Broghanne Jessamine is an Actor and the Artistic Director and Owner of Elemental Women Productions LLC. Originally from the North East of Scotland she emigrated to NYC in 2012 to pursue her career in acting. In 2018 Elemental Women Productions was founded to empower and produce women’s experiences through the arts.
Where did the idea for Elemental Women Productions come from?
I had been working in the NYC entertainment industry for 4 years and through my work as an actor I always felt that the roles listed were not the stories I wanted to tell. For some time, I would tell myself “When you are more successful those roles will come” but when you really look at it. The juicy, character driven roles are rare for women. In 2018, I had been a part of productions that were using traumatic experiences primarily of women as plot point to further the male lead’s storyline. Making him the hero and leaving the woman to yet again be the object left behind. I had been musing about producing with a couple of friends on and off and in late November 2018, in a bar with my friend, I decided to ask her to write me a play. All she would have to do is write it and I would figure out a way for us to get it on its feet. From there EWP was born out of necessity.
Women who work in the industry all face the hardship of “getting in the room” and booking their dream jobs. Being pitted against one another instead of supporting each other and all rising together. I made it a mission that the work I would produce would be developed and led by women. Requiring that our teams be made up of a least 75% female identifying people.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day is all over the place. I am a working actor alongwith being a business owner and so scheduling around rehearsals, auditions and other appointments. I usually wake up and have a cup of tea and cuddle my senior dog, Cinnamon. Chat with my husband and then get to work. I check my emails, look over my to do lists, submit for jobs, and see what needs to be done that day.
To-do lists are the reason I am productive. I had to teach myself how to become organized and keep myself focused. I tried so many things to do this, but handwritten to-do lists are the most effective for me. I try to get through 5 tasks a day. If I am out and about working, rather than doing admin, I only schedule 3 things in a day. It can be meeting a friend, chores, auditioning, rehearsals, meetings, performances and so on. I found that 3 is my max for activities, while still allowing me to have a balance and not burn out.
How do you bring ideas to life?
With a lot of blood, sweat and tears. I am one of those people that once I have something in my head there is almost nothing that can stop me from doing it. Which is both a blessing and a curse in this world.
I usually sit down, draw out a mind map and figure out if I can do it, will it work and how. Whatever it is, goals for the year, roles I would want to play, the stories I want to tell. I get it all out on a page and choose how I am going to do it.
Reminding myself that I am not perfect and need other people to help me achieve these projects. I reach out to friends, put out calls to my network and bring people on board that will help make it happen. I then remind myself that there will always be a way to improve and if I do not do whatever it is. I will never know what I needed to learn from it.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The return to focusing on local and small businesses. It brings hope to my heart that the trends are going away from huge corporations and fast production to more sustainable and meaningful purchases. I am a huge supporter of small businesses, in both my personal and professional life. I try my hardest to buy all gifts, clothing and so on from women owned businesses, even as far as mandating it in my companies operating agreement. Supporting specifically women owned started before my own company and has only grown with time
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Stubbornness. Not really a habit but absolutely something that keeps me going. I am a big fan of actions over words and so I know that to grow and improve I need to do things. I expect I will fall short in some way and not be as successful as I wish. But I am stubborn enough to get up, adapt what I was doing and do it again until it works. What is a habit in that, is reflection. Taking the time to reflect on what has happened and what you need to implement to be better.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Make friends with a lawyer and/or an accountant. I cannot accurately explain how many times I have had questions about accounts or contracts and other various law topics that would have been a quick ask that ultimately took way too long to figure out. Also, that things do not usually go the way you think they will and that is alright. Be true to who you are and know where and when you need to ask for help.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Everyone should be required to work at least 6 months in food service or retail positions. After working in the service industry in different positions your respect for other humans grows. You see another perspectives and are become more adaptable to situations. It is a humbling and strengthening experience that everyone can benefit from.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Share and empower other entrepreneurs in your space. Having a connection with others who are working in the same things you are doing is not weak. It is not cheating or losing to the competition. It allows room for collaboration and growth. Reaching out to those people and asking them questions, getting a coffee, sharing your difficulties, it really helps. It provides a space where you are not alone in what you are doing, and you are showing others that there is more to the world than being the winner. We all grow and are more successful when we work together. Sharing that other person’s achievement does not diminish yours.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Knowing that I will not do things perfectly the first time I do it. It allowed me to actually do what I am doing and also allowed more space for reflection without beating myself up when something did not go to plan.
This in turn allows me to take risks and continue to strive to create bigger and better work.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Not realizing that I am a part of a bigger problem. I started my company with the mission to empower all women’s experiences, but I was not bringing on and seeking out women in this industry of different backgrounds, race, sexual identity and life experience. I was calling on my own circle which was necessary to begin a company but should have changed earlier than it has. I am still in the process of overcoming this failure. I have updated our bylaws and operating agreement to include clear messaging and mandate ongoing growth and change in regard to what stories we tell, how we hire, and what we stand for. The good thing is we caught it within the first two years of business meaning that implementing these policies now will make sure we are held accountable as we grow.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
A system where you are looking for grants and you fill in your information about yourself, your business, your metrics and its algorithm matches you with grants you qualify for. This would streamline grants searching exponentially. Allowing for more time to thoughtfully apply and great chance of success. This system would also save your information and answers to questions that would then allow for efficient appliaction processes
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I bought a desk. Usually I am out and about. Since the pandemic, I have been working from home, at my dining table. Which has become overcome with scripts, notes and other various objects that are not easy to clear to use for the tables intended purpose. I had finally had enough and bought a small desk so I can have a designated workspace that I won’t always be thinking needed to be cleared up so I can eat dinner.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Google Calendar or any online calendar. I have both a physical diary and my google calendar. It is a godsend to be able to schedule on the go. When I am running around or trying to schedule with a friend. I have my physical one so I can write things down and remember but my online calendar syncs all the different calendars I need. It’s color coordinated by each one and is easy to use.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I believe everyone should read ‘Furiously Happy‘ by Jenny Lawson. Firstly, It is hilarious. I could not stop myself from cackling on the subway while reading. Secondly, the way she approaches mental health and balances it with her career taught me a lot in how I can look at where my own health is and both there is a bright side.
What is your favorite quote?
“My mother did not raise me to ask for permission to lead.”- Ayanna Pressley
- Empowering and supporting others will raise everyone up
- Doing is more important than being perfect. There will always be room for growth.
- Acknowledge where you need to improve and implement that change.
- Find your balance in work.