Say Hello To Our Editor!

Jessika_NewOMHG_headshot

Hello and welcome to my little corner of our community! My work is focused on creating diverse communities where creativity is nurtured and connections unfold in beautiful, unexpected ways.  You are in one of those communities right now, be welcome (and consider yourself hugged). What started as a multi-author blog evolved into this uniquely welcoming gathering place where creative entrepreneurs can learn from and support each other. This has become my neighbourhood, where I can turn ideas and dreams into reality, or turn to in laughter or tears and find a friend. Creative entrepreneurship isn’t always unicorns and cupcakes so I hope you feel the same warmth and connection every time you visit here. I’ve spent most of my adult life searching for and working with communities but this one here is the kindest and most welcoming I’ve ever experienced. Credit goes to the help of many wonderful people from around the world who have joined in to create this place together, thank you!

Community Driven-Collaboratively Led

 Where others see competitors I see collaborators so it is no surprise that my business ended up looking a lot more like a cooperative. After years of supporting entrepreneurs, co-ops, non-profits and social enterprises I am convinced that innovation starts where creativity and community are supported. By putting this to work for OMHG our team has grown from a handful of volunteer contributors to this amazingness and a crew of brilliant creatives that use our site to connect in ever more collaborative ways. Since buying OMHG in 2010 from Sara Tams I’ve found my true love creating community here and am pinch-myself-grateful for all the support I’ve received on this adventure. I’ve been honoured to have taught at Spark Retreat in New Mexico, received training at Etsy headquarters in Brooklyn, speak on growing your community at Altitude Summit in Salt Lake City, and be interviewed many times for web and print.

Teaching & Speaking 

I am currently not available for teaching & speaking opportunities. I am focusing on our community (including our membership forums and vendor marketplace) and creating a happy home with my two little girls and love in a sweet pink house on a hill in the storybook village of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. When Sela goes off to school and Ila starts Grade 4 in September of 2014 we will be re-evaluating and this will likely change, so be sure to stay in touch about your events.

My Work

In the past I have consulted with entrepreneurs, small companies, non-profits and organizations on growing and engaging diverse communities. This work spans fundraising initiatives, creative events, grassroots education and marketing campaigns. More recent projects include complete branding for clients that reflects core community values like the logo, website, print/ebook + extensive branding collateral developed for my client Lela of Lucky Break Consulting  as well as community outreach and collaborative projects like my recent Playful Tour for Mariah of Playful Learning. I am booked with current clients and am restructuring my community consultation services but email me if you would like to know when I am available or if you have such a spectacular community project that I couldn’t possibly say no to it.

Cliff Notes

I’ve always been driven to connect and combine entrepreneurship with creativity.  I sat on my first board of directors for the Greater Vancouver Big Sisters when I was 9. When I was 10 I started my first business selling painted chandelier crystals found in a city dumpster to the staff of a group home for people with developmental disabilities where my mother worked. At 11 I had a drop in daycare service for my low-income East Vancouver housing co-op. I sang on CBC radio when I was 13 about how when I was Prime Minister I was going to fix all the things. At 14 I was arrested for protesting the opening of a new McDonald’s with my Youth for Social Justice group. I moved out at 15 and at 19 I co-founded an art based summer camp for impoverished kids.

By the time I had my first daughter at 21 had worked with over 50 non-profits, cooperatives and social enterprises helping them increase their engagement, transform their communities, and celebrate local diversity. Along the way I taught myself about the internet and design tools using them to connect with every one from at risk families, preschool aged kids, inner city youth, refugees, and rural seniors to non-profit CEO’s, corporate investors, and community leaders + all ages and stages in-between. I’ve facilitated collaborative workshops and opportunities for diverse groups across Canada including running a preschool for a rural cooperative, directing a community resource centre on a tiny island in BC, and planning community focused events on both East and West coasts. Whether it is talking to at risk youth about suicide and addiction, working with corporate sponsors, or talking with a group of entrepreneurs my goal is always to leave everyone feeling welcome and supported.

Want to get to know me better? Read through my posts (almost 500 of them!), visit me in our community forums, or join in on one of our weekly #OMHG chats!