Meet Our Team Series: Co-Creator, Kristen Harris

In the latest installment of our Meet Our Team series, we talk with Kristen Harris, one of our Co-Creators. Kristen, a CCAD alum, enjoys listening to podcasts, knitting, and of course spending time with her two dogs. 


Hey there! I’m one of the founders of Portfolio Creative. Back in 2005 Catherine and I had this great idea to connect creative talent and companies who needed them and decided we were the people to do it. I’ve had a couple of different careers (so far) but always seem drawn to work that involves creativity and solving problems.

Where am I from? Here. I grew up just outside of Columbus; my family is originally from Van Wert in northwest Ohio. I came to CCAD for college and, despite big plans to move “somewhere exciting”, never left. I’ve watched Columbus become that “exciting” place to live. It has been really fun to see our city change over the years–I remember when people called it a “cowtown” but now we’re on every “cool city” list imaginable.


My mornings usually start with a dog snuggled in bed, unless he’s whining for food because my husband is not already up. We have two dogs; Rusty’s a lab mix and Holly is a greyhound. I’m sure that you can see Rusty is not underfed, but he must have food before anything else can happen. After that, I get going with a little breakfast. I’ve been into matcha lattes lately or, when I’m feeling really ambitious, a scrambled egg and some fruit. If I’m meeting someone for breakfast that’s another story–bring on the yummy omelet or a Bizmark donut from DK Diner.


At work, every day is different which is part of what I love about my job. On any given day I might be meeting with internal team members, helping a client or one of our talent, connecting with someone in the community, or working on a new idea to make Portfolio Creative even better. I’m all about constant improvement and believe there’s always something we can make better! In general, I focus on the internal operations of our business; I love a good spreadsheet and get oddly excited about processes.

I’m mostly a tea drinker but do like to have a cup of coffee in the afternoon. I’ve been adding coconut milk instead of cream lately–it’s so delicious! When I need a brain break I put in earbuds and take a quick walk around Grandview Yard while listening to a podcast. Favorites include How I Built This, Revisionist History, Beautiful Anonymous, Balanced Bites, Boss Files, So Here’s My Story...okay, I listen to a LOT of podcasts.



Unless I have the occasional work event, at the end of the day I head home to Clintonville and catch up with my hubby and aforementioned dogs. The dogs take us for a couple of walks every evening; they treat getting us outside like it’s their job. Beyond that, downtime is spent reading, crafty things like knitting, other creative projects, or conjuring up new ways to help our clients and talent. I seem to get the best ideas when I’m thinking about something else!

A Day in the Life: Q+A with Melissa Jackson

In the latest installment of our Columbus Creatives: A Day in the Life series, we talk with Melissa Jackson, designer by day and a teacher by night who enjoys spending time with her family and going to CSCA events! 


Hi ya! I am Melissa Jackson, I design at Root Insurance by day and teach at Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD) by night.

Originally from a small town near Cleveland, I moved to Columbus in the late 90's. After spending many years downtown in a fantastic loft, my husband Joel and I packed up and now live in a mid-century ranch in Upper Arlington. Our family grew to five with the addition of our kids Tilly (6), Duke (2) and pup Kiley.


My mornings always start with coffee and podcasts, usually Up First from NPR. Then I walk my daughter to school and head downtown to the Root office. Breakfast is usually on the go from my house, but worst case the office is always stocked with bagels! On my way into the office from the parking garage, I can be found on my phone playing Pokémon Go or Animal Crossing Pocket Camp. Then more coffee as soon as I get to my desk!


Afternoons at Root start with a catered lunch on the first floor of the office. Then it is time for our creative showdowns where we share our work with the entire creative team. We share feedback and then get back to work making kick-ass work. I will usually throw on a podcast like My Brother, My Brother and Me or Reply All.



My evenings are family time, we keep our kids busy with activities like Girl Scouts, crafts, gymnastics and playing dinos. If we go out to eat Northstar Cafe, Tai's Asian Bistro or Hound Dog's are top of the list.

Two evenings out of the week I teach a course to Ad/Graph students at CCAD. The class is all about networking, preparing portfolios and taking the students to industry related events. One of my favorite nights is when we go to the Columbus Society of Communication Arts (CSCA) events. As a past president and current board member, I love sharing CSCA with the students. I gain so much inspiration from my students, local events, and my design peers. I am ridiculously lucky!

Follow Melissa! 

Instagram | Behance | LinkedIn  


Cool Summer Art Classes

CCAD has opened registration for summer classes...along with the usual figure drawing and painting fare, this one really caught my eye: Heists and Forgery: Art History This course is a comprehensive history of stolen and forged art; who does it, why, and how. We will examine famous cases of museum heists, and explore the debate of institutionalized theft; one country, government, regime, or institution stealing from another. Offering an insight into the controversial reality of the art industry, this course will examine the often hidden side of private and public collections. Students will explore processes professionals use to determine whether an art object is real or fake. This course will include lecture, discussion, interactive activities and extended time at the Columbus Museum of Art. Theft and intrigue, taught by our very own Brian Williams!