#HumansofImpactHub Jasmine Russell



“I relocated to Minneapolis for very heavy data roles, implementing things, big projects. So I was very focused on that, but I felt like I was getting lost in corporate roles. Like I was just being this creative, quirky-dressed person at work and thinking ‘what am I doing?’”

Jasmine recently took a new leap. She left the corporate world to launch her own business, Monicat Data, which supports artists with data analytics. Jasmine had been working in data with a variety of companies for nearly a decade, including health care, manufacturing, creative, and technology fields. But over the past year, she started to renew her own artistic pursuits, and also made a point of going to see more art around the city. As she did, she began to see a big need in the artist community.

“When artists found out I did data, more and more would say, ‘Oh man, I really need that.’ There wasn’t really a group out there focusing specifically on research and strategy.” Jasmine’s new company will do just that—helping artists analyze things like growth strategy, return on investment, grant data, and online sales. Through her work with Monicat, Jasmine hopes to start to see more and more patterns between design, visual, and performing arts groups—what they need, what they do, and the impact they make.

It was a winding path to Jasmine’s work with data, and then finding her way back to art. “As a kid, art was always a big foundation for me. But I was also really competitive in high school track, so I ended up going to Purdue on a scholarship for track and field. This was the main thing that pushed me away from art.” Jasmine ended up studying psychology at Purdue, which required a lot of statistics. She later got her MBA, and was advised to focus on market research, given her background and aptitude for stats.

This advice gave her pause at first. “I wasn’t into data,” she says. “It was just something you had to do for psychology, not something I was in love with at the time. But they talked me into it, and after a while I decided I liked it. What made it click for me was the ability to make stories out of data and help people see and understand things not just as numbers, but the meaning beyond the numbers.”

Jasmine’s continual discernment has helped her to stay true to herself and the work where she can be most effective. “I’m a big person on not settling—not just being stuck in a job that is really not my thing. I’ll try it and be patient with myself to really give it a chance, but feeling like you have to be stuck there is not what I’m about. People have to be careful when they say this, because it can be a Millennial thing to say ‘I’m not happy here, I’ll just leave.’ You really have to have a reason. But knowing my own compass, letting that guide me, is important.”