A career at Brafton can take you a lot of places: Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, even New Zealand. But only one Braftonite can lay claim to the island of Hawaii (that’s the “Big Island”): Senior Writer Jessica Wells.
With five years of content marketing copywriting under her belt, Jess is a certified Brafton veteran, and has witnessed first hand how our little company has evolved right alongside the digital marketing industry.
Catching writing fever
Jess’ journey from journalist to content marketer all started back in the third grade (maybe the fourth grade, memory is a funny thing). A young, impressionable Jess Wells was given an assignment: Write an essay on a sporting event she participated in. The ensuing – and we can only imagine, masterful – coverage of a particular soccer game gave Jess her first taste of the thrill of writing. Taking firsthand experiences and expressing those feelings in the written word – there was nothing else like it. She was hooked, all right.
Chasing that writing dream of hers, Jess majored in Journalism at the University of Northern Illinois and worked as an editor at the student newspaper all four years in college. Upon graduating, she took a job tending bar while searching for her big break and waiting for that golden opportunity to appear.
And that’s when destiny came calling (or, rather, that she came across a Craigslist ad). In the summer of 2013, Jess applied for and was offered a position as a Content Writer on the old Chicago Tech Team (often considered the most gifted and talented team assembled at Brafton, not that I’m biased or anything).
Making a name at Brafton
She remembers those early days as being pretty intense, but also brimming with possibilities to learn more about content marketing, SEO and the tech industry.
“I was a little nervous about writing for tech clients, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise, says Jess. “I was able to learn so much about the industry and about content marketing. It was kind of a trial-by-fire situation, but that just drove me to succeed.”
I was able to learn so much about the industry and about content marketing. It was kind of a trial-by-fire situation, but that just drove me to succeed.
It didn’t take long for Jess to stand out and make a name for herself – good writing will do that around here. She quickly rose through the ranks to become Senior Writer, taking on the most difficult, demanding and high-SME clients around (and that’s really saying something when it comes to the tech industry).
Jess even took on a leading role in Brafton’s mentorship program. She took new writers under her wing and helped them adjust to the unique demands of content marketing copywriting and develop both their SME and their craft as editorial staff members.
The remote Brafton life
What’s possibly most incredible about Jess’ Brafton career is that she’s done it all with some hellish commutes. Although she was living in the Chicago suburbs when she first joined Brafton, she would eventually head to the extreme outskirts of Chicagoland (and that may be generous). She moved to DeKalb, some 60-plus miles away from the city center.
This would prove to be her first, but certainly not last, taste of working as a remote employee. As her commute would be about 2 hours long, she opted to (mostly) work from home. That didn’t stop her from continuing her role as a mentor or staying plugged into the comings and goings of the Chicago office. However, even bigger changes were on the horizon.
Three years after joining Brafton, Jess got the chance to move out west. Way out west, in fact: Hawaii. And when the opportunity to move to Hawaii comes knocking, you don’t turn that down. Jess was thrilled to receive the full support from her managers, department heads and the organization as a whole. Not long after, she pulled up stakes and headed out to the Aloha State, where she has been working remotely ever since.
Home is 4000 miles away
There are some inherent logistical challenges – time differences, volcanoes, etc. – but she makes it work. It’s a small price to pay to live and work in paradise.
“I’m pretty close to the beach. Sometimes when I’m feeling the vibe, I’ll just grab my laptop and walk down to this little cafe that’s on the water and work from there.”
Brafton has always been fantastic to me. Everyone is so supportive and there are so many opportunities to learn and grow professionally.
Working remotely in Hawaii gives her ample time to make the most of island life. She loves to spend her free time snorkeling, paddle boarding, hanging out at the local watering hole or just sitting on the beach and watching the waves.
That doesn’t stop her from pursuing her first love: writing. Journaling has always been a passion of hers, and she also makes sure to devote time to her poetry.
“When I’m not writing, I’m enjoying the local sights in Kona and around the Big Island,” she says. “I feel incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to live here and I try to soak it in as much as I possibly can.”
She may be 4,000 miles away, but Jess is the consummate Braftonian: talented, hardworking and supportive. Those are the very same qualities that she has valued in her co-workers throughout the years.
“Brafton has always been fantastic to me,” Jess says. “Everyone is so supportive and there are so many opportunities to learn and grow professionally. I’m a big Brafton cheerleader.”