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JJ Nelson
Associate, Director of Brand Communications, Design Practice Leader

JJ Nelson
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst

Have you ever gotten lost on purpose?

Every chance I get. I am very much a creature of habit when it comes to my day-to-day routine, which often leads me to seek comfort in the familiarities I surround myself with. There was a moment a few years back where I found myself heading to the gym on a beautiful Saturday morning, following the same path of streets I’d taken each day when I was met with an unavoidable construction detour that set me off-course. Next thing I knew I was wandering side streets and exploring areas of Boston I’d somehow never discovered in the many years I’d lived here. I started to see the city I lived in as a visitor and truly experienced a moment of curiosity and clarity like never before. After that day, I made it a point to get lost every day, take the road less known, and find something new to inspire me whenever possible. By the way, I never made it to the gym that day. :)

What advice would you give to your twenty-year-old-self?

Where do I begin?! You are going to make mistakes, so never be afraid to take chances and fail – because those failures from your twenties (and there will be plenty) are more impactful on the person you will become in your thirties than any of your easy successes.

What legacy do you want to leave behind?

One that empowers those I’ve left behind me to lead their life each day with kindness, gratitude, and humility.

What’s your favorite season?

Autumn is my seasonal spirit animal. As a native New Englander, I yearn for the season known best as basic. I know there are naysayers who view fall as the gateway season to winter, but that doesn’t fly with me. Who doesn’t love vibrant burnt red, yellow, and orange-colored leaves? Crisp autumn nights on the patio by the fire, scary movies, and Sunday football family time?

What’s your ideal superpower?

Traveling at lightning speed. I already walk at an aggressively rapid pace so I feel confident I’d adjust to the expedited travel upgrade quite well.

Introvert or Extrovert?

Three cups of extrovert with a sprinkle of introvert for best results.

What’s your beverage of choice?

Nothing beats a perfectly crafted Espresso Martini. Furiously shaken with appropriately measured fresh espresso, Stoli Vanilla vodka, Kahlua and Bailey’s - topped with THREE whole coffee beans (seriously if you have anything other than three coffee beans served to you, throw it on the ground and leave immediately because taking one sip is a surefire way to give yourself bad luck).

What three songs describe your life’s journey?

  • Flowers - Kelly Rowland
  • Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself - Jess Glynne
  • Said I Loved You...But I Lied - Michael Bolton