Jessica Jackson (G '10)
Cause Consulting Student Takes Classroom Experience and Turns It Into Real World Change
Jessica Moreland Jackson (G'10), alumna of the Master's Program in Public Relations and Corporate Communications, was inspired to start her own consulting business after taking Cause Consulting, the center's signature course that offers a cohort of students an applied learning experience working in small consulting teams to develop and implement communications plans for nonprofit clients.
Jessica registered for the course in August 2009, and for two semesters her team worked with The Fishing School, which provides out-of-school time programming for children in Wards 6 and 7 of Washington, D.C.
"When we started working with The Fishing School, the organization already had established a strong program and had a new facility through ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," explained Jackson. "Our goal was to help them capitalize on their success and opportunities so they could gain even more support and reach more people with their services."
By April 2010, Jackson and her team had helped The Fishing School prepare for the airing of the Extreme Makeover episode by creating content for their micro site, developing materials for "watch parties," conducting press outreach, and reigniting their social media activity.
"Working for nonprofits can be really fulfilling," said Jackson. "It's great to know you're using your skills to support the missions of organizations that are trying to meet needs and often have to do so with limited resources."
According to Jackson, her team continued to see the impact of their efforts even after they stopped working with The Fishing School.
"The organization uses testimonials we collected in their marketing materials and incorporates key messages we developed into their communications. They have also increased their number of social media followers," she said.
A New Career
Before she started the program, Jackson was managing branding and marketing partnerships at a nonprofit in Washington, D.C. Once she had completed her master’s degree at Georgetown, she decided to become an independent consultant and started her own business.
"Cause Consulting inspired me to pursue a consulting career, because it served as a testing ground. It's difficult to make a big transition from a ‘regular’ job to working for yourself if you haven't really done it before," Jackson explained. "Cause Consulting gave me a good sense of what organizations look for in a consultant and it gave me the confidence that I had something to offer."
Meet Jessica Moreland Jackson
Where are you from?
I'm originally from Willow Grove, PA
Where did you get your undergraduate degree?
University of Maryland-College Park
You are now doing consulting full time. What do you like about it? What are the challenges?
Consulting exposes me to lots of different organizations and therefore helps me learn more than I potentially would working for just one organization. The biggest challenge in consulting is the need to find new clients.
Do you feel that your experience in the Cause Consulting class has prepared you to better handle real life communication challenges in the nonprofit sector? If yes, in what way?
Cause Consulting taught me how to not only provide a strategic communications plan, but how to build a plan that is sustainable, even after you've finished working with the client. This is extremely important for the "real world," because so many nonprofits are pursuing their critical missions with very limited resources. It's great to find ways for them to communicate more effectively, in a way that's realistic and scalable.
What would you say to students that are thinking about taking Cause Consulting?
Cause Consulting is a great course for people who want to gain a better understanding of "real life" challenges faced by nonprofits and companies who engage in corporate social responsibility efforts. It also teaches students to provide realistic and applicable solutions to those challenges. It's great to be in a course where you can see some of the results of your work and recommendations.
Jessica Moreland Jackson
Strategic Communications Consultant
Phone number: 212.292.3767