Arts & Culture

The Big Jewcy: Leah Jones, Owner of Natiiv Arts & Media

Chicago is the city that works, and Leah Jones is the person who teaches it social networking through her company, Natiiv Arts & Media.  And as you will see, it’s been an interesting road that led Jones to the top … Read More

By / June 8, 2010

Chicago is the city that works, and Leah Jones is the person who teaches it social networking through her company, Natiiv Arts & Media.  And as you will see, it’s been an interesting road that led Jones to the top of the Windy Cities connector chain.

So you got your degree in chemistry, but you ended up in the world of social media; how does that work?

I was an odd bird in the chemistry department, I came straight from Music Ed and was the only chemistry student to study abroad. My faculty understood it was just a major for me and wasn’t my calling. Then I moved to Colorado and worked in higher ed administration, waited tables, managed a rape hot line, cashiered at Wal-Mart. Typical Colorado stuff. Moved to Chicago in 2002 and got a job working in study abroad. Got transferred to London where I started blogging in 2003. Came home, kept blogging, began studying for conversion and got placed as a temp admin at Edelman PR. That was 2005 when blogging was taking off in the world of marketing and PR. Here was this secretary that had a blog and a research skills from chemistry. I was able to mix it together and I began doing digital work at Edelman until I resigned in 2009 to start Natiiv. Now I focus on teaching social media to rabbis and rockers. Clear path, right?

What’s is a typical day in the life of Leah Jones like?

Typical? There’s no typical. When I wake up, I figure out what city I’m in – hotel on the road or my condo – then I read email and twitter with one eye and hit snooze. From there I have three typical versions of my day. One is preparing and giving a workshop or speech. Another is doing a one on one lesson with a rocker or rabbi. The third is doing more traditional PR at a small agency where I consult. Unless I’m teaching, I’m online and plugged in. Bouncing between my Google Reader, Twitter, Facebook and other sites. At some point of any given day, I’m camped out at a cafe. Hotels are too stuffy and my cats are too distracting to work at home. Most nights I’m busy with friends or events, though I’m trying to force myself to stay home and veg a little more lately.

Your personal blog is called “Leah in Chicago/Accidentally Jewish”.  What’s the story behind the name?

The blog was originally Leah in London – because I started it in 2003 when I worked in London. Then I moved home, hooked on blogging, and changed the name to Leah in Chicago. Accidentally Jewish was added in 2005 when I was studying for my conversion. I’d been reading all sorts of Jewish books and needed a break, but every non-Jewish book I picked had a strong Jewish character or story line. One night I threw a copy of The Geisha’s Granddaughter at a friend and said, “This one is accidentally Jewish, too!” And it stuck.

We have a few more social media people on this list, and I’ve asked them all the same question: Blackberry or iPhone?

Blackberry. I’m committed to Verizon and love my Curve (but I’m considering going Droid).