Meet Jess Read, Ad Operations Senior Lead at Flipboard, an app that specializes in social media, magazines and news. Read has helped the Ad Council amplify numerous campaigns among Flipboard's readers, who use the service to create curated content streams. We spoke with Read about social good as a growing movement in the corporate world, her favorite social good ad and the advice she would give her younger self.
Question: How have you worked with the Ad Council? What campaign(s) have you supported and what was the project you worked on with us?
Jess Read: We’ve run quite a few campaigns on Flipboard including Adoption, Caregiver Assistance, Emergency Preparedness, Fatherhood Involvement, Saving for Retirement and Wildfire Prevention. We've worked on high-impact, custom units highlighting Ad Council videos and content. I love the broad scope of awareness Ad Council covers, and that we had ad types that worked well for each initiative!
Q: Social good ads pull at our heartstrings. What social good ad has made you cry or stand up and cheer?
JR: There are so many, but one really stands out for me personally: Autism Awareness. I tear up every time I watch the video for Signs of Autism – Jacob’s Story. I have two autistic nephews so it really hits home for me. It is such a beautiful, touching explanation of what it’s like to live with Autism. I hope that people watch it and try to be mindful and patient when interacting with people on the spectrum.
Q: Why do you think it’s important for brands to have a corporate social responsibility plan in the world we live in?
JR: I think everyone is responsible for considering their impact on society and the environment, and brands are no exception. I recall a professor of mine who worked for a corporation that participated in the disinvestment campaign in South Africa to protest apartheid, and it’s stayed with me ever since. Now more than ever, it’s important for people to support brands who will take a stand and improve the world they operate in.
It's important for people to support brands who will take a stand and improve the world they operate in.
Q: What age would you want to meet up with your former self, and what advice would you give to that younger you?
JR: I would tell my 14-year old self to focus more on what’s important. The number on the scale and the clothes in the closet are distractions from what really matters: family, friends and experiences. Oh also, learn a coding language, it’s such a good skill to have!
Q: If you were giving a commencement speech to this year’s college graduates, what would you want them to know?
JR: I would want them to know that they have way more power than they may think. We’re living in a really negative news cycle, and it’s easy to feel disheartened and powerless. No one expects young people to pay attention but if they all did they could be running this place. So graduates, please, please vote and don’t let the grown ups take you for granted.
No one expects young people to pay attention but if they all did they could be running this place.
Q: How has your organization improved or innovated the digital landscape in the last year?
JR: I really appreciate Flipboard’s initiatives to tackle Fake News with human curation. We have a hard-working, unbiased Editorial team that works tirelessly to feature content from trustworthy news sources without leaning one way or the other politically. It’s easy to fall victim to a biased algorithm, and Flipboard actively works to avoid being a platform like that.
Q: You’re planning a “Change the World” dinner party and you can invite anyone (living, dead or fictional). Who are three people on your list?
JR: Michelle Obama, Jon Stewart and Huey Freeman from the Boondocks.
Q: In 40 years, what will people be nostalgic for?
Q: Tell us what you hope to see more of or experience more of in the next year, using only emojis.