STOKED x Huge: Interview with Jeanne Manuli
Interview by Antonia Smith
How long have you been mentoring with STOKED?
I’m now in my third year of mentoring with STOKED. Every year I get a little more involved: year 1, I was mentoring TBLS (who placed for Spoiled, a female skateboarding brand); year 2, I moved to Hudson where I co-lead the students to the EOY showcase win as well as build curriculum and train the coaches; year 3, I’m co-leading at Gotham and on the Stoked x Huge organizing committee.
What do you like most about the Huge x STOKED design thinking program?
I love to pass along my passion for user-centric brands and branding to students, and watch them find their natural talents by solving user problems and creating brands.
How does mentoring high school students affect or change your thinking about your work?
Professionally, mentoring high school students keeps me fresh and grounded in my thinking; no “ivory tower”.
Personally, I find their successes really rewarding.
What is your most memorable mentoring moment?
Hands down, has to be when Hudson (an underdog) jointly won the EOY showcase. In January, they were still undecided on their solution but we organized an exclusive product development workshop at Huge, including time in the sound studio, which opened their eyes and minds to a world of possibility. From there, it was enthusiasm and energy all the way to the finish line.
Another moment was mentoring the coaches. We ran a brand personality and naming session with them for themselves. Watching them learn new techniques was very rewarding.