Jessica Hardwick, Founder
“The goal was simple: I would build the company that would change the world. Call me Pollyanna (it’s not unprecedented!), but I believe that, given the opportunity, people will do the right thing and work together to make the world a better place.”
Jessica’s path has not been a traditional one. Her professional life took off at Silicon Graphics, on the cusp of the 90s Internet boom. The opportunities were plentiful, and SGI was at the forefront of the digital revolution. An entry-level job in tech support quickly parlayed into increasingly responsible positions; she earned nine promotions in four years. Part of it was timing, no question – but it was at SGI that Jessica first recognized her core strengths. First, she is ‘bilingual’; she is able to communicate with the technical staff, and translate their findings into layman’s terms, bridging the gap of understanding between technology and marketing that so often exists in the high tech industry. Secondly, she was (and continues to be) always looking for a better, more efficient idea. Good enough isn’t, and the way it’s always been done isn’t always the way it should be.
That is when Jessica started to get the entrepreneurial bug. She has always believed strongly in the power of the individual, and how working together, as individuals, we can facilitate fundamental change:
“I believe we all have an innate sense of good. I decided that if I was going to change the world, to make it a better place, that I couldn’t do it alone.”
Jessica began to foster her natural leadership skills. It is her nature to see the best in people, to recognize their strengths and to nurture them to maximize their talents and abilities. A company can change things – but it is people who really make it happen.
A natural leader and team builder, Jessica created and ran two companies staffed by equity-only employees; geek2chic.com, an online pop culture magazine that was among the first to match advertising to content, and SwapThing.com, an online barter site that generated over 3 million listings and 180,000 registered users through the use of grassroots marketing strategies. She later started SavvySiteStrategy.com, a consulting firm with an emphasis on Digital Marketing. As a consultant, Jessica spent 10+ years managing key projects for clients that included Fox Interactive Media, Televisa/esmas, Reuter’s, and Crain Communications.
This diverse background and expertise, paired with a degree in Economics, allowed Jessica to integrate startup innovation into a corporate environment, with a strong emphasis in Healthcare and Biotech industries. While at Cedars Sinai Medical Center, she redesigned their main website, paring it down to 6,000 pages and optimizing it for usability and search. At Genomic Health, Inc., Jessica managed a portfolio of ten websites and led a team to develop an Integrated Strategic Plan for all Digital strategies, including websites, sponsorships, and social media. By recognizing inefficiency, and re-engineering processes that were no longer working, Jessica led these teams to create a portfolio of global websites that came in on time and under budget.
Adopting an infant daughter in 2010 changed her perspective, although her ultimate goal remained the same. She moved to Michigan in 2013, to raise her daughter in a smaller community, and to embrace the slower pace and family-focused culture of a small town. Through Evolution Digital, Jessica hopes to inspire a whole new generation of game-changers; with creativity and teamwork, anything is possible.
“I used to want to start the company that would change the world. Now I realize that it is bigger than that – and perhaps not so simple after all! Moving forward, I hope to inspire others; to guide them towards informed decisions that will be profitable and economically viable, while remaining ethical and fostering social benefit. Changing the world is a group effort!”
Julie Pliska ~ Content
Like the rest of the Evolution Digital team, Julie has a varied background. Over the course of her career, she has worn many hats – and many hairstyles! As a Journalism major, Julie always wanted to be a writer, but the path to that dream was a circuitous, albeit educational one.
Born and raised in Michigan, Julie spent several years living in Los Angeles, where she enjoyed a varied and fulfilling career in the beauty field, working as a hairstylist and technical educator as well as in sales. In 2000, she switched careers to finally pursue her dream of writing. As a content manager for a lifestyle magazine website, Julie wrote articles on a variety of topics, as well as editing other writers’ work, and managing a posting schedule for the site. As one of the first websites to tie advertising to content, geek2chic.com helped to get her interested in the power of digital marketing, and she has never looked back.
A position at The Hollywood Reporter added another layer of Marketing expertise, as Julie assisted with a number of special events, eventually managing their biggest event, the Key Art Awards. Recognizing excellence in movie and television marketing, the Key Art Awards cover a variety of media, including print, movie trailers and digital properties (websites). Julie was closely involved in all aspects of the awards process, from submissions and judging to planning and promoting the awards ceremony.
At Evolution Digital, Julie is responsible for creating and editing all content. If you find a typo (highly unlikely), blame Julie! Nothing goes on the Evolution Digital site, or any of our client sites or social pages, without first being subjected to Julie’s eagle eye and her insistence on proper spelling and grammar!
Samantha Adcock ~ Creative
In the Evolution Digital toolbox, Samantha is the creative ‘glue’ that holds it all together. A Bachelor’s degree in Advertising and Marketing from Northwood University, paired with an insane knowledge of pop culture, make Sam invaluable as Creative lead. “That’s a Sam thing” is a phrase heard around the Evolution Digital office a dozen times a day!
As the youngest member of the management team, Samantha nevertheless brings a varied list of accomplishments to the mix. Her experience working for Creative 360, as well as a number of freelance Marketing projects and competitions, rounds out her resume with projects ranging from customer service to event planning. Sam is also a wiz at creating marketing collateral for both print and digital campaigns.
Even prior to completing her Marketing degree, Sam has always worked in creative fields. She is a talented hairstylist, and has worked on television commercials and plays, in addition to maintaining a regular clientele. She is also an accomplished dancer, and worked for several years as a dance instructor.
On a personal note, Samantha is mom to identical triplets. She and her husband Travis are the proud parents of three beautiful girls. So, although Sam loves Detroit Tigers baseball games and going all-out for Halloween, her spare time is limited / non-existent these days!
Samantha has volunteered extensively for The Bay City Players, as well as the Bay County Home Builders Association, and is a member of the American Advertising Federation.