#WFH Diaries: Jill Burgeson of Zambezi

Even as the world begins to open up amid the pandemic, most folks are still working from home. We're continuing to check in with creative professionals to see how they're faring. Here's an update from Jill Burgeson, chief strategy officer at Zambezi.

Give us a one-line bio of yourself.

Type-A hippie.

Where are you living right now, and who's with you?

Topanga, Calif., with my husband (Andy), daughter (Marek) and maniac dog (Norris).

What's your work situation like at the moment, and how is it evolving?

WFH and thankful to be as busy as ever. Finding we are working with clients in totally new ways, both logistically and with what they are looking for help with.

When do you expect to return to the office?

For as long as masks are mandatory and vaccines are not available, working onsite will be optional. Working remotely will be recommended.

Describe your socializing strategy.

I've been FaceTiming with family and close friends outside of L.A. I've also done some social-distance, outdoor friending like hiking, biking, beaching, beers in driveways and BBQs with a smaller sub-set of local friends, and mostly inane text groups to keep things fun.

How are you dealing with childcare?

Fortunately, my husband works half-days, so between half-day of school work and his help, the work weeks have been manageable. With summer here, Zambezi is being amazing and letting me get creative with PTO by staggering 10 full days off into about five weeks of mornings off. I've got all sorts of morning adventures planned.

What are you reading?

I like to rotate several books at one time, as it helps me stick with reading them: Reckless (Chrissie Hynde), Just Kids (Patti Smith), Time Is Tight (Booker T. Jones), White Fragility (Robin DiAngelo) and Breakfast of Champions (Kurt Vonnegut).

What are you watching?

We have a couple of movie nights per week and that is my extent of TV time. Finding family-friendly movies is tough, but a few we've enjoyed recently—E.T., Hidden Figures, Swiss Family Robinson, Hugo. My family doesn't indulge my penchant for rock docs, so I only get to those when I have time on my own.

What are you listening to?

Some podcasts I've enjoyed are: Broken Record (Rick Rubin + Malcom Gladwell), Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend, NPR's Fresh Air and All Songs Considered, WTF with Marc Maron. As for music, I'm on Spotify (find and follow my 'jill now' playlist @JillBurgeson) and SiriusXMU. I also do "vinyl for breakfast" and pick a record to play and a cover to examine each morning with my daughter.

How are you staying fit?

I love my early morning trail runs/hikes in Topanga State Park (see photo). It's here where I stay both mentally and physically fit, crack problems and feel my best.

Have you taken up a hobby?

I've never really spent time in the kitchen until now, but have found that I'm a fan of afternoon banana-bread baking and the vegetarian recipes from NYT Cooking. Also, I've started gardening (a bit obsessively), drawing, buying throw pillows, guitar dabbling and my daughter is teaching me how to skateboard.

An awkward moment since all this started.

The super cool "Oh shit, the Zoom has started and I didn't realize it so I'm busy muttering to myself while my team watches."

An aha! moment since all this started.

I've been examining the concept of freedom, as people and brand's relationships to it have been tested on the highest levels—from Covid to racial inequality to the political landscape. The perception of how free we feel dictates so much. I don't think I had ever fully realized that before.

What's your theory on how this is going to play out?

I think no one has any clue, really. As a strategist, I've seen countless predictions and trend reports on this topic. I am surprised every single day by what happens, which leads me to believe I have no idea how this will shake out. Personally, I've been inspired by this Jane Goodall quote I've tacked up near my computer: "What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make."

See the full #WFH Diaries series here.

Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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