Hello. Bridgette Dutkowski here, Wit & Delight’s Brand Director, and I’ve got the pleasure of writing a little about Jackie, our Editorial Director. I’m generally behind the scenes, but when Jackie asked if someone could write an intro for this post, I leaped at the chance to write about how wonderful it is to have her as a part of the W&D team.
In all honesty, Jackie is a little terrifying. The adage states to hire people that are smarter than you, and Jackie is just that. Not only does she bring her voice as a contributing writer and her point of view (read all her articles here) but she also brings an energy of enthusiasm and positivity that is infectious. Along with her penchant for consistency and micro-details, she makes all of our writing sound much more eloquent and intelligent with her editing skills.
Jackie took up the Editorial Director mantle to cover a maternity leave in early 2019, and thankfully, hasn’t left. Without looking twice, she jumped right into the fray and kept all of us on task, supported contributors, and brought killer ideas to the table, ALL WHILE WORKING FULL-TIME AT ANOTHER JOB.
When Jackie announced she was joining W&D full-time in 2020, there was more than a bit of celebrating. I’m thrilled to be working alongside Jackie in-person and would like to do so for as long as I possibly can.*
*Editor’s note: I’m crying.
Name: Jackie Saffert
Title: Editorial Director
Astrological Sign: Pisces
Meyers Briggs + Enneagram: INFP + 2 wing 3
What do the objects in your photo mean to you? Running shoes, because I love to run. The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One, a book of poetry by Amanda Lovelace that a friend of mine spotted in a bookstore in Portland and it ~spoke to me~. My favorite lipstick (this one from Kosas!). And a bunch of my favorite handwritten cards because I am sentimental as hell and written notes are one of few things I will keep forever.
My background is a somewhat disjointed mix of things, from a focus on architecture in college to working in the nonprofit field to working as an editor in a few different roles (you can read a little more about it in this post!).
I started my career both with a full-time job in development at a nonprofit and a remote graphic design internship at The Everygirl. My job at the nonprofit primarily involved fundraising, event planning, and handling donor relations. My job at The Everygirl turned into an editor role, and I stuck around for two and a half years in total before burnout hit and I decided to leave (shocking that working days, nights, and weekends for two and a half years could bring that on!!). And that topic of burnout, and how it actually manifests itself, is something I don’t think is acknowledged enough—but that’s another topic for another day.
I continued working at the same nonprofit for another four and a half years until I left there to put my full focus on Wit & Delight.
As I’m finding most career trajectories go, mine was a bit of a nonlinear path. I’d been reading Wit & Delight since college, and when I worked at The Everygirl I pitched a home tour featuring Kate’s then apartment with Joe, and it was one of the first features I produced from start to finish.
Kate and I kept in touch on and off over the years, mainly on social media. I also once attended an event at Kate’s former workspace, The COMN (and hid in the bathroom at one point, because hi from an introvert alone in a crowded room full of people she admires!!).
In January 2018, I went to a happy hour event at Askov Finlayson and was holding my friend’s absurdly adorable puppy when Kate bounded over to pet it. I said hello and reintroduced myself, and she said we should meet for coffee at the studio sometime. I followed up on the suggestion, and a few months later, we met for said coffee. We talked for a good long while in a sunny corner of Studio 125. I mentioned that I’d love to write for Wit & Delight and followed up on it afterward. I didn’t hear back at first, but I followed up on it several times in the months afterward, and in August, I joined the team as a contributing writer.
Last February, I got an email from Kate asking if I had availability to take on freelance work. We met at the beginning of March, and by the end of March, I was working as W&D’s Editorial Director, alongside my full-time job. I continued working in that capacity for nine months, and just this month joined the team full-time in the studio.
Be your own best advocate. You have to ask for what you want and you have to believe in what you deserve (chances are, you do deserve it, in case you’re second-guessing your worth). Many bosses aren’t going to give you a raise or a promotion or a title change if you don’t ask for one. I didn’t start doing this until I was twenty-eight—it took me a while to get there.
Be your own best advocate. You have to ask for what you want and you have to believe in what you deserve.
So many things! At its core, my primary role is to get content up on the site daily. In the details, I do a lot of editing, plenty of writing, format posts in WordPress, manage our incredible team of contributors, brainstorm story ideas, review comments, manage the editorial calendar, review analytics, promote content on social, and field the occasional studio drop-in. I’m also involved with community building and event planning (we’re announcing our next Studio 125 event so soon, so keep an eye out for it!), and I’m getting a bit more involved with the podcast as we work to organize our workflow for that piece of the business.
I’ve honed what works for me over the years, especially in 2019. I keep lots of lists—I have one in my phone for personal to-dos, I use Todist to track *everything* that needs to get done for work, and I write down each day’s top priorities on paper every morning.
When I’m writing or editing, I need to have no distractions, so I’ll find somewhere quiet and get to work. I also tend to put my phone away when I’m working, and if I’m working at a coffee shop, I leave it in my car or at home (sounds kind of extreme, but the further away from me my phone is, the less distracted I’ll be!).
I also try to check in with where I’m at mentally throughout the day and do work based on that—if I’m feeling super focused (usually mid-morning through early afternoon, or late afternoon when I often get a second wind), I’ll tackle writing, editing, or reviewing pitches; if I’m not, I’ll handle some of the less intensive but still time-consuming tasks on my list.
If we’re starting at the beginning, I wake up, meditate in bed for a few minutes, make my bed, turn on a podcast, get ready for the day, and make breakfast. I head into the studio (the five-minute commute I have now makes me want to cry tears of joy) and hit the ground running.
Work is a mix of any of the things listed above and then some. No two days have been the same so far and I expect none of them will be from here on out.
I tend to stick around a little later than everyone else (we all have slightly different schedules, and I generally get in later, too!), and when everyone leaves, I savor the empty studio, turn up the music a little louder, and get some focused work done before heading home. (My coworkers are amazing, but I’m an introvert, and I love the chance to get work done with no disruptions.)
At night, if I don’t have plans, there’s usually a workout involved (sometimes as short as running a mile), dinner, reading, and Netflix. This may sound a little dull, but after having worked almost every night in some capacity for nine months, I savor having weeknights off now.
THERE ARE SO MANY AND I CAN’T POSSIBLY LIST THEM ALL HERE.
One of the things that first drew me to Wit & Delight all those years ago was Kate’s openness about mental health. She shared her struggles in such an intimate and understanding way, and it made me feel less alone in the things I was dealing with. It made me more sure of the fact that it was not only okay to deal with anxiety or depression or any other mental health disorder but it was also okay to talk about it. Being open about mental illness (with people and in ways that make you feel safe!) helps remove some of the shame that so often surrounds it. This piece Kate wrote in 2014, “Everything is Wonderful. Everything is Terrible.,” still sticks with me for that reason.
So strange to think that anyone would come to me for this. But if I had to give some general advice, it would be to keep moving in a direction that feels right, whatever that looks like on any given day. If you’re not on the path you want to be on, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed or behind or like you don’t measure up to other people, but don’t give up on yourself or on what you want. Start working toward your goals, and keep working toward them, one little step at a time.
As for advice for this career in particular? Start writing!! I have hundreds of draft posts that will never see the light of day, and some of those first ones? From 2012 and 2013 and 2014? They are painful to read now. It takes time and practice to develop your voice—there’s no other way to do it than to keep writing, and then to write some more.
Start writing!! I have hundreds of draft posts that will never see the light of day. . . . It takes time and practice to develop your voice—there’s no other way to do it than to keep writing, and then to write some more.
Also, read the words other people write. And post your words online. And start pitching. Connect with others you admire, whether on social media or via email or in person. Even if you don’t hear back, don’t take it personally and keep trying; people are busy and persistence is often required.
With my friends or boyfriend, popping around Minneapolis’ various breweries and brunch spots, or recharging at home by way of Schitt’s Creek marathons, reading, and cooking. I also love running (I’m planning to train for my next marathon this year!) and yoga, where I pretend I display as much agility and grace as the person next to me (I don’t).
Yes! But none of it’s that sexy. I focus a lot on taking care of my mental health, and that includes prioritizing sleep, working out most days (even if it’s just a little bit), meditating most days (again, even if only for a few minutes), drinking lots of water, eating vegetables, and going really easy on myself when I’m PMSing (because holy anxiety). I love a good face mask (this one!!) and a manicure as much as the next person, but the things that make the most difference for me are small, positive habits, repeated regularly.
For blogs, I’m a very frequent visitor to Man Repeller. For social media, a few favorite accounts include:
This year! I’m just starting to slow down a bit after going nonstop for most of 2019, and I’m excited to see what’s to come now that my brain has a heck of a lot more room to dream up new ideas. I’m looking forward to growing in this role at Wit & Delight, traveling more, and turning thirty this March. It’s about to be a new decade and I am ready for it. Or mostly ready, or trying to get to “ready,” whatever that means—and that’s just fine.
Today’s post is part of an ongoing series where we’re introducing folks to the team behind Wit & Delight. Want to learn more about our Graphic Designer, Illustrator, and Art Director, Raquel Benedict? Read all about her story here. Curious to learn about the career background and life of our Brand Director, Bridgette Dutkowski? We’ve got you covered here. Want to know about the winding career trajectory of our New Business Director, Erin Hamilton? Learn more here.
When she’s got a break from the care and feeding of her three small children, Bridgette enjoys trivia nights, entertainment or history-related podcasts, reading “light” nonfiction (and the occasional thriller), and binge-watching television with her husband.
BY Bridgette Dutkowski - January 16, 2020
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.