A creative professional discovers clients’ true gifts
J. Donovan “JD” Smith is a story teller, a friend, and a collaborator. As a branding professional and videographer, he helps uncover the heart of “why” clients do what they do, and not just the “what.”
“I worked for over a decade creating marketing materials for an internationally recognized wine company’s 40 brands. After I left, it took some time for me to realize how conditioned I was to look and act like what I thought my employers wanted me to be and not who I really am. And I realized that my clients deserved the same opportunity to truly be seen,” Smith says.
“That’s really what I do for them. Yes, I create branding elements, and I tell their story through videography and other tools, but through close collaboration, I am able to help them see themselves and their own work in a new light.”
Financial planner Brian Vaughn is impressed with Smith’s ability to listen, and to then “translate what he discovered in me into his own creative work so that others — my potential clients — are able to see me more clearly.”
“JD understood that my motivation to help people with their finances isn’t about making me or them boatloads of money,” says Vaughn.
“It’s really about helping people to live their best life. JD and I really connected over that. In making a video for me, he helped me to get that point across in a way that I loved.”
Smith tells a provocative story of the moment he grasped the gift of listening. It came after he started his own business, J. Donovan Smith Creative.
“When I got out of my own way and was 100 percent in the moment and listening, it clicked! It clicked the way it did for Neo, in the movie “Matrix”, when standing in the hallway, seeing only the ones and zeros before fighting Agent Smith and his associates with simple ease… yeah, it was like that,” he says.
It’s really about helping people to live their best life.
“I understood at that moment, how fascinating the person standing in front of me was and how much they offered me just by listening to their story. Today, when I meet with a client to talk about a project, I’m 100 percent present to their story.”
Smith describes his client work as “collaborative magic,” a fitting phrase for both the process and the end result.
Jennifer Goodhart is the communications coordinator for Everett Public Schools and has worked with Smith on several projects. She speaks to Smith’s talents, willingness to learn new skills, and, above all, his ability to listen and closely collaborate.
“JD also became a friend through the process. He really cares about his clients’ projects and delivers impressive and impactful end products,” Goodhart says. “We look forward to working with JD more in the future.”
Find out more about
J. Donovan Smith Creative at: www.jds-creative.com