Jenn Cook: Connecting kids with social good
A lover of travel and the outdoors, Jenn Cook worked in advertising for years before she decided to leave the industry and put her mind toward the goal of empowering children to use their creativity for social good. As the executive director of Kidnected World, a creative tech startup and nonprofit, Cook is helping to create spaces to help children engage with the world at large.
Prior to joining Kidnected World, Cook served nearly six years as a vice president at Crispin Porter + Bogusky (CP+B), where she personally managed all of Microsoft’s global advertising, as well as Turkish Airlines, Old Navy and others. She also spent five years with Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, where she managed its global IBM account. Before that, she was with Renegade, where she spearheaded interactive brand experiences and events for clients.
During this time in the advertising world, Cook also volunteered with various organizations. “[I] have been fortunate enough to travel around the globe where I gained a strong belief in the importance of protecting cultures and helping those in need—both of which are pillars at Kidnected World, and a big part of what drew me to their work. I saw Kidnected World as an opportunity for me to use my own creativity for good,” she says.
At Ogilvy & Mather, Cook worked in every media platform and came to understand the way media and technology can connect people in a global community. At Kidnected World, she says, “Our mission is to connect kids globally through tools, spaces and experiences that deepen their connection to the world as they expand their awareness of each other.”
One example of this is the Wonderment, a free online platform “where kids, schools and organizations can explore, create and start projects with kids around the world, getting support from a community of donors to help turn their ideas into reality.”
A recent “path” within the Wonderment asks children to think about the ways they show “aloha” for where they’re from, taking care of their environment, communities, friends and family. Kids respond to the prompt with photos, artwork and comments.
“In the Wonderment platform, kids are able to see entertaining educational content from around the globe and participate in related creative challenges,” says Cook. “Kids from around the world are then able to share their creations with their peers, providing a common place to make a true connection. As kids engage with the Wonderment, they are able to share their creative voice and see firsthand how they can be a force for good in the world.”
Grownups can get involved as well. Educators and mentors have a role to play, as well as people who can share and explain their culture.
“There is a huge need among educators for tools that inspire confidence in their students and enable them to feel like they can truly make a difference in their community and the world at large,” says Cook. “It’s rewarding to hear from educators how the Wonderment is enabling better collaboration, better problem solving and better communication amongst their students.