Alverno College, for more than 135 years, has sought to educate and empower women to realize their leadership, the power of their voice and their potential to lead in the world of work. Alverno’s support of The Future is Female continues to demonstrate and exemplify these efforts by supporting the stories of courage, resilience and strength of character of current, past and future female leaders in the Milwaukee community! #AlvernoStrongJordan Deschambre is the Director of Marketing and Communications for the Historic Third Ward Association. Deschambres loves her job and believes that her eternal curiosity has brought her to this point.
Dechambre was previously the managing editor of MKE Lifestyle magazine. She has also been a fashion expert and host of the Bon-Ton Department Store Show across the country and has completed extensive work for nonprofits in Milwaukee.
But now her heart is in the Third Ward and its many community offerings.
“The growth of Gallery Night MKE since my tenure at the Association fills my heart,” says Deschambres. “I was very lucky. But the best part is that I still think the best is yet to come.”
Here are 8 questions answered by each woman in the series:
1. What does active listening mean to you? Do you consider yourself a good listener, and if so, how has this helped you in your personal and professional relationships?
Jordan Deschambre: To me, active listening means not only listening, but actually listening rumor what does someone say
And I freely admit that I struggle with it. Every day.
One of my Capricorn strengths is wanting to solve any problem the moment I hear about it. Before anyone finishes a sentence, I’m already formulating a plan. But that’s not always what people want. This is responding, not listening. What it actually does is take ownership away from the person sharing with you, and in turn you make yourself more important in the conversation.
This is not the intention, but without listening and fully absorbing the information, you often miss the most important nuances and details. Sometimes a person just needs an ear, a shoulder. And often they would like to come to their own conclusion, without outside input. Or sometimes they just want to be I heard. Everyone deserves that respect.
Over the past few years, I have focused on the act of listening and offering advice and counsel only if requested. It’s a daily battle.
2. What was the last topic you were curious about and then went on to learn more about?
Let me tell you, if curiosity killed the cat, this kitten would be long gone. And it was because of my strong curiosity that my career took the turns that led me to where I am today.
My degree is in Journalism and I started first as a magazine editor, then my interest in public relations led me down that path. My lifelong love of fashion led me to my role as a style expert at Bob-Ton Department Stores. Then, delving more into branding and marketing, I started my own lifestyle marketing business and eventually accepted my current role at the Historic Third Ward Association.
You have to be endlessly curious—and have a little courage! — to allow your career to grow and change in so many ways. It’s certainly not something you can plan for.
Lately, I’ve been fascinated by how social media—especially Instagram—is going through a transition now that the “influencer” effect isn’t as powerful as it used to be. People just want to be “sold” so much. So how will businesses change their approach to social media now that “well, Kim Kardashian drinks it so it must be good” is no longer the mindset? I’ve been studying national and local brands to see how they’re changing their approach and returning to the idea of more honest, genuine content and communication.
3. If you can’t figure something out on your own, what source or person do you turn to first? How long do you wait before asking for help? As a woman, do you think you wait longer to reach out?
This is an interesting question. I try to exhaust all options before asking for help, but I don’t think it’s because I’m a woman. I think it’s because I’ve worked independently, from home, for most of my career. I’m an only child too, so you’re just “clearing things up”.
Now that I work in an office environment—which is a whole new world for me—I consult with our executive director, Jim Plaisted, when I can’t figure something out or want his opinion or institutional knowledge on a particular topic. He always gives honest advice and sometimes I’m taking it. But even if I don’t directly implement his solution, I use his advice to inform how I move forward.
I also have a wonderful network of trusted friends who have offered so much valuable guidance over the years. They are incredibly accomplished in their own right and I feel very lucky to have them in my life.
4. What are your personal values? Who and/or what inspired them and how do these values influence their decision-making process?
I was raised by my mother and maternal grandparents – and they all helped form and shape my personal values. My grandfather was my hero and truly the most authentic, genuine, caring and compassionate person I have ever met. There is no doubt that his gentle nature and kindness had the biggest impact on my values.
My values are quite simple: be kind, do good. I have lived by this motto for as long as I can remember. Hold doors. Smile at people on the street. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Accept. A hug. simple These are the simple, most basic values that are often overlooked or forgotten. But they have the greatest impact on our society.
5. Technology and online communication/meeting/social networking have definitely changed over the years. Do these things help or hinder your growth – or both?
Absolutely both. Technology makes it so much easier for us to connect — especially for satellite work or with friends and family around the world. But it also means that for many of us, you are never interrupted from work. I am an absolute workaholic; I’ll be the first to admit it. And even when I’m trying to relax, I look at my phone or computer and think about all the things I’m doing could to be finished. I think that’s a Gen X trait. Learning how to let go — and knowing that it’s not only okay but valuable to disconnect — is something I’m working on a lot right now.
Perhaps an even bigger problem, however, is the impact on personal communication. Human contact is so incredibly important and I feel we are losing it in the workplace and for many people in our personal lives. Instead of a call, email, or Zoom, I’ll have coffee every day. So much is lost when you don’t have that personal connection.
I think technology is a great way to supplement our communication, but I don’t think it should be the only way we communicate.
6. Where is the farthest you’ve traveled and what’s a thing or two you’ve learned from the experience? And what surprised you?
The furthest I’ve traveled is Europe — France, Great Britain, Italy. I spent a week in a former monastery turned B&B in Tuscany before the pandemic. Although I had spent time abroad before, I had never stayed in one place for so long.
Although I missed modern conveniences – like when you really need a pharmacy on a Sunday … I felt much more connected to life and the idea of to be alive. The food became tastier; just one tomato was a flavor explosion. The air was fresh. The natural beauty was almost overwhelming. It made me really appreciate the beauty that is everywhere.
One thing I learned? I never want to drive a car in Rome!
7. What are your favorite art forms? How do you challenge yourself to actively engage in art?
The arts are a vital part of my life—and not only because of the inspiration and emotion the arts provoke, but also as the organizer of Gallery Night MKE.
I’ve always been a lover of music and the performing arts — and in the last few years I’ve come to appreciate the visual arts more than ever.
During one of our recent Gallery Night events, we had a local news station on site interviewing gallery owners and artists in the Marshall Building. I was with the team to facilitate the interviews and was struck by the incredible personal stories of how each of these people ended up in Milwaukee creating or curating art. But there was one common theme – happiness. Everyone, even if they are here because of tragedy, finds solace, inspiration and truth in art. And that’s pretty strong. And it is too often overlooked.
I spend so much time working to grow and develop Gallery Night MKE because I truly believe that art is transformative. I love seeing people’s faces when I gallery hop. You can physically see their expressions change when they are inspired, uplifted, touched. This is incredibly powerful.
8. How do you/your work move Milwaukee forward?
I spend my days – and often nights – celebrating the people and places that make Milwaukee – and the historic Third Ward in particular – so special.
We have nearly 400 businesses in the Third Ward alone – many of which are small businesses. And that’s why my work is the BEST. I could tell the world about places like Lela, Saffron, Milwaukee Public Market Traders, MARN Art + Culture Hub — the list goes on and on.
A city is only as strong as the people and businesses that build it. And that’s what I try to do every day.