New to Calgary, Jessica (Jess) Lawson joined Lean In last year and is currently the Co-Lead Content – supporting the Marketing Team with content creation, editorial and communication support. Jess spends her working hours as a Consultant, with Argyle, a communication, engagement and full-service agency, with offices across Canada and in Washington, D.C. While chatting through her role, Jess brightens, humbly mentioning Argyle’s award-winning reputation as CPRS 2021 Canadian Agency of the Year, and is grateful for a breadth of clients she gets to work with daily.
Jess believes in the power of authentic connections.
Following two years with NATIONAL Public Relations in Halifax, Nova Scotia as both a coordinator and a creative, her team and leadership was supportive when Jess expressed she wanted to embark on a new adventure to the west coast. They even introduced her to her current boss, and incoming President of Lean In Calgary, upon arrival to the City.
Jess continues to enjoy her time with Lean In, specifically highlighting the opportunity to work with so many amazing women, from a variety of industries and backgrounds. She finds herself gravitating towards women who are both “smart and kind” and who lead with compassion. Jess feels Lean In has provided a “safe space for connecting with like minded women” and an approachable and authentic alternative to conventional networking.
Jess doesn’t just pinpoint one piece of advice when recalling what guides her through her career, rather a salad bag of conversations from leaders, colleagues, and volunteer buddies, where a safe place was created to ask and answer vulnerable questions about work, life and the future. Jess loves the circle time in monthly volunteer meetings and believes it is a place where people are authentic in their presence. Jess credits Lean In for helping her to be more of her “authentic” self at work. It’s often you’ll hear her on Zoom meetings, letting other Argylers or Lean In colleagues know that her cat Wasabi is eating the spider plant again or how she’s coping through her breakup.
One daily mantra Jess follows, from Buddhist Monk Thich Nhat Hanh is “Dear One, I am here for you”. She uses this internally to remind herself always that the solutions and the path is within. She also has an abundance of daily affirmations, using her Five Minute Journal to reflect and project compassion to herself and others.
She is most inspired by her mom, who had twin girls at 17 years of age, raised them with wonderful support from her grandparents, and went onto graduate with two degrees from university. She credits her drive for work and sense of humour, to the endless encouragement she received. Although “Supermom” was not alone, Jess and her sister were also blessed with a Stepdad at three years old, who her last name belongs to.
If she was to provide any advice to women in business, it would be to those starting out in their career. “Try everything. Say yes, with boundaries, and aim to meet as many people and do as many things as possible. Don’t put yourself in a box, stay open and you just may discover something you like to do that you hadn’t thought of before. The future of work is going to be for the generalist with transferable skills. You need to have grit, a good sense of humour and a willingness to work”.