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Get Out of Your Head

There is nothing more empowering than working closely with a group of women towards a common goal. There’s always someone to lean on and get some much-needed encouragement from.  


While it’s empowering, it has also been intimidating at times. Over the past three months, I have second-guessed myself or sometimes felt like I could never compare to my teammates. And to top it off, I’m the youngest of the pack. Being the youngest isn’t new to me, however. In my family, I am the baby with two older sisters, I was the youngest in my graduating class in high school, and now, I am the youngest on the BrandJRNY team.  

5/6 of the Spring team in front of the riverfront murals. | Source: Hannah Williams, Brand Manager

Working with BrandJRNY is sink or swim. This spring semester is all about implementation, which means things move quickly. I’ve learned that in a fast-paced work environment, there is no time for negative thinking. Arriving in Point Pleasant for the first time was when reality set in for me. I realized that my internal conflict didn’t matter because this project isn’t about me; it’s about the community.


Point Pleasant Brand Launch at the Mason County Board of Education Building on March 3. | Source: Jessann Thompson

As we worked our way through our packed itinerary, I met some incredible people that reminded me that I was still in West Virginia. I was still home, just in a new part of it. Visiting parts of the community that previously I had only seen in pictures, felt like it had all come full circle. After reflecting on the experience I had in Point Pleasant, and the past few months working as the creative director for BrandJRNY, I have put together some tips that I found helpful for getting myself out of a rut.

1. Leave it at the door

This is one of my favorite rules to live by (thanks to an amazing teacher I had growing up). When I am walking into class, a meeting, or even my job, I think about whatever I am struggling with and tell myself that I will come back to it when I am done with what I am working on. This increases my productivity and overall attitude. Many times, I even forget about what I’m “leaving at the door.”

2. It’s okay to ask for help

Dr. Colistra named me the creative director because she saw the opportunity for growth. I’m often too proud to ask for help and try to figure things out on my own, but in the long run, that’s just selfish. Projects take way longer to finish, and honestly, Adobe Indesign is not an easy program to try and find your way around. My brand manager, Hannah Williams, has so much talent and experience with design, so Dr. Colistra knew that I would gain even more experience by learning from her.

3. Get out of your head

If you know me, you know that I get nervous sometimes. I always think I am doing something wrong or not doing my best. Sometimes that works out well because it pushes me to work harder, but most of the time, it creates a lot of unnecessary stress. By grounding myself and thinking that it’s really not that deep, the quality of my work is so much better.


It has definitely been a season of growth for me lately because of what I get to do in BrandJRNY, and I am so excited to see the end result!


My name is Jessann Thompson, and I am the creative director for BrandJRNY’s Point Pleasant project. I’m a Martinsburg, WV-native, and soon-to-be 20-year-old college graduate. Follow me to get a closer look at my life and the work that we are doing to #BrandPointPleasant – @jessannthompson



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Housed at the WVU Media Innovation Center, BrandJRNY is a community branding initiative that is a grant-funded collaboration between the American Electric Power Foundation and WVU Reed College of Media.

The Initiative was previously funded by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation for our three pilot projects.

Original website designed by Mariah Elliott, under the direction of PI and Director Dr. Rita Colistra.

Photos and content may not be used without written permission by contacting brandjrny@gmail.com.

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