2 Minutes With ... Jamie Cornelius, ECD at ChangeUp

On her work for Revea and Panera, and the great strides in immersive entertainment

Jamie Cornelius is executive creative director at experience agency ChangeUp. Innovating across categories, she is a creative force behind many of today's most successful brands, including P&G, Panera and Target. Jamie is passionate about working with her multi-disciplinary team to create consumer experiences that delight, inspire and raise the bar.

We spent two minutes with Jamie to learn more about her background, her creative inspirations, and recent work she's admired.

Jamie, tell us...

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

Ohio girl born and bred!

How you first realized you were creative.

I give Dr. Seuss all the credit. When I was in grade school, I was enthralled with his books. My mom got me a sketchbook which was quickly filled up with his characters. I got to the point where you could overlay my drawings and they were almost an exact copy. My mom said right there, I was going to do something in the creative field.

A person you idolized creatively early on.

I wouldn't say I idolized any one person, but I certainly looked to Dr. Seuss (obviously), Santiago Calatrava, Manolo Blahnik and Zaha Hadid as creative inspiration. I still wish I would have purchased Zaha Hadid's collab with Perrin Paris.

A moment from high school or college that changed your life.

My senior year of high school, I had a few art projects go to state. One in particular was very much a statement of my views at the time. It was also quite large—maybe 3' x 3' x 4'. My parents went with me to the show and supported me every step of the way. It was then housed in their basement. Upon returning from college one break, I saw that my masterpiece was gone! At first, I was hurt, but it taught me a lesson. As creatives, we put our heart and soul into our work, but ultimately, we are creating it for others to enjoy. You have to know your audience and listen to them.

A visual artist or band/musician you admire.

Dolly Parton as a songwriter, a vocalist and a person.  

A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.

I'm currently re-watching Chef's Table with my 6-year-old son, my aspiring chef. The cinematography and storytelling are phenomenal. It's inspiring me to travel—hopefully more of that in the future—and him to try new things.

Your favorite fictional character.

Top of mind right now is Penelope Featherington from Bridgerton. She has that unassuming, quiet strength that I'm always drawn to in a character. She sits in the background the entire season and then takes center stage right at the end.

Someone or something worth following in social media.

I try not to get too invested in social media, and focus on family and friends. I do enjoy a little @zillowgonewild, though! It gives me a good laugh and reminds me of the absurdity you can find in everyday life.

How Covid-19 changed your life, personally or professionally.

I believe it humbled all of us. And my relationships both personally and professionally became that much stronger. Many of our clients had to quickly pivot, and we were there to help them. As a result, we've seen some bold moves forward in our industry. Initiatives that would have normally taken years have been pushed through in a fraction of that time. My hope is that we continue to push forward and challenge our norms.  

One of your favorite creative projects you've ever worked on.

Whenever you work with the founders of a company, it brings a different level to a project. Especially when it is a startup and they're looking to disrupt the industry. With Revea, they not only had a great vision for the brand, but a product that we all believe in. Our team truly made this one a labor of love.

A recent project you're proud of.

Our newest collaboration with Panera very recently opened. The challenge was for Panera to embrace their baking heritage, while looking forward to how their customers are now engaging with the brand. The result is a café that has all the light and texture qualities you would imagine of baking at dawn, with the convenience and ease for the on-the-go customer. We worked to create that moment of respite in a small format.

Someone else's work that inspired you years ago.

Peter Marino Architects. I've been following his work since college. Specifically, his architecture, although the interior of Boontheshop and the staircase in the Chanel Osaka are also quite inspiring. The way that he uses light, forms and texture are moving, making his buildings more like sculptures than architecture. There's a reason he has become Chanel's architect of choice.

Someone else's work you admired lately.

I'm amazed how far immersive entertainment experiences have come over the last few years. Area 15, Other World and Meow Wolf are all great examples. They are truly immersive and something that you want to experience and share. In the retail world, I think we can learn from these artists. It challenges me to think of what does a retail(tainment) look like?

Your main strength as a creative person.

I'm pretty competitive, so I'm always in for the challenge. Perseverance all the way!

Your biggest weakness.

Perfectionism is both a strength and a weakness of mine. I get frustrated when others don't put the care and attention to detail into their work that I think is necessary. It's something I'm working on.

One thing that always makes you happy.

My kids. They are at the age where they still find wonder and amazement all around them. It motivates and inspires me on a regular basis.

One thing that always makes you sad.

If someone dies in a movie, you can count on me crying. I can walk in five minutes before the scene and I'm still balling. A little embarrassing when your 2-year-old is asking you what is wrong.

What you'd be doing if you weren't in advertising.

Something in the psychology field. I've always been intrigued by the human mind. In college, I thought I'd plan to go into hospitality design and then I discovered all of the research and strategy that goes into retail design, and I was hooked.

2 Minutes With is our regular interview series where we chat with creatives about their backgrounds, creative inspirations, work they admire and more. For more about 2 Minutes With, or to be considered for the series, please get in touch.

Jessica MacAulay
Jessica MacAulay is a contributor for Muse by Clio. She's also a recent graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder's College of Media, Communication, and Information.

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