Meet Jessica Jacobs

Jessica is an educator, artist, designer and entrepreneur. She is an Assistant Professor in the Business & Entrepreneurship Department at Columbia College Chicago where she teaches classes in design management, visual arts management, project management, self-management and freelancing, and information management. Jessica’s cross-disciplinary scholarship and professional endeavors explore integrating both business and art knowledge to help artists and designers succeed.


If you had to change careers what would you want to do?
I would be some sort of scientist. I like the analytical, procedural nature of science, yet it requires creativity and imagination. However, in middle school we took a career test that said I should be a watch repairman. So there’s always that.

Have you ever stolen anything?
I hope not. I have an overdeveloped sense of right and wrong (INFJ, hello!). However, I almost stole something once. There was a small crappy bookstore/office supply store/religious memorabilia store in the small Wisconsin town where I grew up. As a budding geek with lots of pen pals (it’s either that or alcohol in a small town), that store was the only place where you could get cool pencils, erasers and stickers. Once, my sister and I were in there, bought some pencils, and left. Halfway down the street, my 6-year-old sister says “Whoops” and holds out one of those retractable erasers (so cool, right?) that she forgot to pay for. Being the responsible 11-year-old, I made us turn around and march back in there and tell them we forgot to pay. The thing is, the store owners were annoyed with us! No remarks on how we did the right thing by coming back! So while I was still a budding geek, I then developed a wicked self-righteous streak.

Who do you admire?
Someone asked me this question very recently, and I was stumped. It was not a question that I ever really actively thought about. Yet the answer to it can tell you a lot about you and your values. A couple of days later, I was reading an article about the author Margaret Atwood, and I thought, yes, Margaret Atwood! I admire her! For her willingness to continually push herself to try new things. To not rest on her substantial laurels and be afraid to fail. And also to take a stand on what she believes in. In short, she puts herself out there.

What do you hate?
I hate it when people don’t consider someone else’s perspective—when they lack empathy. The world would be a better place if we all cultivated their empathic instincts.

What do you suck at?
I suck at going with the flow and being in the moment. I am a planner, a thinker, an observer, basically a neurotic bundle of awareness. It makes you a good artist and teacher, but controlling the anxiety, not so much.

If you could fire anyone in the world, who would you fire?
Well, this is a pretty obvious choice right now, but I would definitely fire Donald Trump.

What new thing have you learned lately?
Recently, I have been so busy and overwhelmed with work and life that I haven’t had my usual time to properly plan and stress about everything. As such, I’ve said “Yes” to things I might not have in the past, simply because I didn’t have time to think of a reason to say “No.” And you know what? Those things were great opportunities, and I did a good job with them. Now that I’ve passed the dreaded 40  year old milestone (yikes), I think I feel like I might finally know what I’m doing.

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Photo Credit: Jamie Kelter Davis Photography