This week, I’m talking with entrepreneur Leah Jones who is the founder of Natiiv Arts & Media. Natiiv Arts & Media provides social media coaching for artists, writers and musicians. She also works with small organizations that want to train their staff on using social media for clients or in the workplace.
Prior to launching Natiiv Arts & Media in January of 2009, Leah worked at Edelman PR as the Digital-Culture Evangelist, one of my favorite job titles. She served on the Strategic Services team and guided research on behalf of brands to understand what is being said online and developed digital strategy based on the findings. Previously, she was the Conversation Analyst (I like this one, too) in the me2revolution—focusing on research and internal communications. She’s also got a degree in chemistry, which underscores Leah’s belief that you don’t have to study communications to learn how to use social media.
Here’s the final part of my Q&A with Leah . . .
Why does Natiiv work exclusively with artists, writers and musicians?
We work primarily with artists, writers and musicians because I wanted to get away from working with large, corporate clients and help individuals. Artists of all stripes need to learn how to market themselves. The focus lately has been on musicians, because the word of mouth among the Chicago music scene has been so strong. I love getting to see people learn these skills and then really take off and succeed on their own. It is incredibly gratifying for me.
However, it isn’t exclusive. We’ve also worked with accountants, clergy, journalists, students and psychics. The door is open.
I love your former title at Edelman PR—”Digital-Culture Evangelist.” Please tell us what you did there.
As the Digital-Culture Evangelist, it was my job to help change the culture of Edelman and try to improve the digital skills of every employee. I was evangelizing culture change. I wrote a weekly email about social media and digital culture, did trainings, brainstormed with client teams and helped write plans and strategy.
How did a nice chemistry major like you end up in a place like this?
It was quite the long and winding road. I never did anything with my degree, other than put it on my desk. I was a residence director at a small college for a couple years, then a waitress and managed a sexual assault hotline. When I moved to Chicago seven years ago, I started working at a study abroad provider and they sent me to work in London for a winter.
While I was in London, I started my blog and got hooked on it. I moved back from London, kept blogging and left the study abroad provider to work at an ice cream parlor. After a year, I quit my job and went to a temp agency. I was placed at Edelman PR as an administrative assistant. The timing was right. Edelman was hiring people because they were bloggers and so I started to volunteer on projects that included blogging, which was my hobby.