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Manteca High grad making her mark
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Samantha Jackson, pictured right with her husband Ryan, was recently named to Campaign Asia’s “40-under-40” list for her work with Percolate Galactica – a creative workshop and content manufacturing business headquartered in Jakarta, Indonesia. - photo by PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED

One would think that with Samantha Jackson’s recent naming to Campaign Asia’s “40-under-40” list for her emerging Indonesian content creation business that she had been working her entire young life to create something that has made such a splash. 

But it has taken the AmeriCorps veteran just over six years to turn Percolate Galactica – “a non-traditional advertising agency and full-service studio and production house” – into an upstart young company that is making waves in Asia and beyond. 

Campaign Asia is an organization that reports on emerging media as well as marketing and advertising firms in the Asia Pacific region. The “40-under-40” list profiles entrepreneurs in the field in the Asia Pacific region that are considered either up and coming or forces to be reckoned with.

Making the list and building the media business wouldn’t have been possible without the economic downturn that sent her and husband Ryan looking for a place where they could lay low until conditions improved back home. 

Jackson, a 1999 graduate of Manteca High School, has worked with her husband to grow the business into one that now employs more than 30 people and includes a complete animation studio, a design and illustration team, a multimedia production unit, copywriters and content creators and strategists. 

At the end of the day, however, Jackson defers credit to what she says is a talented team of people that bring creative ideas into the laboratory each and every day to help serve a growing list of clients and includes tech heavyweights such as Google, GIPHY and Cartoon Network.  

“While I have always believed that my team is deserving of every award and accolade possible, it was a huge honor – and very humbling – to find myself in the list of the top 40-under-40 by Campaign Asia,” Jackson said. “To me, being selected was validation of the choices that we’ve made, and the path that we’ve chosen to take – a path that most people in the industry thought was crazy and completely nonviable. 

“I believe that part of the reason we were selected in because of my commitment to ethical and transparent business practices. Percolate Galactic was the certified B Corporation in all of Indonesia, and I have made clear our commitment to providing recruitment priority for marginalized populations, to gender equality, and to using our business as a force for good.”

Jackson, originally Samantha Barrett – the daughter of a Manteca realtor and a retired CalFire Battalion Chief – was making her way in the world in Seattle after graduating from high school while serving in the AmeriCorps, and had every intention of settling down in The Emerald City and making it her home. 

After meeting her husband, an aspiring political journalist, in Seattle in 2005, and after building the beginning of a career in social work, the couple was blindsided when the 2008 economic downturn wiped out their respective industries and left them scrambling for something more stable. While neither of them lost their jobs, Jackson says that they could tell that it would be coming and so they made the decision to sublet their Seattle loft, sell everything they owned, store what they could in the garage of her husband’s mother and then hop on a place to Indonesia to wait out the storm – working as English teachers in the interim. 

They never ended up going back. 

While the couple has managed to nurture the business they started into one of the fastest-growing independent creative agencies in Asia, it has taken a lot of work to get to that point. 

“No one tells you how hard it is to be an entrepreneur and business owner,” Jackson said. “It’s a 24/7 job, and there really isn’t a lot of time for anything other than the work. We’re in our sixth year now, and my goal for the next year is to start making sure I have a life outside of my business. 

“Right now, I’m just happy if I get home before 8 p.m., have time to watch Netflix and play with our dogs, or get to have a conversation that doesn’t involve work.”

But home could be on the horizon soon. 

Jackson said that she and her husband have plans of purchasing a home in Seattle in the coming years, and running the business remotely from there – giving them the opportunity to spend more time with family that they have seen only sparingly since making the trek to Asia. 

But the odds of their business going away as a result of that move, she said, is slim. 

“We don’t anticipate selling the business to anyone else, or closing shop,” Jackson said, “so we’ll be doing this for the foreseeable future, but we would like to be closer to home and have more time with our families.”

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.