Listen to your gut: It’s tough to trust your gut early on when making decisions; you think you need to rely solely on logic and data. I have realized that our intuition often integrates subconscious insights and feelings that data alone cannot capture. Trusting your gut can lead to more fulfilling career choices.
As part of my series about “individuals and organizations making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jeremy Hodges
Jeremy Hodges is an award winning creative director who has directed a myriad of immersive experiences, large-scale installations and live music performances. He is the founder of Project Art Collective and an online youth multicultural magazine called Voice of Young Dreamers (V.O.Y.D.). Most recently, he and his firm led the creative direction and build of the critically-acclaimed museum: Tupac Shakur: Wake Me When I’m Free. Hodges founded his first agency (Entity Global) when he was just 24 years of age. Despite no formal training, his company has worked with Adidas, Bud-Light, Redbull, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, and more. Beyond brands, he has collaborated with some of our greatest creators, including Jay-Z, Bill Gates, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Kendrick Lamar, and Lady Gaga. Hodges started LOVEMORE because there is simply too much negativity in the world. His goal is to create an ever-evolving concept that celebrates the beauty of all people through a simple word. LOVE.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
First off, I want to express my gratitude for the opportunity to be a part of this interview series. It’s a pleasure to share my journey with you and I am thrilled to shed some light on how I found myself on this specific path. My career story has been crafted by a blend of passion, hard work and serendipity. From a young age, I’ve always had a deep fascination with creativity, particularly in the realms of entertainment and music. This love of the arts and my innate curiosity were the seeds that would eventually sprout into my career.
It all began during my college years when, at the tender age of 19, I took my first bold step into entrepreneurship. What started as a simple desire to throw parties quickly evolved into the creation of my very first company. Those days were filled with excitement, challenges and a constant learning curve as I navigated the world of event planning and entertainment.
By the time I reached the age of 24, something remarkable happened. I began receiving requests to take on corporate brands as clients. It was a turning point that I couldn’t have predicted. I seized these opportunities with both hands, and one thing led to another, propelling me into creating Project Art Collective, my creative art studio.
As I continued down this unexpected path, I began to notice a common thread in my work: the power of creativity can shape perspectives and spark change. It struck me that through art and entertainment, I have a unique platform to connect with people on a profound level, to inspire empathy and to drive meaningful transformations in our world.
That is why today you see my company LOVEMORE, I find myself deeply committed to using my career as a canvas for positive change. The world is lacking empathy and kindness, but we can harness the magic of art and creativity to bridge gaps, foster understanding and, ultimately, make the world a better place.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?
One of the most fascinating experiences I’ve had as a leader was the opportunity to lead the design and production of the Tupac Shakur: Wake Me When I’m Free Museum. It was a project that not only ignited my creative passions, but also deepened my understanding of the profound impact individuals like Tupac and his mother, Afeni, can have on our society.
The process of creating this museum was a journey into the heart and soul of Tupac Shakur’s revolutionary background and his powerful legacy. As I delved into the rich history and messages behind his music and activism, it sparked a realization within me. I understood that my role as a marketer and creative was more than just promoting products or services; it was about using my skills to drive change, ignite conversations and open doors for others.
Tupac’s life was a testament to the idea that art and activism can be powerful tools for social transformation. His commitment to addressing societal issues and advocating for change through his music and the words resonated deeply with me. It inspired me to use my platform and abilities to contribute to meaningful causes and promote positive change in the world.
It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
My biggest mistake was when I was just starting out. I was so focused on chasing money and financial success that I often overlooked the bigger picture.
I was so determined to make it profitable and, in doing so, became laser-focused on every opportunity that promised financial gains. One day, I received an email from a potential client that seemed like a golden ticket, but once it was all said and done, I had my team handing out rice samples. After that ordeal, a majority of the team left and said this wasn’t what they expected. The lesson I learned from the misadventure was profound. I came to quickly understand that money is indeed a tool and is not the ultimate goal. I needed a purpose for myself and the team. In retrospect, the humorous mistake taught me that success is not measured solely by monetary wealth, but by the positive impact we make in the lives of others and the difference we create in the world. This lesson continues to guide my career and life choices today.
Can you describe how you or your organization is making a significant social impact?
LOVEMORE is making a significant social impact through our commitment to spreading love, positivity and unity. I wholeheartedly believe in the incredible potential of art to inspire and unite individuals across diverse backgrounds and experiences. It’s this belief that drives the company to make a meaningful difference in our society.
Our approach to creating a social impact is centered around curating a diverse and compelling collection of artistic works. These works, which span various mediums such as visual art, music, apparel, literature and more, are carefully crafted to convey the profound messages of love, positivity and unity that are at the core of our mission.
We plan to establish partnerships with various non-profit organizations, each aligned with causes that resonate with our message and values. Our aim is twofold. Firstly, we seek to raise awareness about the critical issues addressed by these non-profits, shedding light on their missions and inspiring a broader audience to get involved. Secondly, we harness the financial resources generated from our artistic collections to make a tangible impact, contributing a portion of sales to the causes that matter most to us and our society.
In essence, LOVEMORE is dedicated to using the transformative power of art to inspire, connect, and support causes that uplift our society. We are committed to leaving a lasting legacy of love and unity, and we’re excited about the journey ahead as we continue to make a significant impact on society.
Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?
I can share the story about our collaboration with Diversify the Stage and their commitment to supporting underrepresented communities in the live event and music industry. The lack of access to resources, limited opportunities and absence of mentorships are just a few of the challenges these communities face. Through our collections and fundraising efforts, we give people a chance to take the DTS apprenticeship program specifically designed to provide individuals with the opportunities and mentorship they need to break into the industry.
Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?
- One of the most crucial steps toward solving the problem is to halt the divisive rhetoric and actions that fracture communities. It’s essential for politicians, community leaders, and society at large to prioritize unity over division. Encourage respectful dialogue and finding common ground can bridge gaps and create a more harmonious and cooperative atmosphere.
- Unity is a learned behavior, and it can be cultivated from a young age through education and community initiatives. Schools, community organizations, and politicians can play a pivotal role in teaching the values of empathy, understanding, and collaboration. Implementing programs that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion can help future generations grow up with a strong sense of unity and commitment to working together for the common good.
- Instead of approaching problems from a polarized perspective, community leaders and politicians can work together to find common-sense, collaborative solutions. This means putting aside partisan interests and focusing on the needs and concerns of the entire community.
In summary, addressing the root of the problem requires a commitment to unity, cooperation, and empathy. By putting an end to division, teaching unity and seeking collaborative solutions, we can create a society that is better equipped to address complex challenges and build a more inclusive and harmonious future for all.
How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?
Leadership, to me, means empathy because empathetic leaders are not only concerned with achieving goals and objectives but, also, with the well-being and growth of their team. They create a positive and inclusive work environment where individuals feel heard, valued and motivated to contribute their best. Empathy is a powerful tool that enables leaders to build strong relationships, foster trust and inspire people to achieve greatness.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why.
1. Mindset is the foundation for everything: When I started my career, I wish someone had emphasized the importance of mindset. I learned that self-doubt and not fully believing in yourself can hinder your creativity and output. Viewing challenges as opportunities for growth will increase your confidence and productivity, leading to better outcomes.
2. Don’t trade your time for money: In the early stages of my career, I focused solely on maximizing my income by working long hours. However, I soon realized I was neglecting my personal life and health. I ended up getting put in hospital with stress-related heart issues. That situation made me understand the importance of work-life balance and spending time with the ones around you.
3. Be Transparent and authentic: When you work in a client service business, you are taught to be political in what you tell a client so you don’t lose the business. So, I would often keep my concerns and opinions to myself, fearing that speaking up may jeopardize the relationship. I fully believe now that was wrong. Being open and authentic in communication was liberating and beneficial for my career. With my clients and colleagues, I now share my concerns about a project’s direction, which leads to constructive discussion and improved outcomes. This taught me that honesty and transparency foster trust, enhance collaboration and help build long-term, meaningful relationships.
4. It’s OK to make mistakes: I was terrified of making them early in my career. I believed perfection was the only path to success, but perfection can be paralyzing. There have been plenty of instances where mistakes were made, which had consequences for the team. Instead of pointing fingers or hiding, I took responsibility and openly communicated my mistake. Surprisingly, my honesty was appreciated, and we worked as a team to rectify the situation. Mistakes are opportunities for growth and learning, and openness will strengthen your professional reputation when handled with humility.
5. Listen to your gut: It’s tough to trust your gut early on when making decisions; you think you need to rely solely on logic and data. I have realized that our intuition often integrates subconscious insights and feelings that data alone cannot capture. Trusting your gut can lead to more fulfilling career choices.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I’m passionate about the movement I’ve already begun with LOVEMORE. If I were to inspire a broader movement, it would be an expansion of what LOVEMORE represents. I envision a global movement that creates a world where kindness, creativity and empathy are celebrated and where individuals are inspired to make a difference in their own unique ways. It’s about harnessing the collective power of individuals and organizations to create a more compassionate, united and harmonious world.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I have a favorite word, LOVE. Love is my life’s greatest lesson, teaching me the boundless capacity of the human heart to both give and receive, and reminding me that in its purest form, love has the power to heal, connect and transform.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
Meeting former President Barack Obama would be an incredible opportunity. A private meeting would be so valuable for the following reasons:
- Empathetic Leadership: President Obama is widely admired for his empathetic leadership style. His ability to connect with people from diverse backgrounds, understanding their perspectives, and show genuine concern for their well-being is truly remarkable.
- Global Perspective: His experience as a world leader would offer a unique global perspective and would be invaluable for anyone seeking to make a positive impact on a larger scale.
- Policy and Change: Discussing his experiences in enacting change and navigating the complexities of policy making would provide valuable lessons for me and anyone aspiring to drive meaningful change in society.
- Personal Growth: Beyond his political career, President Obama has also shared personal anecdotes and life lessons in his memoirs and public speeches. Meeting him on a personal level could offer an opportunity to discuss his own growth and development, as well as the role of mentorship in shaping future leaders.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
You can support and read more about LOVEMORE at www.lovemore2day.com or follow us on Instagram at @lovemore2day
This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success in your great work!
Social Impact Heroes: Why & How Jeremy Hodges of LOVEMORE Is Helping To Change Our World was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.