Jacquelyn West is the Managing Director of Hermann & Audrey, a collective of creative professionals that produce editorial and commerical photography for both brands and celebrities. For a company less than two years old, the list of clients is impressive, including brand names like Reebok, H&M and Universal Music to international stars like K’naan and Kanye West. With a graceful demeanour and an eye for cool, Jacquelyn can help just about anyone achieve their artistic vision. We also love Herman & Audrey’s wicked studio space on King West.
What does a typical Thursday look like for you, starting from when you wake up – to heading to bed?
I’m up and at the teapot. Soon after I continue my love affair with the laptop, reviewing production schedules, answering emails and translating the to-do list I scratched out the night before. Typically breakfast in hand, I’m out the door and headed to the set or the Hermann & Audrey studio. Details of the day depend on the stage of the various productions I’m working on, we could be in pre-production for the next commercial photography project, casting models or working out logistics for our upcoming exhibits. My best Thursdays are the collaborative ones: brainstorming new creative approaches with the talented artists in Hermann & Audrey’s extended family.
What was your first job out of school?
My first real job was as a Communications Assistant for Natural Resources Canada while studying at the University of Ottawa. My main focus was tracking public opinion on the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. I was up super early to track daily media reaction, and lived on coffee and scotch mints.
What are the 3 skills you require most to do your job well?
I always need to be flexible and nimble in certain situations, it’s not rare for me to be tracking down last-minute eyelashes or changing schedules on the fly – last minute problem solving is a fine art. A little cleverness never hurts – I need to be quick on my feet to be able to identify opportunity in chance encounters, some of my most cherished projects came from connecting dots with new people. For me, perseverance is also key: in a services-based business I need to be confident in the expectations I set and in the work of my team. I believe that passion and hard work get the best results.
What do you love most about your career?
I relish in knowing that the opportunity exists to be creative myself while enabling the imaginations of the artists I work with. I adore the fact that working independently as part of a team allows for freedom of choice and the ability to work on what’s truly exciting and challenging.
Do you have any warnings?
Take risks with your career and DO NOT accept an unhappy cubicle life. Dreams are to be lived.
If you could try a different career on for a year, what would it be?
I’d love to work on the Communications team of a weighty health-related NGO like Doctors without Borders.
Photo: Steve Carty Photographer ©