BASED IN: CALIFORNIA
A California-native, Jessi Burrone, spends her weekdays as an editorial assistant for LaurenConrad.com and her weekends snapping whimsical photos of weddings, portraits, and family moments. Jessi’s success in landing a full-time job out of college is a result of the hard work and determination she put into following her passion, her willingness to try new things, and the generous support of female mentors along the way. Work life aside, she strives to inspire and give back to others through programs, such as YoungLives, an organization focused on mentoring and nourishing the lives of young women. As she knows the impact of having a supportive mentor, Jessi is determined to positively influence others through her creative work and her philosophy of living a happy, uplifting life. It is her desire for capturing memories that drives her career in photography and blogging today. Jessi believes that all moments, difficult and positive hold value in one’s journey towards success.
Your job came out of an internship you did in college, what are the best qualities an intern can have and/or abilities they can show to prove their potential as an employee?
In my opinion internships and volunteer work are crucial to getting a job after college. Internships are vital to learning what you want (or don’t want!) out of a future career too! You’re helping the company but you’re also allowing yourself to grow and develop necessary skills for your future. The best qualities that an intern can posses are curiosity, drive, and being able to take initiative to start a project independently or get ahead. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and go the extra mile! It really shows that you’re interested and willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done.
How do you balance your passion and professional work within photography and your full-time job?
Balance is something that I’ve definitely had to learn since starting my job full-time. Luckily in my current position I am able to combine my love for writing and photography (the blogging world is good for that!). If your passion and profession don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand, I recommend regularly partaking in your passion or favorite hobby. Having a full-time job doesn’t mean putting your passion on the back burner. Put in the hours, even if that means burning the midnight oil once your regular workday is over. If you want it badly enough, you’ll do whatever it takes to turn your dreams into reality (and it’s absolutely possible!).
What is the best part of your job?
Oh gosh, how do I pick one best part?! If I had to choose, I would say that the best part about my job is working with creative, inspiring, and encouraging girl bosses. Our office is filled with humble, hardworking women. I feel truly lucky to have found a workplace where everyone is constantly uplifted and given constructive criticism when necessary. As women we need to recognize that collaboration is so much more important than constantly competing with one another.
Mentors have had a huge impact on your career/life, female mentors specifically. In what ways have these females supported and influenced you?
It all started with my mom. For as long as I can remember, my mom has always told me that I can be whatever I want to be and go wherever I want to go. When I got to college there were two female professors that stuck out and made a big impact on my career path. They mentored me throughout my time at Cal State Fullerton and I still feel comfortable emailing or calling them for advice. I encourage anyone reading this to establish relationships with people that you admire, even if it means putting yourself out there!
What support can female entrepreneurs also find from the men in their life?
I have three important men in my life: my dad, my husband, and my little brother. I feel so comfortable reaching out to each one of them whenever I’m at a crossroads or even stumped with a blog post that I’m trying to write. Surprisingly each one of them isn’t afraid to tap into their emotional or sensitive side - something that I’m really appreciative of when I’m having a rough day or just need to vent. My husband is definitely my rock and helps me achieve my goals. I guess what I’m trying to say is that men can offer the same kind of support and reassurance that women can, you just have to ask!
What are some steps young professionals can take towards finding a mentor?
Take a look around your workplace or school campus. Is there someone who’s work you admire or career that you’d like to have one day? My advice would be to introduce yourself. That might come in the form of physically shaking hands or even sending a polite introductory email. Let them know that you admire them and ask them what advice they would give to someone pursuing that same field. You never know what kind of answers you might get!
Putting energy into your career is powerful, why should people also focus on giving back?
There are few things more rewarding than giving back. Finding a cause to support should be just as important as finding the right job. So many hours of the day are spent bettering ourselves or focusing on what will help us climb the ladder to success, so taking time to lend a helping hand can do a body (and community!) good. Not to mention there are so many ways to help out right in your own backyard. Pick a cause that you’re passionate about (animals, children, the environment, etc.) and do a simple Google search to see what you can find in your area.
What should future entrepreneurs, especially in the creative industry, consider early on?
Consider the amount of time and energy it is going to take to make your dreams a reality. For me it all began by earning my degree and spending countless hours volunteering and interning. While some days were harder than others, it was worth it to finally have a resumé I could be proud of. Companies require so much experience before you can even get hired nowadays! Find what sets you apart and spend time investing in it.
How do you think women could benefit by emphasizing collaboration rather than competition?
So much success could come from more collaboration and less competition! Realistically we all just want to be happy and successful. The quickest way to get there? Help each other out! Use your networking and connections to build each other up. To me, collaboration makes life so much more bright and colorful. In the creative industry everyone brings their own unique flair and when it all comes together, magic happens!
Lastly, what is the best outlook a young professional can have towards the future?
The best outlook a young professional can have towards the future is an optimistic one! Stay open to new opportunities and always be willing to learn and grow. I recommend staying organized and focused on what needs to be done though too! I consider myself a pretty organized person and love having my planner on hand. Writing down a daily to-do list of things that I need to accomplish has helped me immensely and I encourage everyone to do the same. I’m sure there are plenty of bills I wouldn’t have paid or meetings I would have missed without my handy dandy planner, haha. We can’t always predict where our career paths will take us, but we can do everything in our power to be prepared for it!