In my late teens, like many young Jamaicans I left with my family and started a life in the United States as a result of an amazing opportunity my mother received working with United Nations.
From as early as then, I developed a strong sense of self and determination and created a path. From doodling on my father’s old drafting desk to dreaming of conceptualizing large campaigns I soon would be a part of, I always saw myself as a creative. After receiving a scholarship to attend Howard University to study fine arts, I opted to for the illustrious halls of Pratt Institute.
I excelled at Pratt, receiving a Freshman Honor to exhibit in the Schafler Gallery on the Brooklyn campus. I also appeared on the Dean’s list and was invited to exhibit at the Roosevelt Island Chase bank branch upon graduation.
I returned home and found success working as an art director for my brother’s web development company, Zanzibar Technologies.
I also worked with several other companies as a graphic designer, including a multi-national advertising agency, McCann-Erickson Jamaica, where I gained valuable knowledge in conceptualizing the “big idea” and bringing it to life.
Landing a contract to work as one of the first in-house graphic designers at Digicel Jamaica, I enjoyed the thrill of working in a fast-paced environment, managing projects from conception to completion.
One late Saturday night from traveling home from a wedding,I had a car accident. I suffered a whiplash and a concussion. After several weeks of physical therapy, I realized she needed a change. The workload and long grueling hours of advertising world had taken its toll.
I knew that in order to make the changes I sought, school was the only avenue. I went to back to school and received a masters of arts degree from Notre Dame of Maryland in Communication.
Still while an intern, I received a job offer from an international NGO, called Africare. There, I managed the online component of the marketing communications program, while writing on behalf of the President for news sources like Huffington Post. My passion for social media and digital marketing grew and I was proud when my efforts garnered 25% increase in donor loyalty for that year.
In 2013, I returned home to be with my family. Continuing my love for advertising but this time on the account management side, I worked as an account executive for one of the top three agencies in Jamaica, Whistling Frog.
I worked in every stage of accounts management, from liaising with production to meeting with clients and managing budgets.Working on campaigns worth millions of dollars, I thrived in the fast-paced environment.
In 2014, I had the priviledge of being asked to be judge and presenter at The Caribbean Blog & Social Media awards. There I was reminded of my love for social media and digital marketing.
All this experience culminated to where I am today, which involves running a small marketing consultancy that solves marketing problems for small businesses. I’m also writing a personal branding tips book for creatives. To join my mailing list, click here
Download my resume here. KESI GARDNER CV_PR