Meet the Innovator: Jessica Howell

Emily Meade
Posted: March 4, 2020

We’d love to introduce you to one of our Innovators, Jessica Howell! She is new momma to a little babe and two furry friends, Midwesterner turned San Diego local, and none other than the daughter of our very own CEO, Debbie Wooldridge. On a day-to-day basis, she acts as our Director of Marketing and ensures that you get the latest on ttcInnovations (have you seen our latest rebrand?) and the best of L&D content. While Jessica and the marketing team fuel the voice of ttc, here’s where you can peel back the curtain and get to know her personally.

Tell us about yourself! What is your role and how long have you been with ttcInnovations?
This question makes me smile for so many reasons! While I have the pleasure of being Director of Marketing today, I have had the greater joy of being “with” the organization since inception. As previously mentioned, I am the daughter of our amazingly talented and courageous CEO (Biased? A bit — though entirely accurate to anyone who has worked with her). I have had the honor of watching this organization grow and evolve for nearly two decades. From the basement of my childhood home, over late night work sessions fueled by coffee and Cokes (the size of our heads!) I watched the leaders of this company — women who have served as my mentors for years and continue to collaborate with us today — deliver excellence for our clients through sheer hard work and tenacity. The stories I could tell you! Perhaps another time… Fast-forward to 2012, fresh out of college with a degree in design and a minor in business, I transitioned from spectator/cheerleader to an active Innovator as a contracted graphic developer. From there, I went on to build a social media consulting and training company (entrepreneurism is in my blood). ttcInnovations continued to be a long-standing client, my first and forever favorite, beyond the personal connection. After a successful five-years in business, I saw my future in ttcInnovations more clearly. I was presented with the opportunity to take my role full-time, and am now able to apply my experience in business and passion for marketing to my current role with greater impact.

What is your favorite thing about your role?
What I enjoy most is that no two days are alike. I might be finessing an RFP one day, analyzing our KPIs and qualifying leads the next, coordinating with our team on content strategy and collaborating on cross-departmental efforts. It’s incredibly fulfilling to have the opportunity to marry my passion for strategy with visual and verbal storytelling. But it can also be a challenge, which is something I crave and need to perform at a high level. I’m someone who believes that a little bit of fear can be quite motivating. When you can get comfortable living in a place of discomfort, that’s when the magic happens!

Coffee or tea?
Coffee. Specifically Nespresso Vivalto Lungo with a splash of almond milk, and preferably in my always warm, Ember mug (game changer!), thoughtfully inscribed with the sentiment “best mom ever”, gifted from our wonderfully supportive team at the start of my maternity leave last year. Every morning as I sip my coffee slowly before my son wakes, I think of them and am reminded how lucky I am to work with fellow parents who understand the need for work/life balance.

What does life look like outside of work?
As you can imagine, our nine-month old crawler, James, keeps my husband and I pretty busy. We spend our weekends taking advantage of our lovely San Diego weather, frequenting local parks, beaches, and walking our two pint-size golden retrievers Gracie and Luna (they also keep us on our toes!). We schedule date nights once every two weeks and like to try out new local eateries. Now that we’re out of the newborn haze, we’ve dipped our toes back into the world of traveling which is another love that we hope to share with our son.

What has surprised you about becoming a mom?
Before becoming a momma, I lived life in a “what’s next?” mindset. Never quite content in any given moment, always pushing myself to achieve the next level, be it college graduation, career advancement, marriage, and pregnancy (though fertility was not so easy), you name it, I chased “what’s next?”. Now when I’m with our son, seeing life through his eyes, I am able to appreciate the here and now and savor the beauty of pure contentedness.

Your three favorite desk must-haves.
In addition, to my favorite mug, I’d have to go with:

  • Bose SoundLink headphones: It took me awhile to convert to around-ear headphones, but I am sold! I can wear these for hours comfortably, and with blue-tooth capabilities, I can be mobile on conference calls to refresh my coffee, get in a baby snuggle, or walk about (anyone else a walk and thinker?).
  • Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm: With no greasy residue, I reach for this luxurious moisturizer multiple times a day to quite literally revive my hands and my mind when I need a burst of energy. The citrusy aroma always helps me shake off any tension. I love it so much, I keep one at my desk, in my purse, and on my nightstand. Trust me, it’s that good!
  • Get S*&T Done Notepad: I received a handful of these beautifully minimalistic to-do list notepads from an event sponsor many years ago. I’ve been hording the leftovers and will be devasted when I eventually run out. The exact design is no longer available but there are similar listings from other small business owners (I support women-owned every chance I get!). As much as I love working digitally, sometimes you can’t beat the satisfaction from getting you-know-what done and crossing it off your list!

Okay, which core value of ttcInnovations resonates the most with you and why?
In this season of life, responsiveness is a core value that I am continuing to focus on. Being mindful of time, protecting it, and prioritizing it through intentional follow-up allows me to be fully cognizant of my needs and responsive to the needs of those around me.

What is your professional superpower?
Ideation — it’s a gift and a curse. There is rarely a moment that my creative juices aren’t openly flowing. While this is a professional superpower that is incredibly useful as a marketer, admittedly, it makes turning my brain off very difficult at night. With ideas popping up everywhere I turn, it can also be challenging to focus on implementing my ideas, which is of course the most important aspect of having an idea.

If you could only have three apps on your smartphone, which would you pick?

  • Baby Tracker: Perfect for young parents and childcare providers to track and share baby feeding and sleep schedules between multiple users. What I love about this app is that my husband and I will each get a notification throughout the day when our nanny logs our son’s activity.
  • Apple Podcasts: I am truly a life-long learner. I adore exploring new skills and soaking up random bits of information (preferably while multi-tasking walking the dogs or cleaning the house), which is why podcasts are my jam! In addition to various marketing-related and L&D podcasts, my two current favorites are:
    • Office Ladies: Perfect for fellow fans of The Office, Angela Kinsey and Jenna Fischer (Pam) reveal behind-the-scenes details from each episode. It’s so interesting! Fun Fact: My husband and I have watched every season at least ten times. It’s the perfect light-hearted wind-down show to end each day.
    • Good to Be Home: Entrepreneur husband and wife duo Mika and Russ Perry cover topics on parenting, marriage, and running successful businesses. Their voices are made for “radio” and their advice is incredibly sound.
  • Photos: So I can scroll for hours looking back on photos and videos of our happy boy (and I do!). If you have an iPhone, try this fun trick — go to Albums > People > select a person > press Play. Your phone with automatically create a movie with a sampling of media including photos and videos featuring the person you selected. Memory lane has never been sweeter!

About the Author