“Make plans but don’t be afraid to change them”

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Plan but don’t be afraid to change them. It only comes with jobs and regions so don’t let it discourage or frustrate you. You will learn, evaluate and then you will make new plans.


As Part of our series about “There are five things you need to be a highly effective leader in times of turmoil”, We are delighted with the interview with Jessica Latham.

Jessica Latham has accumulated more than 15 years of event and entrepreneurial experience. He began his career in public relations at PMK-HBH before moving into the world of event production. From 2004-2011, Jessica oversaw special events at the Vanity Fair, including the brand’s legendary Oscar campaign. During his tenure at the magazine, Jess created the VF Summer Guide, which gained a huge following, including coverage of the New York Times. In 2011, Jess launched Social Studies Productions, a physical event production company with a prominent client portfolio. In the fall of 2019, he co-founded Social education With Venture Capitalist Amy Griffin. Social Studies is the destination to go for everything from entertainment to rental party kits and much more. He is also an Academy Award winning film producer. Jess currently serves on The Aspen Film Board of Trustees.


Thank you so much for your time! I know you are a very busy person. Our readers would love to “know you” a little better. Can you tell us something about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

I grew up in Amarillo, Texas and attended college at the University of Texas at Austin. I started my career in public relations before moving into the world of event production, where I created countless celebrity charitable events, brand launches and premieres for clients in entertainment, philanthropy and fashion. From 2004-2011, I oversaw special events at Vanity Fair, including the brand’s legendary Oscar campaign. During my tenure there, I created the VF Summer Guide. My time at Vanity Fair was a final training ground, not only from the point of view of an event but also related to style, fashion and culture. Being immersed in Zeitgeist was a part of the job and I really developed a love and passion for it. In 2019, I co-founded Social Studies with Amy Griffin, a native of Arizona.

Can you share a story about the funny mistake you made when you first started? Can you tell us what you learned from it or ‘who took it away’?

In my first job working in celebrity public relations, I was tasked with taking my client to the red carpet. My boss told me to announce the client to the photographers on the red carpet before he went downstairs so they could know who was coming. When I saw her pull the car, I announced in a great fashion, “Forgive me, forgive me, so come to me!” All the photographers looked at me like crazy. When the next celebrity came and the preacher just got up and quietly mentioned who was coming, I realized it didn’t have to be the Union State address. I was very embarrassed because it was clear that I was young and green. But the real lesson was “just jump” – you don’t have to know it all and it’s okay to figure it out as soon as you go some distance.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there someone you are grateful for who helped take you where you are? Can you share a story?

My husband Ryan. He is like a secret weapon of social studies. Although he is busy with his own career and does not have his official position in the company, he is my rock and unwavering advisor and trustworthy. Last year was a ride and he worked strategically right next to me, pitching wherever or need to be and lifting heavily – quite literally with our Marketing Road Tour – nothing in return … just because he trusts me and the company.

Also, my co-founders Amy Griffin and her husband John. Because of them there have been many wonderful opportunities in my life, and we would not be here without them.

Wide Research Suggests that “purpose driven business” is more successful in many cases. When your company started, what was its vision, what was its purpose?

Much more than what is on the social study table. We have come to help people for the benefit of the community and to create lifelong memories. Special events create the timeline of our lives. And we’re here to help people celebrate them, without stress. As a long-time event planner, I was frustrated by the lack of easy, affordable, and high-quality party rentals, especially for small to medium-sized events. I thought, why isn’t there a company where I can order everything I need, pre-curated … a one-stop shop if you want. Social Studies was established to give anyone, regardless of experience, the ability to plan the perfect event seamlessly without guessing.

Thank you for all that. Now let us come to the main focus of our discussion. Can you share a story with our readers from your own experience about leading your team through uncertain or difficult times?

It is important to be positive and definitely strong, but it is equally important to be truthful and direct. Although we are very focused on social studies on an enthusiastic and optimistic culture, it is important not to sugarcoat – we are a small but strong team and I always say, “No one is going to do it for us.” Difficult times often call for tough decisions and I think it’s important to be decisive and confident in those decisions. It is very important to focus and celebrate on winning both big and small.

Have you ever considered giving up? Where did you get the inspiration to continue through your challenges? Do you maintain your drive?

No. Leaving the hull is not an option. A lot of people have invested and trusted me to take care of me. And I truly believe in ideas, teams and myself. Time can definitely be tough. Creating a company is harder than I imagined. But when it gets hard to walk, I think about my team and those behind me and lift myself up.

What is the most important role of a leader in challenging times?

Being elastic. You have to get up and show up every day … and show your team the way. Put on your own oxygen mask first so you can stay calm, stable and confident. Find out how you can support your team so they stay motivated.

When the future seems so uncertain, what is the best way to boost morale? What can a leader do to inspire, motivate, and engage their team?

Find out how to connect as a human, not just a colleague. Do fun things after work and organize some friendly competitions.

What is the best way to communicate solid news to one’s team and customers?

Including truth and direct empathy for the other person’s situation.

How can a leader plan when the future is so unpredictable?

Plan but don’t be afraid to change them. It only comes with jobs and regions so don’t let it discourage or frustrate you. You learn, evaluate and then you make new plans.

Is there a “number one policy” that can help guide a company through the ups and downs of turbulent times?

Be flexible. You must learn and adjust to the way you go.

Can you share 3 or 4 of the most common mistakes you see in doing other business in difficult times? What should one remember to avoid it?

  1. Not accepting the reality. You need to adjust decisively and quickly.
  2. Spending too much time with excuses and guilt. You have to be solution oriented.
  3. Lack of connection. You must communicate and stay connected with your staff.
  4. Burn completely. It’s a marathon, not a race. Take care of yourself and your staff, especially to avoid burnout during difficult times.

Creating new business, increasing your profits, or at least maintaining your financial stability can be challenging at good times, even in turbulent times. Can you share some of the strategies you use to move forward and not lose growth traction during a difficult economy?

Innovation has been number 1 for us. How can we meet the current need, not the previously existing need? How do we message and talk to our customers differently based on the current situation? Where can we find opportunities for our products and possibly new uses that we never even dreamed of before? And equally important, where can we be cut and lean at the same time?

Here is the initial question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things a business leader needs to lead effectively in uncertain and turbulent times?

  1. Be resilient and show the way
  2. Be honest and transparent
  3. Be decisive but be flexible
  4. Keep in touch
  5. Practice empathy

Can you give us your favorite “life lesson quote”? How can you share if it was relevant to you in your life?

“Your little game doesn’t serve the world.” – Marianne Williamson. I constantly remind my colleagues to dream big.

How can our readers follow your work?

You can follow me LinkedIn Or Instagram, And on Social Studies Instagram.

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

Tasnimul Rafi
Tasnimul Rafihttps://rawmarketer.com
Chief Executive Officer of Raw marketer, Online editor, Author

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