Jessica relocated to St. Louis in August of 2014 to pursue two years of service as an AmeriCorps VISTA with the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group, a community development corporation in North City. Prior to this jump into community work, she was a Senior Marketing Manager for Wintrust Financial in Chicago, leading the creation of a comprehensive social and digital media strategy for more than 80 community bank and specialty financing brands.
She received a BA in Advertising and a minor in Studio Art from Oklahoma State University in 2007 and an MSW from the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis with a concentration in Social and Economic Development in 2017. During her time at the Brown School, she participated in the Buder Center for American Indian Studies and the American Indian Student Association, helping plan the Annual Pow Wow.
She completed practicum experiences with both the Grace Hill Settlement House working on the North Corridor Collaborative initiative, and with the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council as a support to the St. Louis Equal Housing and Community Reinvestment Alliance.
Before consulting full time, she served as the Promise Zone Catalyst, a shared position working with both the St. Louis Promise Zone (housed at the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership) and Forward Through Ferguson to ensure collaboration on the 189 Calls to Action from the Ferguson Commission Report. In this role, she helped carryout the first canvass day to collect critical resident feedback in all 25 zip codes of the Promise Zone. This data was used to inform the initial #2039 Action Plan for Forward Through Ferguson. In 2017, she also co-founded Equitable St. Louis, a coalition that advocates for community benefits agreements and equitable development practices. In Spring of 2020, she designed and began teaching the “Equitable Economic Development Practice” master’s-level course at the Brown School of Social Work as an adjunct instructor.
Jessica is a past president of the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group, served as the Curriculum and Alumni Chairs for New Leaders Council St. Louis, and currently serves as Vice President on the Board of Directors for the Institute of Cultural Affairs, a global community development organization based in Chicago. In her spare time, you can find her talking to her neighbors, working on various art and activism projects, biking the riverfront trail and tending to her plot in the 13th Street Community Garden.
Promise Zone Catalyst, St. Louis, MO
A part-time, shared position working with both the St. Louis Promise Zone and Forward Through Ferguson to ensure collaboration on the 189 Calls to Action from the Ferguson Commission Report. Co-Lead for 2017 Canvass Day design & implementation reaching 1200 households in 6 hours with more than 300 full survey responses across a two week time period.
Co-Founder, Equitable St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
Coalition that advocates for community benefits agreements and equitable development practices. Learn more at www.equitablestl.org.
Grace Hill Settlement House / North Corridor Collaborative
Led the rebranding process for the North Corridor Collaborative and helped facilitate the creation of a new logic model for the collaborative.
Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing & Opportunity Council
Drafted the 2017 “Report to the Community” for the St. Louis Equal Housing and Community Reinvestment Alliance, pulling together data gathered from both community members and financial institutions.
Old North St. Louis Restoration Group
Extensive community engagement through leading neighborhood vision sessions, hosting monthly community meetings, community art shows, music festivals, and other special events. Also served as neighborhood farmers market manager.
Senior Marketing Manager for Wintrust Financial in Chicago, leading the creation of a comprehensive social and digital media strategy for more than 80 community bank and specialty financing brands. Additionally served as account lead for niche commercial finance brands such as Tricom Funding, Management Advantage, and First Insurance Funding.
St. Louis Affordable Housing Report Card
With URBNRX Consulting as the lead, Jessica supported the development of the first regional Affordable Housing Report Card for St. Louis City and County in 2021, now housed at www.affordablestl.com. In this role, she led the engagement of stakeholders through 9 focus groups and a series of interviews and supported a series of public presentations. She was also the lead graphic designer for the final report, taking the information gathered through research and distilling it down to easily digestible and relatable content.