‘Build a Community Around You’: Newhouse Alumna Shares Entrepreneurial Insights, Advice With Students in Panel Discussion

Kelsey Davis ‘19, G’20 is the CEO of CLLCTVE, a creative agency she founded in her time as a television, radio and film (TRF) student at the Newhouse School. As her success and ambition serve as inspiration to current students, Davis was invited to Newhouse this fall to discuss her experience and generously give invaluable advice to Newhouse students considering a career in content creation, entrepreneurship or the media industry. Also on the panel—moderated by TRF assistant teaching professor Melissa Martinez—was advertising graduate student Clarke Johnson and TRF junior Nick Moscatiello.

Below, Davis reflects her Newhouse experience and offers tips for anyone stuck in a “creator’s block.”

What does Newhouse mean to you?

Kelsey Davis (Photo by Nicolas Greiner-Guzman)

Newhouse to me is family. We’re one big network. From the moment that I first got into Newhouse, fortunately I was welcomed in by the dean of the time, Lorraine Branham, who made me feel comfortable and like this was home – and really just a starting ground to really be able to create the life that I want. So I was able to come into this place and really take advantage of it as a research institution: bring my ideas to the table, show up as a creator and learn through trial and error. My whole goal was, ‘How do I turn myself into a media professional and an entrepreneur?’ So Newhouse was the perfect place for me to find the community and the resources that I needed to really start creating the life that I want as a creative entrepreneur.

What is your advice to students who are stuck on an idea, or have run into a creative block?

Writer’s block is real, creator’s block is super real. I think in those moments, what that means basically, is that you’re at brain fatigue. You’ve hit the level of thinking that you can in relation to this problem. At this point it comes to you needing to expose yourself to new data points and reference points. A lot of times, that could be as simple as going outside and taking a walk, that could look like maybe trying to travel and get some inspiration outside of where you are… that could look like stepping away from the thing that you’re creating and just exposing yourself to other things that help you unlock into that next stage. In order to get past a block, you have to unblock, which means maybe you need a detox. So allowing yourself to cleanse your palate and cleanse your brain really helps me get past that writer’s block any time that I’m creating. Continuing to spend time with people, spend time with nature and getting inspired by things around me works for me.

What is your advice for Newhouse students?

Kelsey Davis speaks to students at Newhouse. (Photo by Nicolas Greiner-Guzman)

We’re going to have failures. There are going to be certain days where I wake up and I’m like, ‘Man, what am I doing?’ But it’s important to build a community around you, to be able to leverage resources, network and every day just getting two percent better at creating the life you want. This has really been my goal and my outlook. I would say in terms of advice for students, figure out what you want – not even in terms of what job you want and where you want to live, but what makes you feel good. What are the things that people tell you when you naturally show up into a room? And then just try to double down on that. For me, that originally started as a freelancer. That’s now turned into being a tech CEO. So you never know what that’s going to scale into and look like, but I think if you just follow your heart, follow your intuition and keep going to class, you’ll figure it out.

Marie Achkar is a junior in the broadcast and digital journalism program at the Newhouse School.