Relationships and storytelling connect people with people.
“It’s important to make people’s voices heard, whether it’s a student talking about overcoming an obstacle, a 50-year-old woman talking about how she overcame something in her life, or talking uncomfortable issues like Alzheimer’s disease,” said Jamie Phillips.
Phillips is the rustmedia project manager. If you’ve experienced the company’s projects like the Next Project for college students, the Shipyard Music Festival, Survivor Series, or the Semoball Awards for high school athletes in southeast Missouri, you’ve seen the Phillips work. She’s often behind the scenes, making sure all aspects of the event are taken care of, from the people to the food and the myriad creative components coming from the agency.
With a bachelor’s degree in advertising and a minor in marketing, the New Madrid native worked for southeast Missouri after graduating from Murray State University. After a brief stint away from the newspaper, she returned in 2014 to take on a new role at rustmedia.
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Phillips said the Next Project was launched in 2020 to highlight students who are making a difference. She said it recognized students who excelled in school — not just academically or athletically, but perhaps in community service or entrepreneurship.
“Our inaugural Next Project class was in 2020. We had 10 young people doing great things in their communities, but because of the pandemic, we had a video presentation for each student at the drive-in theater to honor them in December of that year,” she said. “We just completed our second year of students with 10 honors and were able to host several in-person events where students and community mentors were able to interact. »
Phillips said the Next Project program matched students with mentors and was able to give each of the students a $1,000 scholarship to Southeast Missouri State University. She said it is an evolving project that she is very passionate about.
“For me, we don’t do anything alone. The more you are involved, the more connections you make and the better you improve the world around you. We have to have each other to get things done,” Phillips said.
“My father influenced me and pushed me to get involved. He died recently but he gave and gave and gave. Not just financially, but of his time – sitting on a board or being part of a band. If there was something to do, he did it.
Phillips was inspired by her grandmother who also worked as an election volunteer. In 2020, when Cape Girardeau was short of poll workers due to COVID-19, Phillips stepped up by volunteering his time to help. She said she remembered her grandmother working with a “huge, huge book and she put a sticker next to the person’s name. She’s long gone, but I think it would be interesting for her to sit down and hear me talk about what it was like in 2020.”
Phillips said she moved to Cape Girardeau to be closer to her parents. Her mother inspired her to get involved in the local Alzheimer’s association. Phillips said his mother was diagnosed with the disease when Phillips was 18. She passed away in 2016.
“It was hard watching my mum slip away and how much my dad had to take care of her. I didn’t know much about Alzheimer’s disease so I joined and participated in the walk community and I became an educator. It’s important to reach out and help others – to make those connections in life,” Phillips said.
She married Kent Phillips in 2018. She has been involved with United Way of Southeast Missouri and is a member of the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce.