2 Minutes With ... Jesse Dylan, Founder & CEO of Wondros

On 'All of Us' and raising awareness about fentanyl

Jesse Dylan is founder and CEO of Wondros, an independent creative agency dedicated to solving complex communications challenges and inspiring social movements. Jesse acts in service of ideas that change the world. As the mind behind some of the most successful campaigns in TV, print and interactive media, this Emmy winner has dedicated his career to telling the stories of some of the world's most innovative individuals and organizations.

We spent two minutes with Jesse—son of music legend Bob Dylan—to learn more about his background, his creative inspirations and recent work he's admired.

Jesse, tell us...

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

Here, there and a little bit of everywhere—New York, L.A., and Minnesota. Now, I'm settled in Los Angeles. 

How you first got interested in health.

It was personal. Family members were struggling with different undiagnosed health conditions and it was difficult to find reliable medical information. Looking on the internet was scary, and even though this was years ago, I still remember that feeling of powerlessness. That's when I started to realize we could bring our storytelling skills to bear in the giant universe of healthcare and communications and connect people with the resources and knowledge they needed. We also noticed that medical researchers, scientists and nonprofits felt the need to connect better with the general public and explain their work and its purpose.

Early on, I filmed a series of videos with Harvard Medical School, working with doctors to explain the challenges of turning scientific breakthroughs into new treatments. After that, we had the honor of being chosen to work with the National Institutes of Health, building out communications for the "All of Us" research program. Because we’re still working with them today, we've had the incredible experience of seeing the program thrive and really connect with people in a meaningful way. 

One of your favorite projects you've ever worked on, and why. 

Working with the NIH on the "All of Us" research program has been incredibly rewarding. The challenge itself was enormous—recruiting more than a million Americans from diverse backgrounds to contribute their medical information for research purposes. To meet the program's needs, we had to develop and grow as an agency and add capabilities that I'd been dreaming about, from digital products and analytics to a robust design research team.

A recent project you're proud of, and why. 

We've worked with Song for Charlie, a family-run nonprofit dedicated to educating the country's youth about the fentanyl and fake-pills crisis, for the past few years. It's been an honor to help Ed and Mary Ternan in their efforts to address what's become one of the greatest crises of our time. I'm proud of the fact we've been able to support an organization that's spreading the word and actively saving lives. I'm also proud of the way we’ve been able to quickly onboard ourselves and meet Song for Charlie's needs, whether that's crafting an organizational intro film, developing educational video content for seminars and classes, or just handling their general communications and helping people unite in the fight.

One thing about how health is evolving that you're excited about.

This is partly an aftereffect of the pandemic and partly the result of people coming to a better understanding of new communications technologies, but we're seeing a huge emphasis on increasing access to care and finding pathways to connect patients with the help they need. Looking ahead, I would hope we can harness the power of A.I. as a diagnostic tool to support doctors and clinicians.

Someone else's work, in health or beyond, that you admired lately.

We recently did an episode of  the Wondros podcast with Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom, about the challenges facing libraries today. The rise of book banning, censorship and attacks on freedom of information and expression are extremely worrying. It was powerful to hear Deborah speak about the ALA's efforts to protect one of the fundamental pillars of our democracy.

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

I'm always returning to Dante's Inferno, and the film Red River.

A visual artist or band/musician you admire.

Tom Waits

Your favorite fictional character.

Too many to name. 

Your main strength as a marketer/creative.

My desire to learn from others, and then find the best way to communicate their unique vision. And of course, when you're really listening to people, you're also learning from them. Over the last two decades, I've had the chance to interview some of the most extraordinary change-makers working at the cutting edge of their fields. Those conversations have involved a lot of listening that's expanded my knowledge of the world. All of which is vital for staying flexible and growing creatively.

Your biggest weakness.

My team is always telling me to stop and smell the roses, to celebrate the moment we're in, because I have a habit of always chasing the next new thing.

One thing that always makes you happy.

I'm happy whenever we have the chance to help our clients. It's a wonderful feeling when you've managed to tell a story that really connects with an audience.

One thing that always makes you sad.

Just the amount of work we have left to do on this planet—in terms of human rights, the climate crisis and beyond. 

Something people would find surprising about you.

I've never had a cup of coffee. 

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

We work in a number of fields, so I'm constantly working on projects that aren’t directly related to health. That said, our health-related work is some of the most energizing and exciting we get to do, so if I wasn't in health, I'd probably be looking for ways to get into it. 

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.

Advertise With Us

Featured Clio Award Winner



The best in creativity delivered to your inbox every morning.