2 Minutes With ... Jason Harris, CEO of Mekanism
Jason Harris is the co-founder and CEO of Mekanism, co-founder of Creative Alliance, and author of The Soulful Art of Persuasion. He has worked on Jose Cuervo, Alaska Airlines, Quaker, Charles Schwab, Amtrak and Whoop, among others. Harris also hosts the Soul & Science Podcast, interviewing top CMOs.
We spent two minutes with Jason to learn more about his background, his creative inspirations and recent work he's admired.
Jason, tell us...
Where you grew up, and where you live now.
I grew up in Virginia, in the suburbs of D.C. I spent my summers in Florida pushing kids down water slides at various water parks. I have lived and worked in San Diego, L.A., and San Francisco. I currently live in New York.
How you first realized you were creative.
As a kid I loved to draw, write and imagine. I made my own comic book called Galaxy Man.
A person you idolized creatively early on.
I loved the Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi. La Sagrada Familia, Casa Batllo, Parc Guell are such masterpieces. Fun fact: Picasso hated Gaudi.
A moment from high school or college that changed your life.
Living in Spain in college completely changed my perspective and my view on cultures. Spain has such a family-first and social dimension that I came back a different person.
A visual artist or band/musician you admire.
David Bowie has always been my North Star. He taught us all about the power of being our own weird selves.
A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.
The book Wholehearted: Slow Down, Help Out, Wake Up by Koshin Paley Ellison. This is a manual for personal growth and change based on a contemporary interpretation of Buddhist teachings.
Someone or something worth following on social media.
Seth Matlins, managing director of Forbes' CMO Network. I love his poignant yet succinct LinkedIn posts and the way he advocates for marketers.
One of your favorite creative projects you've ever worked on.
"It's On Us"—a long-term program to fight sexual assault on college campuses. It has been almost a decade of work that is still making a big difference.
A recent project you're proud of.
The work we did for wearable fitness tracker Whoop:
I am also proud of our podcast Soul & Science, and the incredible and inspiring marketing leaders we've gotten to speak to from leading brands like Uber, New Balance and Liquid Death.
Your main strength as a creative person.
As a business person, I always listen 100 percent to my gut. It has never steered me wrong.
Your biggest weakness.
Prioritization. I got into this industry because I love the work and the dynamic chaos. I want to do everything, but the responsibilities that come with being a CEO keep me from getting in the weeds.
What you'd be doing if you weren't in advertising.
I've always loved to discover new music, so I'd probably be an A&R scout for a record label (but not a slimy one).