Jessica Dally is our featured Pozzyviber this February. Jessica has great passion for music, film, technology, dreaming big, and the little things in life. Jessica has been dreaming big since grade school, and is proof that no matter how big your dreams are they can come true. When she was a child, she dreamt of working for Disney. When the N’SYNC phase hit, Jessica became fascinated by artist management in the music industry. Jessica began dreaming of being behind the scenes in the music industry and studied everything she could find out about it.
Growing up in Iowa as a minister’s daughter Jessica looked up to her father who worked hard and followed his passions. While working fulltime at Best Buy Jessica attended Belmont University taking business law, financial and managerial accounting, and a survey of recording technology class where she fell in love with analog recording. After attending her freshman year of college she came to the conclusion that she should transfer to the University of Colorado at Denver and study Music Entertainment & Industry Studies and Recording Arts. Having her doubts, as we all do from time to time, Jessica started to question if she would be accepted into the Recording Arts (tech) program since space was limited and there was a placement exam to determine if you qualified for consideration. Jessica found herself going down rabbit holes in a search to learn as much as she could, and to her relief she was accepted into the program.
Once Jessica entered the tech program she signed up for an Audio Post Production class, which she heard would be really hard. Jessica was a member of Best Buy’s Women & Leadership Forum and joined the Audio Engineering Society (AES) attending conferences and volunteering anywhere she could to gain exposure and experience in the industry. Shortly after Jessica attended her first AES Convention in New York she had a Senior Seminar project due. Her project that was far less than great and received a terrible critique made her think that maybe she didn’t have the skillset needed to continue with audio engineering. Her head filled with self-doubt, her next class was her Audio Post Production class. Upon presenting her project, the professor announced to the class that she had set the bar for everyone with her outstanding work. Jessica excitedly admitted, “I found my thing.” Jessica’s professor continued to inspire and encourage her to do more and to follow her dreams. After receiving her Bachelor’s degree, and following an optimistic phone interview she decided to move to LA.
Jessica began working for Muve Music, which was a mobile app for Cricket customers, and continued focusing on networking and building relationships with those inside the music and entertainment industry. Being a woman in a male dominated industry wasn’t something Jessica really ever thought about, until people started talking about it to her. Jessica realized the importance of bravery and not only pursuing friendships and relationships, but the importance of nurturing relationships with other women in the male dominated industry. Jessica continued to seek knowledge and experience everywhere she could by sitting in on recording and postproduction sessions, to volunteering at film award shows. She found herself sitting in on some remarkable sessions. One of her first sit in’s, was with the supervisor sound editor who worked on “Chuck,” and “Pretty Little Liars.”
Jessica went onward to explore and work on other mobile apps as a Senior IT Analyst, and later found herself for the first time being a contractor at Sony Pictures in their motion picture IT group. Jessica learned that sometimes you’re not the best culture fit for a team, and understanding that she decided to pursue other opportunities. Today Jessica is working on projects for Disney, and couldn’t be happier. Who would have thought that sometimes your grade school self is really onto something? Jessica had big dreams and thought for a long time that’s all it was. Jessica wisely stated, “If it’s meant to be you will find a way.” Outside of Disney Jessica also uses her spare time to work with a startup focused on connecting creative talent.
Jessica is really excited about her future and continues to enjoy the little things in life like walking around downtown LA, having brunch with friends, hiking with her dog, and exploring new coffee shops and bookstores. Some of Jessica’s next goals and aspirations are to travel and explore the world more. Jessica, wise beyond her years, finds joy in spreading positivity through the little things in life like paying for people’s parking or coffee, and by giving people time. Jessica thoughtfully stated, “just listening to a random person in the street who may come up to you can make a big difference. I try not to push people off. I always want to be heard so I want to do the same for others.”
The entertainment industry can be tough, especially being a girl. When asked what Jessica does to stay positive she replied, “writing is really important.” Jessica keeps a word document every year that she can vent and explode onto if she needs too. If something wears on her, she writes it all out. Working and talking with other grounded women and friends who have been in the industry longer really helps her stay positive and to be a bigger positive influence on others. When asked what advice Jessica would have for someone with big dreams she replied, “Don’t limit yourself because what you dream today may evolve to something else, but it doesn’t mean you won’t get to where you want to be.”
Some of the best advice Jessica has for anyone wanting to make a career change or get started in the music or film entertainment industry is to volunteer. Jessica did a lot with the AES and award shows and showed she was willing to work and in doing so met a lot of people. You never know whom you will meet or what you will learn by doing something good like volunteering. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people on LinkedIn or to ask if you can hangout, you don’t have to wait for an invitation. You also have to be willing to do unpaid internships in the entertainment industry. Jessica shared one of her most memorable and helpful pieces of advice she ever received, “never give up, when people tell you they believe in you, it goes a long way; knowing someone believes in you.”
Besides being inspired by her father Jessica has been inspired by Damien Chazelle who directed “La La Land,” and “Whiplash” for not giving up on his dreams. Damien had tried to get producers on board with La La Land first but he experienced many obstacles in trying to convince producers to move forward with a modern day musical so he did Whiplash first, almost in spite. Walt Disney was another person Jessica found inspiring for being ground breaking with his film Fantasia and the surround sound developed for the film. Walt Disney was such a great storyteller and had such an impact on film, audio, business and more. Gina Davis and the Gina Davis Institute is another inspiration to Jessica, as they don’t like to shush women, and encourage and allow them to be heard through different events for science, engineering and more for women. When asked what advice Jessica would give herself if she could go back in time she replied, “to not be afraid of change and to welcome it. Tell people it’s ok to be stable. The biggest thing would be to have patience. Rome wasn’t built in a day and things don’t happen over night. If it’s meant to be it will always find it’s way back around.”
Thanks Jessica for being Pozzy!
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Written by Pozzyviber Tiffany Rosengrant