved to Boulder, Colorado. Later, moving on to McKinney and a startup named Dognition, Jesse learned that working with large, challenging clients can be crucial for professional growth in the marketing and technology fields. He now has experience with companies like Microsoft, Lenovo, Geico, Oreo, Sherwin-Williams, Stoli, Coke Zero and the American Cancer Society under his belt.

But work isn’t all that Jesse devotes time towards. He gives back to his city by volunteering as the Director of Digital with the Richmond Mural Project, an organization that brings world-renowned artists to Richmond and has sponsored over 100 murals to the Richmond area over the last 5 years.

As a part of his visit to JMU, we also had the opportunity to get one-on-one resume help and career feedback with Jesse.

JMU Alum, Jesse Wright (left), spends time reviewing resumes with a student in the Business of New Media class.
JMU Alum, Jesse Wright (left), spends time reviewing resumes with a student in the Business of New Media class. Photo: Chase Conrad Maszle

“I feel like I have a better, more realistic understanding of the career field I'm about to enter as far as positions and interview expectations,” mentions Krista Kennedy (’17), an interactive design concentrator.

Another student in attendance, Stuart Brazil (’17), focuses mostly on video production. “It was really nice of him to come back and reach out to [Media Arts and Design] students, like us, and provide his useful tips,” Brazil adds.

As for me, my favorite part was how Jesse gave us the inside scoop of how The Martin Agency is organized by departments, and how the work flows from the client through the agency until the award-winning work comes out the door.

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Published: Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Last Updated: Monday, February 22, 2021

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