Leading with Unicorns and Rainbows: An Essay on Lisa Caprelli’s Leadership Style and Missions
The following is an excerpt written by Unicorn Jazz Social Media Manager, Amanda Keaton, who defines what leadership means to her after mentoring and working under the guidance of our children’s author, Lisa Caprelli. This was a college essay done by Amanda — through her own personal experience and interviews with those affiliated with UJ who play a big role as part of the Unicorn Jazz movement for kids.
A Unicorn Jazz Leadership Style Interview and Missions for Children
While my dream is to work in the toy industry, I decided to start my career in the children’s media field because I’ve always been interested in how kids are influenced and how their interests are developed from a marketing standpoint. I chose to intern for Unicorn Jazz because I felt that it would be an opportunity where I can learn just that.
“What I didn’t expect was that I would gain a lot more than just practical and creative knowledge from my Unicorn Jazz experience – I also gained an amazing friend and bond with my boss and business mentor, Lisa Caprelli.” ~Amanda Keaton
Making an Impact with Your Message
Throughout my time with Lisa for the past year, I can honestly say that I have loved being part of everything the Unicorn Jazz brand has accomplished since I’ve joined. The story about a shy unicorn named Jazz who loves to sing and has a music note for a tail shares with it a message to our kids that helps them develop their own unique talents and values; the morals also teach kids to take the time to explore and appreciate new ones and those of interest to others.
This is what I realized is Lisa Caprelli‘s main goal by creating the Unicorn Jazz series – to have everyone know their worth and their value based on their own highly individualized uniqueness.
Lisa does this not only through the stories she creates but also through her own example in her daily life. She continually works her hardest to find new ways to inspire kids, and she invites others to join her in this mission. Everyone that I interviewed has been changed by her leadership and they have been moved to participate in whatever project she is working on just from talking to her and being inspired by her vision.
She has the incredible gift of being able to bring people together to make magical things happen, such as The Thing I Do Show and its 12 Days of Christmas music video special that was a giveback with 24 kid actors to the Children’s Hospital of Orange County.
Lisa Caprelli’s Leadership Inspirations
My interview with Lisa gave me a great picture of her perspective on leadership, from childhood to now. With Lisa being such a leader to the kids she talks to, I wondered if she had a version of herself when she was younger. She responded that it was her Grandma, and one of the reasons she wanted to share such positive messages in her books.
“My grandma was my first real inspiration”, said Lisa, whose other notable inspiration in her professional life was a woman named Cindy, who was her boss at a public relations marketing firm.
“The first time I ever recognized leadership was my boss Cindy when I worked in marketing. She really learned all the roles of the jobs and got to know everyone well. I remember one time she stopped what she was doing to get on her hands and knees to help fix the copier. She really took the time to know every part of every job, and she amazed me. She recognized work ethic, too, not just the outgoing but also the shy ones like me. She took me under her wing and taught me what she knew.” -Lisa
Since I’ve started working with Lisa, she has shown me the ins and outs of every aspect that she works on. From social media to production to finances, I’ve gotten to see every part. One of the many things I admire most about her is that, even with her interns, she’ll always pick up some slack or do something that isn’t her role if needed.
Interview with Pam Quevedo & Emily Isabel on Lisa’s Leadership
Pam Quevedo is an elementary school teacher, a previous participant in The Thing I Do Show, and a friend of Lisa’s and Unicorn Jazz. Inspired by Lisa’s message to spread the word of kindness and appreciation to children all over the world, Pam was one of the first people to become involved with the Thing I Do Show, making the entire concept possible.
“My favorite thing about Lisa is that she learns things herself and then gives her secrets out. She wants everyone to succeed and will do what she can to enable that. She finds her success in the success of others.” — Pam Quevedo
Emily Isabel is a child actress, a participant in the 12 Days of Christmas special, and one of the star faces of the Unicorn Jazz brand. She was interviewed along with her mother, Victoria, and they both had the following to say regarding their time working with Lisa on multiple projects:
“After reading the Unicorn Jazz books, we really wanted to be a part of what Lisa was doing. She was doing something big and we just wanted to help her in any way we could to spread her messages of kindness. She was doing something bigger than her…If Lisa can be that person and help kids, we can be that person too.” — Emily Isabel & Victoria Strugatsky
Author Visits to Elementary Schools Across the U.S. by Emily Isabel
Working with Lisa. I saw her go into schools to do author visits and how she spoke to kids, and there were so many of them who had not really connected with any other stories like this one.
I have personally gotten to see some of her visits witnessed firsthand how the kids really took on the messages she has written for them. It is about how everyone has something that makes them unique, and you can connect with those who may not share your interests because everyone has something to bring.
“Every kid in a classroom of 30 is different, and they’re all getting this message that they’re different, they’re unique, and it’s not something to be afraid of. Find those differences and celebrate them.” — Lisa Caprelli
Building a Future of Kindness
What I like most about Lisa’s leadership is that she always takes the time to reach out and help others, and she does this in so many ways on a daily basis. Not only has she been an outstanding employer, by giving me a helping hand whenever needed, but she also does her part to give back to the community.
In November 2020 after the first season of the Thing I Do show, Lisa started on a new project of a book drive for the Children’s Hospital of Orange County, or CHOC, as a means to get more books in the hands of little kids who are in need of literary empowerment.
This is one of my favorite charitable actions that Lisa spearheaded in the past year.
What’s more, she always goes into every project with the mentality of bringing others aboard who are proud to support her and her mission, including students, parents, educators, librarians, storytellers, and even child stars such as Emily Isabel.
“The kids are what keep me going. They are pure at heart and you just want to give them something to live by like I have.” — Lisa Caprelli
Inspiring Kids to Become Confident Leaders
I truly enjoyed being working for Lisa and being a part of the Unicorn Jazz process. Not only have I gained tremendous insight regarding the children’s book market, I also met some incredible people along the way!
She has been such a leader as a business mentor. She is truly impacting and changing the lives of others with her show, her books, and all of her missions. If Lisa has a spare second, she gives it. She is always working on new ways to share her truth with others. At the end of our time together, I asked Lisa what her future in leadership was, and she said this:
“The kids just made me want to keep sharing my messages and keep going with my goals. I want them to treat others with kindness, I want them to love who they are and to figure out the parts of themselves that make them unique.” -LC