BABE #73: JAMIE ROSSELAND,
Marketing Coordinator @ Rethreaded, Inc.
Jamie is a powerful woman with an incredible story. She's the marketing coordinator for Rethreaded, one of our favorite woman-owned nonprofit organizations here in Jacksonville, where she helps to create job opportunities within a safe, uplifting environment for female victims and survivors of the sex trade. Outside of the Rethreaded office, you can find her thrift shopping, writing, or hanging out with her church family. Thanks for chatting with us, Jamie! You're a babe who is truly making the world a better place.
Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida
Current city: Jacksonville, Florida
Alma mater: N/A
Hustle: Marketing Coordinator @ Rethreaded
Babe you admire and why?
Helen Keller. I mean, if there was ever an example of a babe who overcame, it’s her. One of my favorite quotes by her is, “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” God transformed the impossible into possible in her life, and as a result, she spent her life advocating for other women. I can definitely aspire to that.
Must-have item in your purse?
I have to have something to write with. Ideally that would include something to write on, but I don’t mind innovating. If that certain idea or thought comes into my mind, sometimes I just feel I need to capture it when it happens or it’ll be lost forever.
Favorite social media account to follow?
About a year ago I got a chance to see some artwork by Scott Erickson called Stations in the Street hung up in the back of a coffee shop. I looked him up and have enjoyed following his work ever since. Plus, he’s pretty goofy and his IG stories are hilarious.
Three things we can always find in your fridge?
I’m not much of a cook, especially with my constant coming and going. I like things simple, quick and easy to make - so eggs, spinach and Greek yogurt.
Currently, Kings Kaleidoscope. I've also really enjoyed getting to know some of our local artists through Rethreaded’s Garden Concert Party series: Complicated Animals and Flagship Romance, to name a few.
Favorite place to shop?
Thrift stores, especially mission-minded ones. There are too many good reasons to buy secondhand that benefit my community and myself. Hope’s Closet is a definite favorite. I’ve never left there feeling the woes of buyers remorse, nor have I been disappointed in my haul.
What is Rethreaded?
Rethreaded is a social entrepreneurship on a mission to unravel the negative effects of the sex trade by fighting business with business on both the global and local level. Beginning by forming relationships with women on the street and making prison visits, our CEO Kristin Keen discovered a need for a safe, supportive work environment where women could earn money while learning professional skills and experiencing continued healing through community. Through Rethreaded's entrepreneurship program, survivors of the sex trade have the opportunity to become who they were created to be through viable, creative work and career opportunities. It’s not a charity, it’s economic empowerment. It’s the tangible hope of transformed lives right here in the middle of our city that is reshaping the community and culture that we live in.
Tell us about your hustle:
At Rethreaded, I have a few different roles, but my day-to-day work is in the marketing department. I work directly with our amazing Director of Marketing, Ansley Busch, to execute and implement our digital and print marketing campaigns and strategy. I act as the liaison between the company and graphic designer in the creation of our materials, and I get to coordinate our blog series, newsletters and photo shoots. It's a fast-paced, ever changing work environment that has stretched me beyond what I thought I was capable of. I also get the opportunity to advocate for other survivors in all sorts of ways. In my personal life, this involves mentorship with women who have been affected by (or at risk of) the sex trade. Professionally for Rethreaded, I meet with community leaders to discuss what change can look like in our city, and speak at community events to share not just my story but also my passion for cultural change around the topic of human trafficking. My hope is that Jacksonville would become a model that other cities would look to when seeking to end injustices that survivors face once they have escaped the sex trade.
How were you introduced to the company?
I heard about Rethreaded from another survivor in the community. I saw in her a level of healing and confidence that I didn’t have at the time. The Rethreaded mission wasn’t well-explained to me though - I thought it was just something about teaching women like me how to sew. I was hopeless, trying to find opportunity, and only finding dead-end menial jobs. So I called Rethreaded and poured my heart out to whoever was on the other end of the phone. I hardly had the capacity to believe in myself and didn’t have the hope to put into any of the dreams I had for myself. I certainly didn’t imagine I would be the woman I am today, two years later.
What does your typical workday look like?
Each morning at Rethreaded starts with a short devotion. It’s super meaningful to me that we begin our day in prayer for the women who are still stuck in the cycle. The rest of my day is spent in a fun, colorful office with five other incredible women. The conversations range from deep and profound to dad joke humor. When the Florida weather is bearable, most of our meetings happen outside in our garden.
What has your transition in responsibilities been like since the start of your time at Rethreaded?
When I first started at Rethreaded, I worked in production. Within just a few months I also started working in marketing. For a time I did both, so one day I would come into work dressed in my grungiest jeans and bleach-stained Rethreaded tee, and the next in a pencil skirt and a button down blouse. Early last year I transitioned full-time into marketing, which has allowed me to take on more responsibilities through a leadership position.
How does your personal story affect your approach to your work?
I feel like my story is the fulfillment of Rethreaded’s work and purpose. Before I was employed with Rethreaded, I didn’t have any opportunity. I was spinning my wheels. It didn’t seem to matter how hard I worked or how much I effort I put in, I couldn’t find anyone to give me a second chance at life. I had been out of the sex trade for over a year and wasn’t receiving any sort of services or finding any healing. I was working part-time in housekeeping at a hotel I had been trafficked at, which was literally the only option I had for employment. Now that I’ve been at Rethreaded for a couple of years, I live a very different life. I feel like I can do anything. I have professional skills and resources, I have a career, and I feel far from hopeless.
What is your support system like?
I have a great support system, inside and outside of work. Community has been key in my recovery and I feel like I have layers and layers of support. At work I’ve had the Survivor Development Program to rely on, which helped me navigate my first year here through the 'Balancing Life and Work' weekly class, and was taught how to tell my story. Now into my second year, it is helping me become a businesswomen and develop my career. One of the biggest influences outside of work has been the church. I was not religious or spiritual before experiencing trafficking, and even for a year afterwards I really struggled with the concept of God. Yet, I was surrounded by people who loved the way Jesus loves and had its impact on me. I had an experience that forever changed me, I felt like I encountered God for the first time. It led me on a path of asking questions and finding a church, and The WELL was the church that could meet me as I was.
What are the most popular Rethreaded products? What are your favorites?
Hands down, the Grace Scarf and Threads for Hope Bracelet are the most popular Rethreaded products. I own so many survivor-made goods now and have so many favorites. It's like I get all these little reminders throughout my day that I am helping make a difference in the lives of women like me. It’s impactful to be putting on a pair of earrings or getting a card out of my wallet and know that a woman’s hands made these things and that act gave her a way out.
In now writing for the Rethreaded blog and other publications, what has your growth as a writer been like?
I have always been passionate about writing. I like taking the time to formulate my thoughts and ideas and compose them in a way that best transfers an idea from one person to the next. I think even when preparing for speaking engagements, I like to have what I am going to say well-articulated. Language is so important. I have such an important message to carry on a topic that is so often misconstrued; I think that's the driving force to pursuing this passion seriously.
What are some common misconceptions about human trafficking that need to be addressed?
There are so many misconceptions around the topic, it’s difficult to even answer this question. I think most people view the crime as a far away problem, happening 'over there.' In the definition of the crime, three methods are listed: force, fraud and/or coercion. I think many people have a hard time seeing past force and understanding the manipulation used, vulnerabilities exploited, invisible chains that are keeping victims enslaved, and societal systems that make escape near impossible. During Human Trafficking Awareness month, Kristin Keen and some survivors wrote some incredible blog posts that really help to bring understanding to these areas of misconception. I think it’s a good place to start for someone wanting to know more.
How can people who are interested in helping the Rethreaded cause (and others like it) get involved?
There is so much work to be done and there are a lot of different ways to get involved with Rethreaded and with the anti-trafficking movement. I really enjoy working with people who want to advance our cause by investing their time with us and volunteering their services. Whether through photography, styling or strategy, I’ve had the chance to work with some amazing and dedicated members of the community. I think the easiest way to get involved though is to shop. Whether it’s for yourself, your loved ones, or gifts or for your company, by making a purchase, you are sending the message that the exploitation of people is not okay, while directly supporting women in need.
Career and/or life advice for other babes?
I've spent a lot time trying to figure out what I “should” be doing, and looking to see how others do it, which is reasonable to some level. I've really had to let go of the “should” and embrace the fact that my life is going to look different than others; there isn’t a state of normalcy I need to achieve. My life can be messy, things do fall through the cracks, and I often feel overwhelmed with goals I set out to achieve, but this is life. It’s worth the risk, it’s worth the sacrifice, and it’s worth not fitting into a mold that “should” says I have to live in.
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