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Professional Experience

2017Current

Freelance Copywriter, Change Consultant, Entrepreneurial Thinker

ElissaGjertson.com

Freelance Copywriter: 
From internal and external communications to social and digital posts to magazines and newspapers, I translate complex concepts into easy-to-understand and relatable content. I put myself in my reader's shoes. I help brands and businesses make an impact.

Change Consultant:
From Fortune 500 to SMB organizations, I lead IT, HR and digital workplace transformation via innovative employee engagement workshops and change management consulting. I am a seasoned presenter, facilitator and strategic leader. I can take your project to a new level.

Entrepreneurial Thinker:
From co-founding an employee engagement & communications company (frankitchangekit.com) to co-creating and co-authoring an innovative travel e-guide (evolutionthroughvacation.com) to creating a hub for cabin-enthusiasts (cabinspiration.com), I build creative, strategic businesses for diverse audiences.

2005Current

Co-Founder, Product Development, Copywriter, Trainer

Frank IT Change Kit

I co-founded the internal change-communications agency, Frank, in 2005 to help build "frank communication" within organizations going through enterprise-wide IT, digital and workforce business transformation. Today, the award-winning Frank IT Change Kit has evolved into the easiest way for project teams to create and deploy ready-made change management and employee communications tools based on a best-practice change process that delivers.

Transferring principles of consumer marketing to internal comms, I've co-developed and written all Kit content including IT, HR and digital communication modules, organizational change management tools, training materials and workshops as well as all company branding & marketing materials. 

In addition, I am an engaging speaker, seasoned facilitator and subject-matter expert on employee change-communication during IT, HR and digital transformation.

Currently seeking large-scale distribution partners, this 12-year journey has resulted in thousands of global employees engaging with workforce transformation in new ways. Customers include GE, Toyota, PepsiCo, Cargill, Marathon Petroleum, Revlon, Andersen Corporation, BMO, New York Life and many others.

2006Current

Co-Creator, Co-Author

Evolution Through Vacation

With a great friend from college, I co-created and co-wrote "Evolution Through Vacation," the e-Guide that helps travelers use vacations as a personal development adventure.

Why vacation? Truth is, most people use vacations to “vacate” their lives. Evolution Through Vacation challenges this notion and equips readers to use travel as a living laboratory. Then, the e-guide illustrates how to turn “vacation energy” into “everyday energy.”

2017Current

Creator, Curator, Writer

Cabinspiration

Inspired by a recent move to Northwestern Wisconsin, I channel my love of cabin interiors (and cabin-life musings) into Cabinspiration.com. A curated e-catalog of fresh cabin style and insights about cabin living, the blog will soon expand to include e-commerce of original art & photography.

20042005

Account Executive, Writer

Hodder

From managing projects to writing scripts and spots, my time at Hodder was an educational one. Coming from traditional advertising, Hodder introduced me to the world of entertainment marketing and digital "Out-of-Home" content as a value-add to businesses and consumers alike. 

Clients included ABC, Lifetime Television for Women, Disney, Kerzner International, LodgeNet, Walgreens and Meijer.

20042004

Senior Copywriter

FISH! Philosophy (Charthouse Learning)

I was recruited to lead the Charthouse creative team in the global re-branding of The FISH! Philosophy. 

With this product, I truly learned the importance of organizational alignment and employee engagement as well as the integral nature of role and soul through the Charthouse mantra of "helping people live fully in all parts of their lives, especially the major portion they spend at work."

In addition, I assisted in the the successful, U.S. launch of the product extension, FISH! For Schools. This included an exciting and fulfilling project: editor of the book "Schools of FISH!", an incredible collection of transforming stories — from teachers to administrators, at all levels across the country — addressing the issues teachers deal with every day.

20012004

Senior Copywriter

Star Tribune

As an experimental initiative, I was hired to help build an internal "agency" within the Star Tribune Marketing group. The goal was to offer a value-add service to customers interested in advertising with the Star Tribune through creative services. Our team produced creative for clients including Nieman Marcus, Summit Beer and Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund to name a few.

In addition, my team was the agency of record for The Roanoke Times in Roanoke Virginia. I was responsible for the creative branding and copywriting for all marketing pieces (TV, billboards, direct, inserts, etc.) as well as marketing strategy. This relationship continued as a freelance project for many years after I left Star Tribune.

Finally, I also wrote a column about modern "life at work" under the pseudonym "Employ-E" for the weekly lifestyle magazine Vita.mn.

20012001

Copywriter

Freelance

In between full-time gigs, I drummed up some freelance work. Clients included The Hartford and Target.

This time also pushed me into the exploration of magazine work and my writing was published in Midwest Home & Garden magazine with a riveting little article about seasonal design.

20002001

Copywriter

Colle+McVoy

Copywriter for CODE50, Colle+McVoy's niche agency specializing in marketing to consumers aged 50 and better, I created campaigns for clients including: American Express, Johnson & Johnson / Merck, Turkish Tourism Board, Winnebago and Onan. 

In addition, I spoke as a Subject Matter Expert on Boomer Marketing at events and conferences. (The most memorable? The Aruba Certified Travel Agent Conference.)

As a side project, I also co-led the first redesign and rewrite of C+M's corporate website. While the site has since been updated, this marked my first exciting taste of the power of the web through user functionality, inspiring content and innovative technology.

19972000

Copywriter

The Sandcastle Group

My first official job out of college, The Sandcastle Group taught me so much about marketing, advertising and PR. 

A niche agency focused on "Mature Marketing" – or marketing to consumers aged 50 and better – I learned the true meaning of "target audience" and the importance of speaking a target's language and meeting consumers where THEY are. 

Participating in multiple aging research studies and building off Sandcastle's proprietary "Mature Excitement" themes, I co-created award-winning campaigns for clients including American Express, New Balance, Minnesota Department of Health, United Health Group, Jones Harrison Residence, AdvoLife, Omron and Starkey Labs.

Education

Testimonials

Tim Sumption, Creative Director

"I had the pleasure of working with Elissa both as a colleague and as a business partner. She is amazingly creative, bright, intuitive and crazy savvy when it comes to all things advertising, marketing and promotion. Her passion for marketing will come through loud and clear in any conversation as well as her wonderful personality. I can't rave enough about Elissa!"

Amy Walsh, Internal Communications Director, PepsiCo

“I have worked with Elissa for several years now in my role in internal communications at PepsiCo. I love working with Elissa because of her positive attitude, responsiveness, creative and fun ideas, and good old-fashioned top-notch writing and editing skills. The campaigns she helped us develop and implement as long as 18 months ago have legs and are gaining new attention and fans as we move onto new audiences. I highly recommend Elissa as a creative and strategic business partner who is also a real joy to work with."

Jon Osmond, Web Specialist, Medtronic

"Elissa is extremely enthusiastic about her work which is infectious. She is a terrific collaborator with exceptional knowledge of how best to harness the power of the web. As a web developer, it's fantastic to watch her share her creative visions and empower people in areas they may not otherwise venture into online while keeping projects focused and on task. I appreciate her intelligence, judgment, creativity, and sense of humor and look forward to working with her again and again."

Jane Messenger, Creative Director, Star Tribune

"Working with Elissa was a wonderful charge of electricity every day. She is full of energy and optimism and possesses an exceptional creative mind. Elissa has a smart business sense and her collaborative approach and cheerful exuberance make working with her a pleasure."

Brian Bjerketvedt, Art Director, Lifetime Fitness

“A talented writer, strategist and entrepreneur, Elissa always brings a high level of energy and ideas to a client's brand. She is also one of the most upbeat, authentic, courageous souls I know. Now if only her clients would follow suit more often!”