The Jelli Telly: Cohort 29 Alumna Plants Seeds for Sustainability
In this day and age, nearly everyone has dreamed of starting their own YouTube channel. QUEST alumna Kelli Webber of Cohort 29 turned this dream into reality with her YouTube channel, “the jelli telly.” Focused on sustainability and thrifting, Kelli’s channel combines her quirky humor, interest in filming, and passion for sustainability. I was fortunate enough to talk to Kelli about the channel’s origins, purpose, and how QUEST impacted it all.
Kelli explained to me that she was initially interested in sustainability through experiences at her high school in Annapolis, and then she learned more about it by getting involved with a startup called Rendered. As the third employee to join, Kelli helped Rendered resell thrifted clothes. It was at Rendered where she learned about the pressing timeline for carbon emission reversal and wanted to create something to help. Inspired by her impactful work at Rendered, Kelli went on to add a minor in sustainability during her senior year, where she was able to learn about sustainability on a more macro level.
Kelli’s hope for “the jelli telly” is that it will help to educate and influence viewers to make more sustainable choices, though it’s also been a great outlet for her to learn more about filming, expend her creativity, and simply have fun! She’s also gotten to collaborate with other friends that have YouTube channels, expanding her online community. Examples of some of her recent videos include “The Zero Waste Starter Pack” and “8 Thrifting Tips + Summertime Haul.” Kelli explained that ideas for videos come from a variety of sources such as brainstorming sessions with friends and reflecting through journaling. These brainstorming sessions are what remind Kelli most of her time in QUEST. Kelli explained that the QUEST program and community has a highly entrepreneurial mindset, which she applied to starting her channel as well as in her involvement with Rendered. Additionally, she gained exposure to more diverse career options through QUEST. For example, although she was a Computer Science major, Kelli was granted access to the Smith Career Fairs, where she realized she wanted to pursue design work as opposed to software engineering. Today, Kelli is doing UX/UI design work at a startup called The Opportunity Exchange through Venture for America.
When asked about advice she would give QUEST students, Kelli explained “Just start. The hardest part of taking on a new project is simply beginning it.” To aid her in project progression, Kelli developed a “Goal Group” of her and six friends in college. They would meet once a week to set creative goals, brainstorm, and update each other on their progress. This allowed them to hold each other accountable, as well as gain opinions and advice for projects. Kelli urges finding a group like this for anyone struggling to start on their projects: “The more people who know about your project, the more inclined you feel to see it through.” QUEST is so proud of all of the creative things its alumni are doing! For more information on Rendered, click here. To watch Kelli’s videos on the jelli telly, click here. We wish you the best of luck with your channel and career Kelli!