Lessons from a Multi-Passionate Professional | Jessica Childress

Jessica Childress, a lawyer-author-entrepreneur, wants to challenge us to embrace our multi-hyphenate identities. She explores how embracing all facets of ourselves unlocks our potential to innovate and create a meaningful impact in any industry. Jessica will share her personal journey and practical advice for embracing your own unique “why” and finding creative solutions.

Key Takeaways:

The Myth of the Single-Focus Career: Why limiting yourself to one label can stifle your creativity and potential.

The Multi-Hyphenate Advantage: How diverse experiences can fuel innovation and problem-solving.

Practical Tips for Embracing Your Passions: Jessica shares her strategies for finding balance and maximizing your impact.

Join us at TEDxLogan Circle 2024 to hear Jessica Childress's inspiring message about the power of the multi-hyphenate life and learn how to create a career that truly reflects who you are.

Share in two to three sentences what your talk is about.

My talk delves into the power of being a multi-hyphenate and the importance of never deleting the words that fall behind your hyphens. As a lawyer-author-entrepreneur, when I began my writing and entrepreneurial journey, I would often only emphasize the first part of my “hyphen–lawyer” when meeting new people. I will explore why deleting our hyphens limits our ability to innovate and create impact.

Based on your talk, what industries are you rethinking innovation?

My talk is relevant to all industries. It is important for people in all industries to lean into their multi-hyphenate identities. When we only think about the first word in our titles, we only think about our skill sets relating to the first word. Our multi-faceted, dynamic identities allow us to rethink what is possible in our industries and bring depth and impact to multiple industries.

Share two or three words that best describe who you are as a person.

Authentic, Passionate, Empathetic

Describe your feelings about the TEDxLogan Circle event.

One of my mantras is “Lead, dream, inspire.” Almost every morning, I begin my day by listening to a podcast that inspires me and helps me serve and lead. Serving as a TEDxLogan Circle speaker is a way for me to inspire others; it is the manifestation of a lifelong dream of speaking on the TEDxLogan Circle stage to share an idea that has changed my life, and it is an opportunity to share important ideas about innovation with leaders from around the world.

How do you maintain your enthusiasm in your industry?

1. As a lawyer and a children’s book author, I work in two industries where innovation and creation is always possible and necessary. Laws are continually changing as society is continually changing. Every technological advancement, and every social change, requires lawyers to think creatively and analytically about how existing laws apply to these changes. If new laws are enacted to address an existing societal issue, lawyers must think analytically and creatively about how the new laws will apply in a real-world context.

2. Constant societal changes make the law an exciting industry for life-long learners; it is exciting to help clients solve problems, innovate, and create solutions for their personal and professional lives. I wake up every day motivated and ready to use my knowledge to help others create change. As a children’s book writer, I have endless stories that I could write and not enough time in my lifetime to write them. That reality creates a perpetual sense of excitement to get up every day and create.

Describe the environment where you feel the most innovative and creative.

I love being in nature. There is something about nature that ignites my creative abilities and gives me the best ideas. Perhaps, it is the ability to be away from my laptop and be in a place with limited distractions that allows my brain to expand with new ideas. I often take long walks in my neighborhood, and during these walks, I either listen to podcasts or walk in complete silence. I keep my notes application open on my phone during these walks, and by the time that my walk is over, I have several new ideas that I have recorded in my notes application.

What is “your why?”

I think a lot about my legacy. I realize that our time on earth is finite, so during my very precious days here, I want to use my time and talents in a way that positively impacts my society but also the society that will exist once I leave the earth.

What advice would you share with others who want to innovate more?

Do not ever let fear stop you from believing in your gifts. Innovation does not have to be on a grand scale. We innovate just by coming up with a new idea and executing on that idea. Write every new idea down on a piece of paper or in some electronic form. Ideas are magical, and you cannot take any of them for granted. Every great innovation started with a magical idea. You do not have to execute on every idea, but pick those that are most important to you and assess what tools you have and what tools you need to get started on executing them. Find the tools and the team you need to execute your idea, and then get started. Getting started is often the hardest part of innovating, but those who start are those who succeed in innovating.

What do you hope more people will understand about innovation?

Innovation requires iteration, so the idea that you start with may not be the idea that you finish with, but in any event, as you iterate and perfect your idea, you will end your innovation journey with something new and something that will inevitably impact someone’s life.

Tell me about one of your favorite memories in Washington, D.C.

As a child, Washington, D.C. was a place that was majestic to me. Driving into the District of Columbia on 395 North and seeing the Washington Monument was awe-inspiring as a child; that feeling of awe that I experience every time I drive back into the District of Columbia never leaves me, even as an adult.

My elementary school would take an end-of-the-year field trip to D.C., where we would visit the Smithsonian Museum and the National Zoo. Every year, I looked forward to those end-of-the-year field trips. Washington, D.C. has never stopped being a majestic place to me. In college, I would come to D.C. to complete summer internships, giving me a view into the non-profit and policy world and exposing me to the brilliant minds and diverse tapestry of people who lived and worked in this amazing city.

I have lived in Washington, D.C. since 2012, and during that time, I have so many rich memories. The best memories have been spending time with my friends from various periods of my life - college, law school, summer internships, legal colleagues - and then meeting new friends through professional organizations and personal hobbies. I never take for granted how fortunate we are to live in a city made up of people from such diverse backgrounds, with such diverse life experiences. I am always in awe of the people that I meet in D.C. because it seems like everyone here is doing impactful work to make the world better, in their own unique way.


Ms. Childress is the managing attorney and founder of the Childress Firm PLLC, an employment law firm. Ms. Childress is also the founder of Juris Prudence LLC, a children's educational content company that offers books and educational programming teaching children about leadership and law through the eyes of fictional 11-year-old lawyer, Juris P. Prudence. She has received several honors, including the National Bar Association’s 2018 Young Lawyer of the Year Award and the Washington Bar Association’s 2017-2018 Young Lawyer of the Year Award. Ms. Childress has been named to the 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024 D.C. Super Lawyers Rising Stars lists.

Ms. Childress is a graduate of the Aspen Institute’s Justice and Society program. She serves as a contributor for Arianna Huffington’s international media outlet, Thrive Global. She has been featured in numerous publications, including Good Morning America, Forbes, Essence, the Huffington Post, Success, Entrepreneur, and Newsweek.

Join us at TEDxLogan Circle 2024 to hear Jessica Childress's inspiring message about the power of the multi-hyphenate life and learn how to create a career that truly reflects who you are.