Over the past few years, digital agency Jess3 has received an increasing amount of notice for its creative implementations of interactive media. The agency helped an astronaut check in to foursquare from outer space, created a Firefox plug-in that turned all mentions of BP into dark pictures of dripping oil, and built social media convention hubs for C-SPAN back in 2008 when Twitter was just some crazy new fad.
The creative visionary behind the Washington, D.C.-based company is founder and CEO Jesse Thomas. But the operational energy behind the venture is president and COO Leslie Bradshaw. Under Thomas and Bradshaw, the company has grown to 15 employees, dozens of freelancers, and a long list of top-shelf clients like Nike, Samsung, National Geographic, and even Facebook and Google.
Bradshaw cut her teeth in new media and social engagement at various Washington, D.C. stalwarts, including C-SPAN, the National Journal, and the McLaughlin Group TV show. She fell into the space while working for a company that needed her to monitor what was going on in Facebook. But these were the days when only people with .edu email addresses could sign up. So Bradshaw, as a newly minted college grad, who signed up for the network just the year before, became their way in.
Bradshaw also comes from an entrepreneurial background. She grew up on a farm in Oregon and helped her family start a vineyard that she continues to help run. According to Bradshaw, women in tech have a distinct advantage. "People often think of technology as a male industry because most of the inventors behind a lot of these tools happen to be men," she says. "However, women are built to be very social, and the way we use [the emerging technologies] is very, very effective…. Women especially tend to be good at organizing, communicating, and being inclusive—those things are what social media and digital technology are all about."