Journeys with JA

Our shared experiences at Jespersen & Associates, our journeys if you will, have most always been good, even noble at times. No doubt some could have been better but they all have one thing in common: The work and the people we are fortunate to work with continue to challenge, reward, and surprise us.

Justice Blackmun: "Old Number Three"

Harry A. Blackmun (1908–1999)

It was Harry A. Blackmun who fully opened the door to the reproductive rights of women across the country. I met him shortly after his retirement, on two occasions.

Justice Blackmun referred to himself as "Old Number Three" because he was President Richard Nixon's third choice for a Supreme Court vacancy. As he met his fellow judges for their first official photo session, he remembered thinking, “What am I doing here?”

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Merle Hoffman: Choices

My first impression of Merle Hoffman was that Joan Rivers had become an advocate for women’s rights—they had a lot in common. The times when I had the chance to work with Merle, or interview her, she was so outspoken that I could only nod my head from time to time, and take copious notes.  

Her life took her from classical piano prodigy at Carnegie Hall to the forefront (and front lines) of women’s rights, here and abroad.

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Remembering Trudy

Trudy L. Bush, PhD, MHS (1949–2001)

With any new year, we like to take a moment to reflect back on those who have left us. This year, however, I want to reflect back a little longer, over the past 20 years of my work in medical education, to tell you about some of the people who I was fortunate enough to know.

The first is Dr. Trudy L. Bush.

“Every time we do a study or write a new guideline, it needs to be evaluated in the context of all the studies that came before. New findings and guidelines bring us closer to the truth but we may never reach it entirely.”

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Elizabeth DeJure Wood: Designer, Illustrator, Occasional Plumber

Our first office in Boston was on the top floor of an old warehouse on Congress Street in the Fort Point neighborhood. Our loft space had brick walls, massive wood beams, factory wood floors, and a steam heating system that constantly thumped, clanged, hissed, and made the office boiling hot or bitterly cold during the winter. That’s all gone now, of course, replaced by several luxury condo developments.

Our last winter in the building, on one of the colder mornings in February, I went down the hall to the shared bathroom to get more water for the coffee maker. Just outside the bathroom, a rickety ladder had been set up. At the top, a woman, not dressed as a plumber, was fiddling with some valves. After some nervous laughter, and a grunt as the release valve opened, you could hear the steam flowing once again. “There,” said the woman, somewhat surprised, “I think it might get better now.”

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Photo: Mark Jespersen

What makes a good story? Two things come to mind: a topic that interests me and writing that's so good, I can’t help but read, listen, or watch all the way to the end, no matter how long it takes.

In advertising, you can write and say just about anything you want. People understand what you are hinting at, or trying to sell. And for years I enjoyed that freedom, winning awards for clever headlines that made people think, laugh, and buy all kinds of stuff.

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