J. Zakira Wise & Cliff Atkinson

Founders, Mesh Communities

J. Zakira Wise and Cliff Atkinson are trying to make the world a better place by helping leaders create sustainable communities.

J. has been involved in community work from a young age. Helping her high school buy a new building helped her see the power of community and how getting everyone on the same page could effectively create change. Her career has also included film production, progressive activism, and marketing and business consulting. All the while, J. has seen friends who were brilliant content creators build online communities but struggle to monetize. She saw that tech had created this massive wealth divide and started thinking about making tech, specifically social platforms, more equitable. This is how Mesh Communities was born.

Cliff’s career as a digital marketing executive has given him experience implementing digital strategies for some of the world’s largest brands. His analytics background and media and messaging strategy experience make him extremely well-rounded in digital media. After talking with J. and hearing her mission for Mesh, Cliff saw a way to honor his need for making an impact and focus on people-first values while helping underserved and marginalized markets.

Together they are reimagining advertising to benefit people, communities, creators, and brands. When they are not doing that, Cliff collects bobbleheads for his office, and J. adds plants to what she lovingly calls “the full-blown jungle” in her loft.

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🤓 I geek out about…

J. Zakira Wise: Data. When you ask the right questions, data tells a story. So maybe more than the data itself, I geek out about asking the right questions.

Cliff Atkinson: Digital media and marketing.

🎒 I collect…

JZW: Plants. My loft is a full blown jungle.

CA: Bobbleheads and put them all over my office.

💬 My friends ask my advice about…

JZW: Relationships. I think a lot about the ways we bond, in business, in friendship, in love.

CA: The decisions they make or are about to make.

🧰 How my weird obsessions show up in my work…

JZW: I'm fascinated by the intersection of centralized vs decentralized systems. I'm always measuring endeavors in this framework.

CA: Everyday via how I dress, talk and act. I try to be me at all times which includes my weird obsessions.

🌱 What form(s) of growth is/are most important for your company?

JZW: Social impact x company sustainability.

CA: Growth of people’s usage of our platform is important but we also want to grow and develop meaningful relationships between people and brands.

💭 I wish more companies would…

JZW: Measure impact.

💛 How can companies and industries take better care of people?

JZW: Companies can take better care of people by reinvesting in their local communities.

CA: They should focus on people first for all aspects of their business. Understand what’s in the best interest of the people and listen to the people when they share thoughts and feedback.

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You can connect with J. everywhere @Jzakirawise and Cliff on LinkedIn.