We had the good fortune of connecting with Jess Ponce III and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jess, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking.
I believe the right mindset is key to success. Risk and fear go hand in hand when it comes to building a business or brand. In fact, these two elements come into play anytime you experience growth, whether that journey is a personal one or professional endeavor.
It’s natural to be scared. It’s what makes us human — it aligns our thoughts with our emotions and our values. Fear is an indicator that whatever we are doing, or about to do, is important to us. Looking at fear as a value indicator and part of what makes me human, or unique, has really served me well. It has become an asset to my growth, not a liability. From leaving my job at ABC to exiting a business partnership, embracing the risk and fear that comes with it, has allowed me to grow.
Often, I hear people trying to squelch their fears in an attempt to be “fearless.” What I suggest is to become fearFULL — or full of fear. It is part of the risk-taking experience, and when you embrace that fear it can fuel you. Fear is energy, yet too often we consider it the enemy.
What should our readers know about your business?
I am a media coach, branding consultant, and producer who works with all kinds of celebrities, media talent, and executives. I help them find their words and cultivate their messages when they need it most. Working with these individuals, and their stakeholders who support them, I guide them to deliver these messages with clarity and confidence, whether it’s a press conference, media interview, or keynote. With a background in TV production, I know how to teach my clients to extract important soundbites that will support the opportunity that they have to engage a particular audience.
There is an art to authentic self-promotion, and I help people master it. I have a simple, yet effective, trademarked model called The A Factor. It’s a simple process that looks at three important A’s: your Audience, your Agenda, and your call to Action.
Additionally, I work with CEOs on leadership presence and communication, create and facilitate corporate workshops, work as a mentor for TED, and I am an instructor for UCLA Extension Custom Programs & Corporate Education. I have two books, “Everyday Celebrity: A Personal Branding Guide from a Hollywood Media Coach” and “A.W.E.S.O.M.E.: 7 Keys to Unlock The Speaker Within.” Both books are available in English and Chinese.
I started my career over two decades ago as a TV producer. I worked on talk shows, magazine-style programs, and in celebrity news. I took that experience and started working in the other direction — instead of interviewing stars and experts, I began to prepare them for interviews. It was an awesome and natural fit.
Building my practice has had its challenges, including courting clients to understand what I offer. I feel like a purple, polka dotted tiger. While unique and valuable, not everyone knows about this powerful creature.
The most remarkable and surprising aspect of my work is that I myself grew up with a lisp. It’s still present now as an adult, but I use it as an asset, not a liability. Instead of setting me back as a child, I took the mocking I received in stride. ( Not speaking was never an option for this gregarious child, so I found creative ways to speak. For example, instead of saying, “Excuse me?” (a nightmare word for someone who can’t properly pronounce the “s” sound) I say, “Pardon me?.” This early experience of playing with words gave me a keen sensibility at a young age that there are multiple ways to say things. More importantly, how you say things and how you embody your message, is what speaks volumes.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’ve actually done this.
Day 1: A drive up PCH, starting in Venice and ending with lunch in Malibu, followed up later in the day with dinner somewhere in the Valley.
Day 2: Start downtown at Olvera street, followed by a small tour of downtown. Then, follow up by a drive down Sunset, a tour through Beverly Hills, stopping for lunch somewhere there. Then, a drive down Mulholland to see the Hollywood sign, followed by a walk down Hollywood Blvd, and drinks in West Hollywood.
Day 3: Disneyland
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My Grandma Grace was a key influence in my life. She exemplified what it means to be an “everyday celebrity,” which is the title of my first book. While she wasn’t on the big screen or on a stage, she touched people’s lives in a remarkable and authentic way. A mother of 10, her home was always filled with people. And, whether it was her own family or members of the community, she always welcomed them with a cup of coffee, fresh tortillas, and warm conversation. She exemplified the 3 C’s of celebrity essence: Clarity, Confidence, and Charisma. She was clear in what she offered — authenticity. She was confident in who she was, and what immigrant woman in her 90s isn’t? She was charismatic in her own way, not like a Hollywood star, but in her own grounded way. She was kind, thoughtful, and strong — that is natural charisma.
Oprah Winfrey photo courtesy of Cindy Qui People in the photo include (left to right): Me, Dave Corona, Oprah Winfrey, Janelle Wang, Elvin Macdonell, and Cindy Qui.