Journeys with JA

Our shared experiences at Jespersen & Associates, our journeys if you will, have most always been good, even noble at times. No doubt some could have been better but they all have one thing in common: The work and the people we are fortunate to work with continue to challenge, reward, and surprise us.

Elizabeth DeJure Wood: Designer, Illustrator, Occasional Plumber

Our first office in Boston was on the top floor of an old warehouse on Congress Street in the Fort Point neighborhood. Our loft space had brick walls, massive wood beams, factory wood floors, and a steam heating system that constantly thumped, clanged, hissed, and made the office boiling hot or bitterly cold during the winter. That’s all gone now, of course, replaced by several luxury condo developments.

Our last winter in the building, on one of the colder mornings in February, I went down the hall to the shared bathroom to get more water for the coffee maker. Just outside the bathroom, a rickety ladder had been set up. At the top, a woman, not dressed as a plumber, was fiddling with some valves. After some nervous laughter, and a grunt as the release valve opened, you could hear the steam flowing once again. “There,” said the woman, somewhat surprised, “I think it might get better now.”

It was Elizabeth, and I learned that she’d been asked to teach a class that day in the space across the hall from us, rented out by a digital design learning company. The classroom, like our office, was freezing, and Elizabeth, on her first assignment as a teacher, had taken it upon herself to follow the pipes from the cold radiator in her space, down the hall, along the ceiling, to the shutoff valves at the back.

I have great respect for anyone who can pull off something they have never done before and I couldn’t help but ask what it was she did, normally, when not at the top of an old ladder.

Turns out she was a designer. Not only that, she was a conceptual designer, not afraid to solve visual problems with creative solutions that had not been tried before. As a small creative agency, we rely on our connections to a wide-ranging pool of freelance writers, designers, and editors. Naturally, we are always on the lookout for new talent. We’ve worked with Elizabeth ever since that day.

People like Elizabeth have helped JA craft an authentic and modern voice in a field that is often mired in mediocrity and me-too work.

If you’d like to learn more about Elizabeth and her work, I hope you will read her new interview by etymnews, an emerging feminist news website.

You can also visit Elizabeth’s professional website and portfolio here.







New UI CME Program Launch

Is it weird to say that urinary incontinence is a topic near and dear to my heart? Probably. But it doesn’t make it any less true.

Perhaps it’s because I’m pregnant with my third child and frequenting bathrooms all too often. But knowing that so many women suffer from UI symptoms at some point in their lives and don’t talk to their clinicians about it makes me sad. When the opportunity arose to do a program educating clinicians about how important it is to start a conversation about UI with their patients, we at JA jumped on it. The program launched last month, and we hope clinicians take the minute or two to ask their patients about it as a result. After all, the first step toward improving a patient’s quality of life might just be to start a conversation.

Surfing to the March

"You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf."

What do you do when things go wrong; when the best laid plans are turned upside down? As soon as the Women’s March in Washington was announced, Carrie, Caitlin and I excitedly made plans to go. Details quickly fell into place—Carrie’s mom and a friend were going, so we decided to make it a party of five, and take a round-trip Rally Bus from Stamford.

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Racing our Concrete Canoe

“Sign up on the bulletin board!” shouted the guy walking down a corridor in Riggs Hall, waving a flyer at me.  I was a junior civil engineering major at Clemson University, and I was hooked.  Build and race a concrete canoe in competition with my classmates?  Like many of the opportunities in my life, this one was just too tempting to pass up.  For Civil Engineering types, the event, born out of intramural races held in the 60s, is the equivalent of the America’s Cup.

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Photos: Heather Houston

It’s a special occasion when everyone from JA is under one roof, and to celebrate we kicked off the holidays with a party/cooking class at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, just a few blocks from our office.

With family and friends in tow, and under the expert (and patient) tutelage of our chef and instructor Jerrod Perry, we peeled, diced, toasted, roasted, sautéed, seared, deglazed, puréed, caramelized, stir-fried, baked, marinated and mashed our way through an impressive menu:

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Photo: Mark Jespersen

What makes a good story? Two things come to mind: a topic that interests me and writing that's so good, I can’t help but read, listen, or watch all the way to the end, no matter how long it takes.

In advertising, you can write and say just about anything you want. People understand what you are hinting at, or trying to sell. And for years I enjoyed that freedom, winning awards for clever headlines that made people think, laugh, and buy all kinds of stuff.

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Welcome to Journeys with JA

At JA we treasure inspiring and unique stories, whether we’re the storytellers or the audience. Every day, our work and the people we work with provide challenges, rewards, and surprises. We look forward to sharing some of our stories with you here. Thanks for joining us.