Jaclyn Johnson wants to redefine the term “work party.”
Johnson, who founded Create & Cultivate, an online career advice platform and conference for women, is expanding her growing empire with the arrival of WorkParty, a book, 10-city tour and podcast, this fall. Create & Cultivate launched in 2012 and has since grown into a robust conference platform that’s visited cities like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, featuring speakers like Gloria Steinem, Issa Rae and Meghan Markle. WorkParty is the latest offering from the brand.
The name WorkParty came to Johnson before the idea itself did. “The name itself was always a brand we wanted to start at Create & Cultivate,” she said. “We were just trying to figure out what it would be.” And after Johnson began writing the book that eventually became WorkParty (which is half a look back at her own work experiences, half a how-to career guide), she had an epiphany of sorts—the book she’d been working on was, in fact, work and a party.
“I wanted to take the idea of a boring work party and the notion you have tied to it and flip it on its head,” Johnson said. “Work for so long has been this negative thing in our lives, but I really feel like that’s sort of transitioning right now.”
To celebrate the book’s August 21 release, Johnson will be embarking on a 10-city tour that will take WorkParty to tried-and-true Create & Cultivate cities, as well as metropolises they haven’t yet been able to hit like Boston, Atlanta and Nashville. Johnson calls it a “non-traditional book tour”—there will be no bookstore visits and readings. Instead, they’re bringing along well-known female entrepreneurs like Who What Wear co-founder Hillary Kerr and fashion designers like Rebecca Minkoff and Kendra Scott.
The tour, which kicks off on September 20, is sponsored by Microsoft365. Events will be held in WeWork locations across the nation. The partnerships, Johnson said, help make it possible for Create & Cultivate to host what are essentially “mini pop-up” versions of their large-scale conferences.
“Create & Cultivate is known for the experiential, so for us, creating a WorkParty IRL experience was super important,” Johnson said. “It’s really about hitting cities we don’t often get to hit and expand[ing] our reach.”
The book will feature interviews with female entrepreneurs like Christene Barberich, co-founder of Refinery29, and Alli Webb, creator of Drybar. Launching the same week (August 22) as the book is the WorkParty podcast, which will feature interviews with even more female entrepreneurs like Rachel Zoe, Bobbi Brown, Marie Forleo, and Sara Blakely.
LinkedIn, a former Create & Cultivate partner, is sponsoring the podcast. During the podcast, Johnson says they’ll prompt listeners to share stories of how they’ve leveraged LinkedIn to benefit them throughout their own careers.
“LinkedIn is such a natural extension of your work identity,” Johnson said. “The conversations we’re having on the podcast with these amazing women tie naturally into your work relationship building, and LinkedIn is a perfect example of that.”
Johnson said the team is aiming for three 10-episode seasons per year for the podcast. Though she hopes the podcast will help carry the WorkParty brand into the future, especially after the book tour is over, it’s still only the beginning for WorkParty. There are already big plans for 2019, particularly when it comes to connecting with a younger demographic.
“With WorkParty, we really want to focus on that early jobseeker and career builder,” she said. “In 2019, you’ll see more events targeting that younger audience.”
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