How many years have you been in tech?
I wouldn’t consider myself to be 100% in tech. My job involves everything from logo design to campaign work to site design to digital content creation. So tech is definitely part of my day-to-day, just not all of it.
Tell me about your background. What were your early years like?
Both of my parents were in advertising. One of my earliest memories was showing my dad a drawing I knew I hadn’t put my full effort into. Up until this point though, he loved everything I did and I was just looking for a little praise. My dad looked down at the drawing and then up at me. He said, “You can do better”. That was my first of many creative reviews.
How were you exposed to tech?
I built my first website in college. I created Flash animations frame-by-frame in Illustrator. My journey through tech has been a winding one, but it was the mentors I met along the way that defined my path. I learned a lot from creative directors and I’ve always been open to learning from programmers, digital producers, and strategists. My husband is a software engineer so we have endless discussion and debate about the current and future state of technology. I also pay close attention to how my youngest friends use Snap and my oldest friends use Facebook – it has taught me a lot about digital and social expectations.
What is your current role?
I’m an associate creative director at an ad agency. And in my free time, my husband and I shop and eat local, which is all documented on our Instagram @livelocalstl.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
My proudest moments have come from having to tackle something totally new. A new media. A new concept. A new industry as a client. I revel in it. So in my free time my husband and I made an app, Mantragram. It was a totally new space for me to play in. It is pretty fun to pull up on the app store and realize we made that.
“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” Tell us about a time that this applied to you.
I was once called ‘disobedient’ by a client. Anyone that knows me knows it is pretty out of character. Here’s what was key, I didn’t have to persist. The owner of our agency did it for me. We walked away from the job, it wasn’t a right fit. What a powerful lesson early in my career to realize I worked for a company that was willing to back me in that way. Persisting on your own can be one thing, knowing you have people to stand in line next to you is on another level.
What are you learning right now?
How to be adaptable. Our industry is shifting and I want to ride and move with it, not against it. For example, right now I’m fascinated with what people’s mindset is when they interact with social, display and digital content. I now have to think about not only what a brand wants to communicate, but why someone is scrolling through their newsfeed to begin with. What will cut through the clutter?
Describe a time where you solved a problem in a creative way. For example, did something in your personal life trigger a solution to a problem at work?
Part of my career has been working with large companies to target small businesses. So for 2015 I chose to shop and live as locally-owned as possible. It was life changing. Following small business owners on social opened my eyes to concepts and ideas that I would have never seen before. Small business owners have always been my heroes, but they were even more after that. I’d highly suggest finding something to do in your free time that relates to your full-time, makes life more interesting.
What was the last fear that you faced? How did you feel after you conquered it?
I got to work on a social campaign where we traveled all over the US to document five contest winners. We didn’t know where we were headed until the week before, nothing could be planned out and that isn’t the way I usually work. It is moments like this where I thank goodness our company enrolled me in Improv classes. Strangely enough that bled into my real life to make me quicker on my feet. That, and having 12 years of experience, I learned through that process to trust my gut the first time.
What advice do you wish someone had given to you? What advice would you give to others starting out?
Last year at TedX Women panelist Vicki Felker said: My differences are my super powers. It has become my new life mantra. I’m a woman and I have a kinesthetic learning difference. There were moments in time when I thought these were two strikes against me. Turns out being a woman allowed me to bring a different perspective to some things and being a kinesthetic learner made me a more visual person. Realizing these were my assets was key to the evolution of my career.
What are your hobbies?
Shopping and eating local and documenting it on our Instagram, @livelocalstl. I also like to think about food a lot – making food, eating food, going out to have more food, planning tomorrow’s food… Now I’m hungry.
What do you like about St. Louis? The midwest? Why do you live here?
I’ll try to avoid writing an essay-length response to this one. As you can see from my answers above, I love this city. The food scene. The coffee scene. The beer scene. Art scene. Free attractions scene. I love all of the scenes, and the backdrop isn’t bad either. St. Louis is a humble place full of new discoveries, you just have to seek it out. This would be a good place to mention the top five places you should visit in St. Louis (not shockingly, all food related): Vista Ramen, Boardwalk Waffles, Brasserie, Patisserie Chouquette and the Tower Grove Farmers Market. Maybe don’t cram it all into one day, you may pass out from amazingness.
Who inspires you?
My husband. I underestimated how life changing it would be to marry someone that makes you want to be a better version of yourself. My parents also inspire me, coming from the same industry they’ve taught me a lot. My mom taught me how to think and my dad taught me how to see – and I use both of those skills everyday. On a day-to-day basis I’m incredibly inspired by the people I get to work with. I’ve found it is best to be surrounded by people who’s brilliance intimidates me.