Next up in the Women Inspire Women series – Meet Jessica! I promise I was not intentional about choosing women with names beginning with the letter ‘J,’ but it just so happened to turnout that way for these first three. Jess and I met thanks to Twitter (true story) when we were early adopters of the platform and were equally nerdy in our involvement in social media club-type things. When we first met in real life at Starbucks in the Loop, we told our significant others that we were meeting our ‘Twitter friend.’ Then, not quite as normal sounding as meeting someone via social media may be today. Ha! We instantly hit it off and knew that we had a special friendship forming. We ended up in marketing classes together in grad school, consistently dreaming up business plans and new ideas (still to this day) and have worked together on another mutual friend’s wedding, Jess and her husband as the videographers, me as the planner.
Today, there’s a group of five of us (who all met in similar ways) who share in daily and weekly wisdom, latest podcast favorites and so much truth via one very amusing string of group text messages. Jess and her husband moved to Kansas City, but I’m still rooting for a day when they come back home. They are the biggest Cardinals fans you will ever meet, after all. 😉 Jess is an inspiration to me in the way that she manages motherhood, corporate life and never-ending passions with side hustles. She does it with such grace, but she’s also so real in all of her endeavors, providing constant reminders of what’s most important along the way. Now I’ll let her share more of who she is and her story. Enjoy!
Name: Jessica Pryor
Company: Wife/Mom (favorite hustle), Wedstory Films (side hustle) and Cerner Corporation (full hustle)
Title: Owner and Director at Wedstory Films and Senior Marketing Partner at Cerner
Currently Located: Kansas City, Missouri
Photos by Alex Marie Photo Co.
Describe yourself in 3 words:
Survey says: Optimistic, ambitious, transparent (special thanks to all the family and friends that participated in my poll asking for three words to describe me!)
Describe your business and what you do:
I’m a data-obsessed strategic marketer trying to juggle family, corporate life and entrepreneurial passions.
I own a wedding video business tailored to couples wishing to capture their most memorable day via a trendy, timeless highlight video. The business is a fun creative outlet that allows me to work alongside my husband. We love working with our soon-to-be-married couples, look forward to the creative process behind designing videos and thoroughly enjoy date day out when shooting weddings. My favorite role within the business is easily the role of entrepreneur and business developer. My husband is the pro behind the camera lens, and we work together on the story-boarding and editing process. We just recently launched a complete redesign of the business, and to celebrate, we’re giving away a few 2019 wedding video packages!
Additionally, I dabble in business coaching, mainly focusing on writing business plans and strategic marketing consulting for small businesses.
In my full hustle gig, I’m in charge of creating and implementing a revenue-driven integrated marketing strategy and brand campaign for specific product segments. Some of what I do includes creating the marketing strategy and plan, controlling the budget, owning the brand’s message and support the sales cycle. It’s always fun to see a fully integrated campaign come together to include successful elements of PR, brand, social, digital marketing and sales journey mapping.
How did you start in this field?
I guess you can say I’ve known what I wanted to do for a very, very long time.
My husband and I have dabbled in videography since a young age. When dating, we even directed a few of our own funny videos. I even went through a phase where I’d shoot snowboarding videos when hitting the Hidden Valley hills. By the time we were married, we had friends coming to us asking for us to create wedding videos.
I started marketing myself as a marketer at age 12, literally. I started working on the business and marketing plans of whoever would let me… and it just stuck. Personal brand is everything!
Did you know that this was something you always wanted to do?
Absolutely! I’ve been obsessed with marketing and entrepreneurship since a young age. As a kid, I turned everything into a business. The wet bar in my parents’ basement? I turned that into a restaurant with menus and all. I charged my parents and their friends for meals they ordered from me. Our VHS collection? I put stickers on all of the cases and charged my parents $0.25 for each movie they rented. I kept a check-out log an all! My 250 sq. ft. playroom? Turned that bad boy into a dance studio and dance supply store filled with tons of costumes, pom poms and dance shoes from my many years of dancing. I took that “business” a step further, emptying out my Mall Madness and Monopoly games to fill purses with “credit cards” and “cash” so that when friends came over, we could play legit store! During Halloween, I turned my brother’s bedroom into a haunted house attraction and would charge my parents to walk through it. The list goes on-and-on.
Then, by the time I was 14, I was gearing up to start my first business full of customers that weren’t just friends and family. At age 15, I was running My Sister’s Closet.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
As long as I always have time for a passion project (wedding videos, strategic business consulting), family and a full-time job… I envision that my life in five years will look similar to my life now + the addition of one kid! We have baby #2 due later this year!
What has been a dream job that you have had since you were a little girl?
I would love to work for the St. Louis Cardinals. I’m a big fan of baseball, so reporting to work at Busch Stadium 5-days a week would be an absolute dream. And an added bonus to that kind of a job is that it would keep me grounded in the Midwest, close to family.
In what ways do you see yourself inspiring other women?
Through conversation and encouragement. I am a big believer in surrounding ourselves with people we want to learn from. Surrounding ourselves with people different from us forces us to have thought-provoking conversations and pushes our limited knowledge. Those conversations and encouragements are pivotal to women feeling comfortable working hard, achieving goals and making positive changes. Sometimes, all it takes is a genuine question or a dash of encouragement from an outsider for a woman to take the next step to achieve her dream. I love being there for others, and hope that I can always offer that kind of support to other women.
Who has been the biggest inspiration to you?
This one is easy — my mom and dad both!
I don’t give her enough praise, but my mom did and still does it all. She was my biggest supporter, critic, encourager, opportunity provider and challenger. She sacrificed so much to make sure my brother and I had every opportunity to pursue what made us truly happy. We all need a female to latch onto as we navigate adulthood, and my mom has definitely been that for me, too.
And my dad, he’s the definition of a hard/smart worker. Without him, I don’t think I’d see and understand entrepreneurial opportunities the way I do. He came from nothing, and built a beautiful life through hard work masked as an entrepreneur. He also taught me the value of a dollar and the importance of a debt-free personal finance plan. Thanks to him, personal finance is a huge hobby of mine.
If you could have coffee/tea/lunch/happy hour with one of your life role models, who would it be and where?
Barbara Bush. We’d probably go to a super posh and preppy bar so I could sip on wine while she savors her favorite bourbon. Ever since I read her biography as a kid, I’ve been obsessed with the former First Lady. The way she balances sophistication and assertive, opinionated thoughts makes me think I’d thoroughly enjoy a long conversation with her.
What are 3 of your current favorite things (books, podcasts, music, beauty products, etc.)?
Oh my goodness, can we please enter the 100% no judgement zone before I answer?
1. A$AP Rocky’s new album Testing has taken over my Spotify the past week.
2. It’s not brand new, but ChooseFI is my newest podcast obsession. Though the ideas are a bit extreme for me at times, the concept of financial independence at a young age is an area that tickles my finance-obsessed part of the brain. I’ve gleaned a few solid pieces of financial advice that encouraged me to research the topics more.
3. If you’re a fan of baseball and enjoy geeking-out over the science and stats behind the sport, you’ve got to watch my most recent Netflix obsession — Fastball. The movie came out in 2016, so I’ll admit I’m slow to the plate on this gem, but I promise it’s worth at least a couple of watches.
Here are all of the platforms where you can find Jess and see more of her daily life, her adorable family and her side hustles:
I hope you had fun getting to know Jess! Getting married (or know someone who is?) soon? Checkout Wedstory Films, and don’t miss out on the opportunity to potentially win a free wedding highlight package in 2019!
I can’t wait to continue to introduce you to more fabulous, inspiring, empowering women in the weeks to come!
PS – Know someone who would be great to feature as an empowering women? Contact me HERE, and let me know! I’d love to contact her and learn more!