July 14th, 2021 By Craig Smith
Camp Jack—our free, virtual, creative bootcamp—returns this summer for its second session, and we couldn’t be more excited. Camp Jack is all about discovery. It’s for anyone curious about creating brand experiences and looking for a place to start. To kick things off, Zach DeLuca, our senior copywriter, sat down with two former Campers—and new Jack Morton hires—who got their start at Camp Jack. Radel Huley is an associate copywriter at our Chicago office, and Joy Antwi is a content coordinator in San Francisco. Both joined us in the virtual communal kitchen to share learnings from Camp Jack, how they found their creative communities and their go-to karaoke tunes.
Welcome, Joy and Radel. The first question is an easy one. What made you want to join Camp Jack?
Radel: I was working at an agency in Atlanta, but not in a creative role. I was in accounting, but I wanted to do more. One of the creative directors was sweet and supportive. She sent me a Camp Jack post on LinkedIn and said, “This made me think of you.” And I just went for it.
Joy: At the time, I was looking for a job. My undergrad background was in event public relations, and I worked in music PR, so Camp Jack looked like a great way to explore that path and sharpen those skills.
It sounds like you both connected with the creative industry. Did you always think of yourselves as creative people? Were you making art, doing fun side projects, etc.?
Joy: Yeah, before starting Camp Jack, I explored exhibition design for art galleries. I was working on a project in my neighborhood when the pandemic started. It was a very tactile thing, but we had to turn it into a virtual experience. That opened up my creativity around what an experience could be. And now, that’s my jam.
Radel: I’ve always been a creative person; I write poetry. I make music videos for my musician friends and create bumpers for local film festivals.
Which course was your favorite? Was there a particular instructor who resonated?
Radel: I loved the Art + Copy class with Richard Shideler and Liz Ha. What resonated with me was the idea that “you have to kill your babies.” That’s part of the creative process. You’re going to have a lot of good ideas and you’re not going be able to make them, but you have to save them for another time. It inspired me to start writing my ideas down in a journal, because who knows when I’ll need them.
Joy: For me, it was the Art of the Pitch session. I think it built on all the things we had learned up to that point. And that’s an area where I was struggling and needed support—how to share my story or my idea in a way where people can connect to it. I got everything that I needed from that course, and it was fun.
I’m glad you touched on this, because it’s a big part of what we want Camp Jack to provide. Advertising and brand experience is a big world, and the key is finding the path that aligns with who you are and what you want to do, and it sounds like Camp Jack helped you figure that out—or at least showed you the potential.
Radel: I keep coming back to the conversations with Richard and Liz. That session helped me realize that I’m probably not a strategy person. It was the words that excited me the most.
Joy: Yes! I realized how important storytelling is to the experience, and that’s a role that I could play. I have a million ideas buzzing in my head, and thinking about things in terms of storytelling helped me realize what I wanted to do.
Once you had a sense of your strengths and interests, how did the Mentorship Program help you further those skills?
Joy: My mentorship with Shelley–Queen Shelley–was incredible! (author’s note: Shelley Elkins is Jack Morton’s Global Chief Creative Officer). She helped me understand that you’re not just creating something. You’re creating emotion, a story to be heard and felt, and design elements should tie to that. A space should make you feel something. So yeah, she enlightened me.
Radel: For me, it was connecting with you, Zach. I was in this place for a long time where I kept thinking, “No, you can’t do this, this is for professionals, and you’re not a professional.” And then I talked to you one day and you looked at my work. Your response was, “You’re already doing the work. You can do this.” That was so encouraging.
That’s so good to hear. I had great mentors, so I’m glad I could pass that on. Was there anything about the creative process or the business in general that surprised you?
Radel: I was surprised by the pitch process. The turnaround is quick with a lot of hours packed in. There is reordering and shuffling and late nights eating corn on the cob while you’re on camera talking about slides and trying to make something good.
Joy: I would say I learned about the importance of collaboration. I was used to working with a small group or doing freelance work on my own. Seeing how tasks get delegated within teams is eye-opening. And the way that other peoples’ insights and contributions can make something great. I’m realizing, “Wow, you don’t have to try to do it all!”
It sounds like you both gained some valuable perspectives from Camp Jack. What would you say to someone who’s starting out, and needs encouragement?
Joy: Impostor syndrome is a tool. One you don’t have to use if you don’t want to. I think you should be empowered by your experience, your story, your passions, and allow that to drive the direction you take, especially in your career.
Radel: It’s a cliché, but just do it. Leap. The worst thing that can happen is you fail—your work doesn’t get accepted, you don’t get the job, whatever. But that’s OK! Keep making stuff. My entire world changed because I did Camp Jack. I am a whole new person. I’m in a whole new place, and I’m living a better life. I am glad that I took that chance.
Let’s close things out with a wild card question. Steve Mooney, our Managing Director in Boston, loves to ask new hires this. If you could choose a superpower: what would it be?
Radel: Shapeshifter. That way, I could have whatever power I wanted by shapeshifting into a different superhero.
Joy: I’d have to say mindreading. Being able to read people’s real feelings and insights. I guess I like to eavesdrop…
Steve also likes to ask people to sing: Go-to karaoke song, go!
Joy: “What’s Up” by 4 Non Blondes
Radel: “Listen” by Beyonce
I’m not crying. You’re crying. Thank you both so much!
Interested in being a part of Camp Jack this summer? Sign up here: www.camp-jack.com