Jennifer Jerde, Founder, Principal & Creative Director
Jen has a gift for helping clients get to the point—and directing a creative team to build on that seed. Since founding Elixir in 1992, Jen’s management style has been collaborative in the extreme: part mentor, part idea generator, part alchemist in chief. Her guiding principle is to help genuinely good people (and their causes, products, or services) succeed by communicating what really matters—the truth—in an inspired way.
Jen is quick to champion what others bring to the table. As you might imagine, this makes her somewhat of a magnet for talented people. She is an ardent believer in collaboration—and of people playing to their respective strengths. She maintains her biggest contribution has been to develop the North Star process, Elixir’s down-to-earth approach to branding strategy. When Jen is tackling a problem, it almost seems like she’s trying to smoke out the answers. She surrounds it and asks a lot of questions. She is an intense listener.
Jen raises the bar for everyone, whether in a strategy meeting, internal design review, or on a shoot. A photographer who has worked with Jen for over 15 years captured her by saying that some creative directors think outside the box—but that Jen has no box. Over the years, many long-term clients have described Elixir as their “secret weapon.” It simply delights Jen when they say—in their various ways—they feel Elixir has their back like no other agency they’ve worked with.
Jennifer earned a degree in art history from Tufts University while pursuing fine arts at The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She also holds a BFA in design with honors from California College of the Arts, where she has taught upper-level design. Jen lives in Mill Valley with her husband Danny (architect Daniel Castor), their two daughters (Nell and Gwen) and one son (in a dog suit).