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Fresh Faces 2021: Jessica Doren

The experiential marketing expert founded a new community-driven event series, Served Up, in the middle of the pandemic.

BizBash Fresh Faces, Jessica Doren
Photo: Courtesy of Jessica Doren

Jessica Doren is a freelance experiential marketing expert and event producer who has worked with brands like Amazon Prime Video, Buzzfeed, REVOLT and TikTok. In July 2020, she founded the Served Up event series, an in-person gathering that celebrates thought-provoking conversations around timely topics through artistic expression. Doren lives in New York.

How she got her start: "I got my start in the industry running events within the college I was attending, University of Florida, and PA'ing for any events I could find taking place in Miami. Once in the 'real world,' I shadowed different producers and ended up locking an entry role with a notable experiential agency in New York."

Gap her company fills in the industry: "I founded Served Up to create meaningful events that celebrate individuality and provide a platform to unpack conversations around timely topics through artistic expression. Each event is rooted in three core elements that connect us as human beings—conversation, music and art. Those elements are brought to life through the lens of the featured topic. The original gap Served Up was able to fill was to provide a thoughtful opportunity to reconnect the New York community during the darker days of the pandemic (September to October), while building the blueprint of how we can approach connecting IRL.

Served Up provides the industry an unapologetic way to bridge the gap between bold ideas and collaborative action. It gives a platform to illuminate the diverse perspectives we have around topics like mental health, diversity, sustainability, etcetera, and exposes them in a relatable way allowing for more thoughtful community impact."

Biggest lesson from the last year: "Navigating the pandemic was a constant mental exercise. I went from running large-scale events to staring at a recipe box for banana bread. When it felt like the world was turning its back on live experiences, I continued to remind myself that there was virtually no replacement for it.

The biggest thing that this past year taught me was the appreciation of time—time with friends and family, time to read or get lost in a moment. As event producers, our time is one of the most important assets—it provides the benchmark of what we can achieve for each project, and so often our personal time is taken to support in making the unthinkable, reality."

Career goals: "To create a moment or platform that sparks inspiration in others."

Advice for her peers: "Collaborate! We don't need to pressure ourselves to have all the answers—that's the beauty of this generation! There are so many people that have knowledge about everything and want to share that knowledge with others. By being open to collaborating, asking for help and inviting other perspectives in, it provides the opportunity for your idea to reach a higher level."

Follow Served Up on Instagram at @servedup.live.