We had the good fortune of connecting with Jessica Tomasin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jessica, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
After working for a production company on a temporary basis, they offered to create a dream position for me. Little did I know that offer was contingent on a partial sale of the company which never happened. I already quit my other full time job so my back was against the wall. I reached out to a friend to see if they had any leads on a job and he told me that I was too smart and too talented to ever find myself in this position again. I started to think about that and realized I didn’t want to be dependent on anyone but myself for my success and I started my own business. For the first three years I took on as many clients as I could producing festivals and events. After three years I decided to start producing my own events as a way to continue to grow my business. I primarily produce my own events and consult with venues and other producers now.
What should our readers know about your business?
I have had the opportunity to help build a number of businesses before starting my own and that experience was extremely helpful. One of my strengths is taking an idea from concept to reality and it’s something I really enjoy doing. As my event production business was growing, I decided that I wanted to be more thoughtful about the experiences I was providing for people and the content I was putting into the world. I knew I could throw a really great party but I wanted my work to be more meaningful than that. I’ve always felt that art can be a powerful tool for impact and I wanted to create a festival with that specific focus. So I created Connect Beyond as a way to explore the power of words through storytelling to create social impact. Using music, film, and literature, we examine our commonalities and our differences to help discuss challenging issues. We do this through panels, readings, performances, and screenings with a carefully curated mix musicians, filmmakers, authors, journalists, and activists. It hasn’t been easy and people had a hard time wrapping their head around the concept at first. I was told it wasn’t easy to market. I was told that I was trying to do too much with combining social activism work with art. The first year was really hard, the last year was really hard. The pandemic has thrown a huge wrench in my plans just when things were really taking off for us in year three. At first it was devastating but now that I’ve had time to regroup, it feels like a blessing. We are doing a series of online events in 2021 and it’s helping us to build our brand to come back to in person events in 2021. I am definitely one of those people who lives to work. I need my work to be meaningful and for me, that means helping people and giving them the tools and resources to create the world they want to live in.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My favorite place for brunch is Limones. They have an amazing Caliente Margarita. The LaZoom bus tour is something that’s not to miss. It’s a comedy tour around the city that stops off at several bars and breweries along the way. We also have a really amazing new Greenway in the River Arts District. It’s a great way to check out a number of the galleries and walk along the river. You can stop by New Belgium and do a brewery tour which is also fun. For dinner I would recommend BimBeriBon. The food is unique and healthy.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
A special shout out goes to my dear friend and mentor, Michael Selverne. He has always been there for me in friendship and business and he’s the one who told me I was too smart and too talented to ever be in the position of getting fired. He’s got a huge heart and I know I am one of many people who can say, “Michael Selverne changed my life.”
I’m not sure if my images got loaded or not. The photo credits got to Tom Farr and Matthieu Rodriguez.