From One Millennial To Another

Sorry to say this but we, the generation that assumed we could live forever; the generation that believed we were immune to time; the very same generation that rarely heeded our parents’ wise words on life because we treated it like it was unsolicited babble, we are getting older and time is running out.

It doesn’t matter if you have plans to start a family a few years down the road or if your plan is to stay forever single, I implore you to make the most of the time you have now. Go. Get out. Learn. Take it all in as much as you can. Try to fill up your life with as much as you can. Even if all you can afford is a one-day round-trip to the next state over, do it. It’s not so much about the ability to say you traveled but the opportunity to look back and say that you did something worth while. 

Even though I’ve  got heart full of adventure, a mind plagued by wanderlust and feet that are just itching at the bit to walk on new soil just like every other millennial out there, I'm okay with the fact that I'll never get to travel everywhere I want to. However, I'll never be okay with settling to stay in the same location without the goal to grow and go. 

So from one millennial kid to another, I implore you to make the most of what you have with the time you have now. Travel. Get up. Get lost. Travel far away. Travel for a month. Travel for a day. See what other cultures are doing. Walk to the far ends of your own neighbourhood. Learn the ways of the foreigner. Get up early to see the sunrise from the other side of your town. Stay out late into the night with no regrets because you got to see the stars from a different country. Whatever you do, wherever you go, make the most of it. 

 
 

A couple of weekends ago I took a trip north to the coast and did a mini hike. That's one of the greatest upsides to adventure, some of the best ones are made alone.

Here's To You. Yeah, You.

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I fell into the deep side of Facebook where it's too awkward or too far back on someone's timeline to like or post anything so I wrote something about it instead:
Here's to the people who finally moved out of Oregon; to the people that stayed; here's to those who found their roots and those who are just creating theirs; to the guy who's starting a family of his own; the girl who's forging a career out of her love for photography; to the two who have been together since high school and decided to make it legally official; to the people who continued to be "nerds" because there is no cooler thing than being passionate about what you truly enjoy; to the guy who moved all the way to New York far away from family but closer to his dreams; to the girl who kept her infectious laugh even though life threw many things her way; to my old classmate that found her calling in helping other students find theirs; to that one guy who chose to hold down his job so he can raise up his family; to the girl who made it out of that relationship with more strength than she even knows; to the guys and girls who took on a teaching job at a low-income school because they chose kids over money; to the girl who continues to work out day in and day out because she loves her body; to the girl that beat her addiction; to the guy that decided to take up baking and became really good at it; and amongst many, many others, the girl that took a few years off to live in a foreign land all for the sake of helping the unfortunate and also ended up helping out herself. 
Here is to everyone I see on Facebook everyday. It may not be the most personal place in the world but hearing about and seeing your personal stories gives me hope and makes me excited about life. I find myself in great company for having known/continuing to know all of you.

When being inspired is not enough.

Don't deny it, Instagram has a tendency to suck sometimes - and by suck I don't mean to call social media evil or that it's a terrible idea. I'm not here to tell you to delete your accounts, but I truly think Instagram sucks because it can honestly drain the life out of you if you're not careful. 

Less'Inspiration'

I've never tallied up the amount of hours I've spent on Instagram but I know that whatever the number is, it's a high one. On average, each user spends about half an hour* every day perusing through posts and double tapping pictures. Just add a few more minutes to that mix and you're probably getting closer to my average.

However it's not so much the hours on Instagram that started to scare me but the time spent after I had mustered enough mental strength to put the phone away and actually decide to do something that didn't require my eyeballs being plastered to a tiny screen. 

Because of this need to check it everyday more than once a day my life never felt "there" enough. I was never where I wanted to be in the way I dressed, my career, my home, my photography, love life, and regular relationships. To help console myself  and compensate for that I found my way back on Instagram (and some times Pinterest) under the excuse of "trying to get inspiration", trying to "better" myself. I falsely believed that if I could see how others were living I could also apply their ways to my own life. 

Maybe for some that method does work (ain't no shame in that game) but for me and maybe some of you that will never be the case. It all became less and less of a constructive critique and comparison of other people's lives to mine  and more of a consuming need to see others doing what I wanted to be doing myself - to live through their photos while never having to really do anything myself. 

Living through them made it so that I was never living for myself. Time would progress but no progress was actually being made.  

However, even with all that said it's not from me that you'll ever hear that social media is the root of all evil. Although I will put it out there to simply be careful. Don't let Instagram, or any social media platform for that matter suck you dry of your precious time or invaluable ideas. Don't let what you see on the screen dull your mind or lead you to put your life into a box of how you think it ought to be because you believe it will make your grass look greener. 

You can be inspired until the last of the sheep come home but ultimately only you have the power to do all that you want. No one else is gonna live your life for you and you cannot vicariously live through others. 

*Source: http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Younger-Users-Spend-More-Daily-Time-on-Social-Networks/1011592

Be easy. It's my first time in a long time.

(I haven't put any words up on the page in quite some time but I'm feelin' a bit different. So just bear with me and my little less than smooth post tonight). I just bawled  to the point of snot running down my nose  while on my bedroom floor. I'm approximately 8,392 miles away (give or take a thousand depending on what coast of the U.S. you're looking at) from my siblings; I'm a bit behind in the work I have to do; my college loans are very much still existent and just like the body that I'm learning to love daily, they're not changing anytime soon. BUT all that is NOT the reason why you would have found me sitting on my knees crying my eyes out not too long ago. Yes,  my life has a few "bumps" that I wish would just roll themselves out but , hey, what can you do?

I'll tell you what I did. I thanked Him for every situation in my life - bumps and all.  I thanked Him for my health. I thanked Him for my aspirations that while they are hard to reach sometimes, they are still existent and that means there is always something to look forward to. I thanked Him for my family. I thanked Him for the roof over my head. I thanked Him for the heart in my chest. I thanked Him for every memory I've had the fortune of making and every future moment that I'm blessed to walk forward to.  Yes, like I said, my life has had a few bumps and the occasional mountain but that will never stop me from being grateful for everything else. It's in doing so that things fell into perspective and I realised just how bad my focus was. What business do I have dwelling on the bad when there is so much good just begging for attention? Focusing on everything that's good brought me to tears because it made me realise all the more just how much God loves me. He loves me so much that in the midst of all my ruts and  complications He is willing stay and see me through. I was brought to tears because I know that no matter what, I'm going to be okay - we all will be. 

24 is just as special.

Last week I turned 24. While there were no balloons or no extravagant gifts I found this year's celebration to be just as special, if not more than any other year of notable mention (You know like your 1st, 10th, 15th or 16th, so on and so on). The day and the weekend that followed were just like any other but this time, being inspired by Liisa Luts who photographed her own wedding, I decided to photograph my own milestone from the first moment shortly after 12am Friday to the end of my weekend  after church on Sunday. Yes,  I still had to go to work, I still had to come home to wash the dishes and a few other things you could consider mundane but it's because of those things that I truly woke up feeling like one of the most fortunate people in the world. Here I am, 24 with the privilege to work at a place where the people that surround me are some of the brightest and talented people in the field; I get to come home to a place I can call my very own; even though my birthday fell on a weekday, I am grateful for friends who took time out of their weekend to celebrate with me again; and lastly, I get to freely give praise to God, whom without Him all this and the last 23 years would not be possible. So I leave you with these, may you also find any reason at all to celebrate every birthday and regular day in between.

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MAKE YOUR MARK: Emanuel Opadiya

EmanuelJerietDwightOpadiya_musician

What’s you name?

Emanuel 'Jeriet Dwight' Opadiya

Where are you located?

Sydney

If you could describe what you do for a living on your own terms, what would you say?

I would consider myself a creative artist; painting pictures with music and giving the world something to remember me by.

Aside from your given title, would you say there are any other titles or hats you wear in this position?

I wear many hats - as well as being a music artist I have a clothing label along with mentoring other artists and small business owners, producing music, innovating and managing.

Is this what you always wanted to be when you grew up?

Yes it is, no doubt about it.

Can you put into words your career history to date?

Not as such, it’s been a long journey. 

If there was ever a time where you weren’t working for yourself, how did you make the leap from working for someone to working for yourself?

Yeah, I use to work at footlocker and several other retail stores so I just decided to take a leap of faith which is risky as a musician but I have had lots of support along the way and have worked very hard to get where I am.

Was it an easy transition?

I wouldn’t say easy as such but it was for something I was passionate about so it was easy to solider on.

Coming back to the present, (haha) what is your morning routine before you start the day?

Coffee > Pray > Weetabix > Social Media > Emails > Music

Describe what you do between stepping into your work space and then calling it a wrap at the end of the day (Basically, your average work day):

Arrive Studio > Get on a vibe > Make or refine a beat > Write a song > Play FIFA while listening to the end result

What is your favourite part of the day?

Listening to the finished project

How do you define internal and external success in all that you do?

Internal: Is being an influential character in society that shows people how to live by good values

External: If I won a grammy

What has been the biggest success so far and why?

I just signed a publishing deal with Universal Music

With all that success there’s bound to be some overwhelming moments, how do you overcome the bumps along the way?

I stay humble and remember to keep thanking God and remind myself where I came from.

Ok, so you’re sitting at a cafe across the table from your biggest career inspiration, who is it and why?

Kanye West. He is an artistic creative genius in my opinion.

Now, someone new to the career field is sitting across the table from you, what advice do you give them?

Hard work and perseverance are the keys to success.  As I said though, stay humble and remember your root values.

Would you go back and do any of it differently or just the same?

No, I’d do it just the same but possibly with some better time management.

So if that little kid you used to be before looked at you now, do you think they’d be excited to grow up?

Yeah most definitely. As I said I endeavor to be influential to people like my younger self so I think I’ve achieved that.

What do you want to do next?

I plan on releasing an album that will change the face of both the Australian and worldwide music and hip-hop industry.

What is your favourite saying/inspirational quote?

Dreams are worth more than money.


TO SEE MORE OF EMANUEL & HIS WORK, CHECK HIM OUT ONLINE:   INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | SOUNDCLOUD | CLOTHING

MAKE YOUR MARK: Eric Bolt

EricBolt_Pilot

What’s you name?

Eric Robert Bolt

Where are you located?

Hartford County, CT

If you could describe what you do for a living on your own terms, what would you say?

I’m a man of many hats, just as any good entrepreneur should be.  Aircraft Broker, Pilot and Marketing Executive would be the big three. However, the generic term “entrepreneur” might sum it up better

Aside from your given title, would you say there are any other titles or hats you wear in this position?

Being an entrepreneur and your own boss, it’s inevitable that you are the Marketing and Sales Team, the IT Department, Accounting and overall, the manager of all of those roles.

Is this what you always wanted to be when you grew up?

Ever since I was a little boy, following my father and mother around and through airports across the world, I always knew that aviation would be my passion. That being said, I never expected to be brokering airplanes for people. I figured I would be flying for an airline or some large corporation. To be honest I didn’t know it was such an attainable job.  Looking back however, I truly enjoy flying around for my own business and being my own boss.

Can you put into words your career history to date?

Hectic. I have had so many jobs since I was 16, Everything from Audio Visual Technician to Zip line Guide, Freestyle Ski Instructor to a Police dispatcher. I’ve enjoyed trying different jobs over the years, but it’s safe to say my passion is Aviation.

If there was ever a time where you weren’t working for yourself, how did you make the leap from working for someone to working for yourself?

There were many times where I was a part of a larger organization and not my own boss and I’ve really appreciated the opportunities in the past. Having different jobs and working for different companies and bosses really gave me a good insight into the business world.  I’ve learned so much from different business models, management styles and corporate structures, and try to utilize what I’ve learned in my own business practices.

Was it an easy transition?

I wouldn’t say it was easy. At a job where you have a boss and a more “structured” position, someone sets your hours, your pay rate your projects, etc. Being an entrepreneur changes all of that. YOU set your hours, YOU prioritize your projects, YOU have to make it work, so you can take a pay check home at the end of day. Overall I’ve enjoyed the change of pace, however, somethings have been easier than others.

Coming back to the present, (haha) what is your morning routine before you start the day?

Morning routine? What’s that? Anyone who knows me realizes I am the farthest thing from a morning person. I usually wake up around 7:30, feed my two rabbits, all of the fish, take a shower, get dressed and attempt to be on the road by 7:45. It’s a pretty hectic 15 minutes, but in my opinion it’s worth the extra sleep.

Describe what you do between stepping into your work space and then calling it a wrap at the end of the day (Basically, your average work day):

Every-day is different, which is what I like most about my job. Most days consist of handling all of my marketing outlets, following up with clients, reaching out to new potential clients and/or flying all over the Northeast to meet with customers.

What is your favourite part of the day?

My favorite part of the day is usually getting home and reflecting on my day. Work is fun, but not working is even better!

How do you define internal and external success in all that you do?

Personally, I strive for both internal and external success in all that I do. My personal business goals come from all the external work I do with clients and customers.

What has been the biggest success so far and why?

My greatest success is meeting my amazing clients and learning their stories about how they got into aviation. Making a sale is great and all, but having a solid client base who will offer return business is amazing.

With all that success there’s bound to be some overwhelming moments, how do you overcome the bumps along the way?

My father, who is just retiring from 42 years at Pratt & Whitney, has coined a phrase to which I live by. “Stay calm, move forward.” So simple yet so true. Just keep on keeping on and everything will work out for the best.

Ok, so you’re sitting at a cafe across the table from your biggest career inspiration, who is it and why?

My biggest inspiration is my father. I have never met a more dedicated, hardworking professional, that cares so deeply about the company he works for and the people he works with. He is loved by everyone he has every worked with, and his accomplishments are nothing short of incredible. My father will always be my inspiration and I hope to be half as successful as he has been.

Now, someone new to the career field is sitting across the table from you, what advice do you give them?

The same advice I use myself when there are tough times or bumps in the road. “Stay calm, move forward.” You will not get anywhere in this business unless you keep at it. Keep making calls, firing off emails and meeting people. In this business, opportunity comes from hard work and persistence.

Would you go back and do any of it differently or just the same?

I’m sure some minor things I would change, however, I have no regrets. The good times have been amazing, and the bad times have been a learning experience, but through it all it has made me a better person, a better professional and a better aircraft broker and pilot.

So if that little kid you used to be before looked at you now, do you think they’d be excited to grow up?

Of course! I’ve always wanted to work on and with airplanes and that’s exactly what I get to do, everyday.

What do you want to do next?

Sell a large jet. That’s my goal. Everything up to this point has been large business prop planes, or small single and twin personal aircrafts.  I’m greatly looking forward to reaching this goal in my career.

What is your favourite saying/inspirational quote?

“There are old pilots, and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots.” – Harry Copland

No truer words could be said in the aviation industry. Be safe and you will be in the industry a long time, take chances and bad things can and will happen. This quote reminds me to be safe while flying and in the worst case, landing is always a better option that continuing and getting into trouble.


TO SEE MORE OF ERIC & HIS WORK, CHECK HIM OUT ONLINE:  WEBSITE | EMAIL |

MAKE YOUR MARK: Ian De Graff

IanDeGraff_Owner_Kafoury

What’s you name?

Ian De Graff

Where are you located?

Portland, OR

If you could describe what you do for a living on your own terms, what would you say?

I am an individual that designs or curates pieces and collections by personal style and liking for sale to the general masses. 

Aside from your given title, would you say there are any other titles or hats you wear in this position?

I would say my main title would be founder and designer. Aside from the multiple hats that come with just those positions, as a start-up, I am also wholesale/sales manager and shipping manager at the moment. When you start up a company you do end up wearing a lot of hats.

Is this what you always wanted to be when you grew up?

Not necessarily. I remember a few things I loved to do growing up: playing soccer, drawing & being creative and building legos. What stuck with me most was that I've always loved to build and create so it makes total sense in what I am doing today.

Can you put into words your career history to date?

My career began just about six years ago visiting an aunt who taught me how to sew. She gave me a few leather and canvas scrap pieces and access to her machine and I went away creating something I needed. At that time it was a wallet. From that point on I came home trying new materials, buying sewing machines, making hundreds of samples over the course of the years, learning sewing patterns and designs, as well as studying fashion. I found my heart in simplistic design and created my own brand a year ago.

If there was ever a time where you weren’t working for yourself, how did you make the leap from working for someone to working for yourself? Was it an easy transition?

First off, making the leap from working for someone else to working for yourself is a huge challenge that is not always easy. Throughout the years I've had great support from my wife, family and friends. If it wasn't for them I could have never made that jump.

Before the time of working fully for myself I went in and out of a few jobs. While I was working as a barista I hit a road block in my life where I was tired of working a dead-end job that I didn't love. From there I began to create my first collection of leather goods and pursued my own brand. My wife who worked for her family business was able to support us as we made the transition of me working as a barista to putting out a collection and working odd-jobs to fully working for myself.

Coming back to the present, (haha) what is your morning routine before you start the day?

Most mornings I try to rise as early as possible. A must-do to get the day started off right. I try to read the Bible and meditate on the day soon after. Think about what needs to be done and plan for execution of all that.

Describe what you do between stepping into your work space and then calling it a wrap at the end of the day (Basically, your average work day):

First thing I do when I get to work is check on emails. Once I am caught up I try to connect with a few new people each day. Whether that be an inspiring artist or photographer or a shop or boutique that could carry my products. From there I work on what needs to be done for production of the business then move towards marketing. Posting content on social media and connecting with people on there. Social Media tends to be a task that is managed throughout the day. From there I work on future collaborations or collections for the brand. Sketching, drawling, measuring and making samples. In the early days of a start-up there are no hour limits to your day. I may have a small break in between each part of the day but mostly work until I can't. Especially in this beginning season of the brand.

What is your favourite part of the day?

The best part of my day would be the work part of the day in general. Since I get to do what I love it doesn’t feel like it will be the death of me to put in extra hours. It's truly a joy to create in my mind, draw it down, make a sample, get it into production and market & sell it to the public.

How do you define internal and external success in all that you do?

I would define my internal successes primarily as working a full day. A part of that day is learning something new personally or something new to apply to the business, whether that be in design or business or a new strategy.

External success would be for an individual to love the product all the way to purchase and have them enjoy that piece for many years to come. Other external success could be getting press features from blogs, magazines, etc.

What has been the biggest success so far and why?

One of the biggest successes I've had within all of my work comes from a more personal stand point.To believe in doing what I love and that I can get it done. This has effected everything as a whole. When I came to a point in my life where I was fed up with working jobs that I never fully loved or was passionate about I searched for something that I did love and would do for a very long time. For a long time it was the worry of being able to get the job done right, to not fail. Also, largely to do something different than the normal 4-year degree and desk job. Personally I couldn't settle for that. Not to diminish any jobs like that or anything. I'm personally just wired differently. This lead me to believe in who God created me to be and honor that I am like I am.

This then lead me to jump over HUGE hurdles of fear and failures to come. It's known to be said around the industry that we are in the work of failures but the greatest thing is believing you can do what you love to the point of actually making it happen and never giving up. Failures will come and so will success but I truly believe you can't totally fail at all until you give up completely. That is the moment of failure.

This has affected how I approach everything I do. I continually learn and get better at what I do, but never ever believe that I should call it quits. Some days are hard but I just can't quit -  it's outside of my mind now. This has been the biggest success and has affected everything because I am working at my dream job and that gives me the will to keep getting better every day. When you do something you love things such as overtime, early mornings, late nights, education and learning new trades all start to seem natural. Which all lead to successes of the business.

With all that success there’s bound to be some overwhelming moments, how do you overcome the bumps along the way?

I've learned in my industry there are lots of moments of failures. Like I said before, we call it the industry of failure. If I were ever to advise someone coming into my position I would tell them to prepare to fail. We can't get hung up on the failures. They will always come here and there. I heard someone say once that the most successful business owners or entrepreneurs always have something in the oven in terms of ideas. Once they take something out of the oven they put something new in and if that thing they took out fails they continue on to the next idea and so on and so forth. It's all about learning from the failures and moving on to the next thing.

Ok, so you’re sitting at a cafe across the table from your biggest career inspiration, who is it and why?

Stephen from Stephen Kenn. Stephen is a designer based in Los Angeles who creates furniture and bags. Stephen is not only an amazing creator but a great guy in general. He pursues normal everyday life and relationships with intention and heart. I would sit down with him any day to learn more about life, career and doing what you love well.

Now, someone new to the career field is sitting across the table from you, what advice do you give them?

I would encourage them in who they are and in their creations. The biggest weapon we have is believing in who we are. Believing in what we can do and that we can do it. To search for their liking in style, design or creations and focus on that. Focus on originality and creating something they love.

Always have something in the oven. Don't hang onto failure, learn from it.

Would you go back and do any of it differently or just the same?

I learned a lot along the way. I wouldn't change it in any way but if I were to do it again I would remind myself to work on creating the best product I could and to work hard to get it out there into the public eye.

So if that little kid you used to be before looked at you now, do you think they’d be excited to grow up?

Absolutely. I would be excited to continue to explore creativity, working with my hands and working hard to make it my everyday job. I also would be excited to work along with other creative designers and people.

What do you want to do next?

I have goals to continue to create new and different things. Bags are great but I'd love to explore the world of apparel, architecture and create a one-for-one to give back to those in need.

What is your favourite saying/inspirational quote?

There are a lot of things we cannot control in life but one thing we can control is giving it our all.


TO SEE MORE OF Ian & his WORK, CHECK him OUT ONLINE:  WEBSITE | INSTAGRAMTWITTER

MAKE YOUR MARK: Polly Irungu

PollyIrungu_ Owner_KGHustle

What’s your name?

Polly Irungu

Where are you located?

Eugene, Oregon

If you could describe what you do for a living on your own terms, what would you say?

I am a creative who helps others find their creative voice.

Aside from your given title, would you say there are any other titles or hats you wear in this position?

Job #1 College Rep / Social Media team for Def Jam Recordings (DefJamU)

Job# 2 Production Assistant for PAC 12 Networks

Job# 3 Freelance Photographer

*** MAIN *** Job #4 Marketing and branding for my company K&G Hustle

Is this what you always wanted to be when you grew up?

The funny thing is, when I was younger I had a dream to be an FBI agent. I wanted to study criminal minds and then that changed to engineering and now here I am a photographer with my own marketing business.

Can you put into words your career history to date?

When I was  16, CNN iReport featured me as one of six international women journalists to watch. Then at 18, I was invited to assist a fashion journalist at the Grammy Awards on the red carpet in Hollywood, CA. That same summer, I won a spot in a New York City exhibit and had my work featured on a billboard by Creative Rising. The following year, I was recognized by the University of Oregon as “One of 25 Ducks: Who Will Change The World” and was featured in the college newspaper, The Daily Emerald. I received this recognition twice; one in 2013 and 2014. In May 2015, I was awarded Women4Africa’s (women4africa.com) International Young Achiever of the Year.

I began my journey behind the lens early in high school. By snapping anything that captured my eye I perfected my craft and created an escape from reality. I spend countless hours of capturing images behind my camera to create well-rounded photos and master the art of photography one photo at a time. Each and every photo I take is a demonstration of my love to create art for the world to witness.

Besides K&G Hustle, some of my interests consist of fashion, traveling, music, and innovation. Aside from being the CEO at K&G Hustle, I am a regional representative for Def. Jam Recordings and occasionally I also work with the PAC 12 Sports Network as a Production Assistant.

If there was ever a time where you weren’t working for yourself, how did you make the leap from working for someone to working for yourself? Was it an easy transition?

Great question. Everyone has to start somewhere. My first job was at McDonalds as a cashier. I worked there for almost two years to purchase the camera I currently shoot with and a Macbook Pro. After McDonalds, I did a few student leasing jobs at apartment complexes near the University of Oregon. It was while working at my leasing jobs that I realized I am not someone who can do a 9-5 job. I felt like I was suffocating and losing my passion to create. I quit my leasing jobs and switched focus back to my freelance photography work.

By gaining experience outside of the classroom, I was able to score an internship with the University of Oregon Athletic Department as a web intern for GoDucks.Com. That internship led me to be a seasonal production assistant for the PAC 12 Networks (and etc).

Change is never easy. To make such a leap, you have to be OK with doing it alone - at least for a while. You have to understand that everyone is on a different journey and on a different pace. I am about to be cliche but life really is way too short to not do what you love.

Coming back to the present, (haha) what is your morning routine before you start the day?

I thank God for another opportunity to get it right. After saying a short prayer, I check my phone and all social media channels (#firstworldproblems). Then you know, shower, get dressed and Starbucks coffee.

Describe what you do between stepping into your work space and then calling it a wrap at the end of the day (Basically, your average work day):

Ah girl, that is tough to say. My average day is cray. I usually start at around 9am and wrap up around 3am. If I have photo shoots then I schedule them as early as possible. If not, then I have class from 10am-2pm. 2pm-5pm is set aside for homework. 5pm-7pm is set aside for photo editing. 7pm-9pm is my 'me time' (eating, Netflix, browsing the web etc). 10pm-12am look for new opportunities (concerts to photograph, internships etc). 12am-whenever I am tired is set aside for answering emails, and social media work for DefJamU.

What is your favourite part of the day?

About 2am. The rush of creativity that flows thru my head after midnight is sometimes overwhelming. However, I feel like 2am is my primetime.

How do you define internal and external success in all that you do?

Matthew 16:26 - “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?”

What has been the biggest success so far and why?

My first note from a stranger that said I am an inspiration. When I felt like I was not on the right track it was a positive affirmation. All I want to do is make a difference and give back.

With all that success there’s bound to be some overwhelming moments, how do you overcome the bumps along the way?

Everyone will be bound to have off days, fail, get rejected, etc. I used to be in a dark place in middle and high school. I wasn't sure of my purpose and would be really hard on myself. Then a friend reminded me of the bible verse, (Ps 30:5) “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” You have to search for that inner strength to continue.

Traveling helps give me peace and a new dose of inspiration. I also love looking at the Because of Them, We Can series. Knowing that those who came before us had much larger obstacles but overcame by not giving up is why I must continue. We need to lead the younger generations.

At the end of the day, faith, family and friends. A support system is everything. I know that my story has just begun and I have faith that it will get better. I strive to be better and do better each day.

Ok, so you’re sitting at a cafe across the table from your biggest  career inspiration, who is it and why?

Karen Civil. She has changed the game for the entertainment world by simply having a passion and work ethic unlike anyone else. Brands such as Beats By Dre would not be where they are today if it was not for Ms. Civil. I respect her as an innovator, creative, activist and fierce black woman. She is truly an inspiration.

Now, someone new to the career field is sitting across the table from you, what advice do you give them?

The sky is not the limit, the limit is what you make it. You have to ignore the voices within that say “you can’t”, “not good enough”, “that dream is not realistic” and so on. Your attitude is everything. People may laugh at your goals but so what?! You will have to do some things alone. You can't carry dead weight all the time. If it is not adding to your life then let it go!! Last but not least, believe in yourself. No one will care about your dream as much as you. You have to invest in you!! When you feel like giving up, take a day to refocus and reenergize. You got this!!! Rome wasn't built overnight. Oh and also, I am a firm believer of speaking it into existence. JUST CLAIM IT!

Would you go back and do any of it differently or just the same?

I would do everything the same. I don't think there is any point on holding onto the past and having regrets. Yes, I have made plenty of mistakes but it is important to learn, grow and move on.

So if that little kid you used to be before looked at you now, do you think they’d be excited to grow up?

Never in a million years did I think I would have accomplished all these things, meet so many dope people and be living in Oregon. Yes, I think little ol' Polly would be excited and proud. We only see a piece of the whole puzzle.

What do you want to do next?

I want to spend more time on focusing on me. It is important to breathe and listen to your body. But do not worry, I will still be on my grind.

What is your favourite saying/inspirational quote?

Philippians 4:13New King James Version (NKJV) - “I can do all things through Christ[a] who strengthens me.”

Jeremiah 29:11New International Version (NIV) - “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

“When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.” - Stuart Scott


TO SEE MORE OF POLLY & HER WORK, CHECK HER OUT ONLINE:  BEHANCE | LINKEDIN | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER

MAKE YOUR MARK: Josh Enobakhare

JoshEnobakhare_Digital Media Director

What’s you name?

Josh Enobakhare

Where are you located?

Camarillo, CA

If you could describe what you do for a living on your own terms, what would you say?

I’m an adjunct professor in the TV & Film Department at Santa Barbara City College

I’m a freelance Digital Media director in Los Angeles

I’m a digital media producer at Hillsong Church Los Angeles

I lead up youth lighting for Hillsong Church Los Angeles

Aside from your given title, would you say there are any other titles or hats you wear in this position?

Encourager, time manager, accountability partner, trainer, problem solver

Is this what you’ve always wanted to be when you grew up?

It pretty much has been, at least since early high school

Can you put into words your career history to date?

Santa Barbara City College: 01 / 2014 - Present

TV & Film Production Adjunct Professor

FP114 (Video Editing) - Teaches the fundamentals of video editing from development to distribution through hands on experience.

FP175 (Film Production) - Teaches the fundamentals of pre-production, production and post production in the feature film and music video industries.

Olufemii.com: 01 / 2012 - Present

Digital Media Director + Video Editor

Produces, directs and edits music videos and commercials for A-list clients in the domestic and international market.

Clients include Coca Cola, Uggs, Tevas, Sean Kingston, Nickelodeon’s Kel Mitchell etc.

Hillsong Los Angeles: 07 / 2014 - Present

Digital Media Producer + Youth Lighting Director

Shoots photography for weekly distribution on all social media platforms

Shoots and edits video for monthly campaigns and events

Leads up the Hillsong Youth lighting team

ActionVillage.com: 11 / 2011 - 12 / 2013

Video Producer

Video producer at one of the nation's largest action sports retailers

PDXImprov (defunct): 09 / 2008 - 04 / 2012

Creative Design & Marketing Director

• Co-Founder of Portland Improv, organizer of several flash mob events. Many events involving thousands of participants.

• Created and sustained the organization's brand ID and vision

• Onsite Event director & Video editor

If there was ever a time where you weren’t working for yourself, how did you make the leap from working for someone to working for yourself? Was it an easy transition?

I’m still in that process of going completely freelance. I believe the key to achieving complete financial independence as a creative is:

Finding and filling a specific need in an unreached niche market

Effective personal branding

Strategic networking

A honed in focus of perfecting your skills

Coming back to the present, (haha) what is your morning routine before you start the day?

Snooze button 2 times. Then Subway.

Describe what you do between stepping into your work space and then calling it a wrap at the end of the day (Basically, your average work day):

In the morning I drive north to Santa Barbara and teach 2 film production classes. After teaching I usually drive to LA for a shoot, then I drive back home to video edit.

What is your favourite part of the day?

Magic hour. The last hour before the sun sets. Creates boss lighting for film production.

How do you define internal and external success in all that you do?

It can be easy to get caught up in external success, which involves the validation from others. The joy that comes from external success, however, can be fleeting due to its subjective nature. 

I think internal success is all about recognizing value based on your personal life goals. A lot of the time this disregards the opinions others.

What has been the biggest success so far and why?

Oh wow I’ll have to think about this. I’d say joining the Hillsong creative team.

With all that success there’s bound to be some overwhelming moments, how do you overcome the bumps along the way?

Often as creatives we measure our value based on the level of our abilities, or based on our personal gains or failures.

Finding our significance in anything other than Christ can be a risky venture as we experience the ebb and flow of life. People and situations fail us, we don't reach earthly career goals.

What's incredible is that our worth has already been determined for us (regardless of our bumps and successes)! Christ valued us to the point of carrying the burden of our sins at the cross.  Here's  a vid I made about this concept not too long ago: Identity.

Ok, so you’re sitting at a cafe across the table from your biggest  career inspiration, who is it and why?

It would be this guy Salomon Ligthelm. He was a lead video producer at Hillsong Church for years. He directs gorgeous internationally syndicated television ads and, shoots incredible music videos for A-list artists. When he releases a video on Vimeo the whole world seems to take notice.

In my opinion, he has single handedly set the visual style that Hillsong has adopted for all of its video content. The incredibly high quality in Ligthelm’s visuals has been adopted by so many churches around the world too.

It’s so interesting reading about the glorious art that came out of the church during the Renaissance period. I believe that today’s church is finally reclaiming that territory in the form of gorgeous video media.

Check out Salomon Ligthelm’s portfolio.

Now, someone new to the career field is sitting across the table from you, what advice do you give them?

Choose a specific area of expertise.

You're asked, “What area of film production are you in?”

Never state, “Oh I’m good at everything.”

It will be assumed that you are mediocre at everything.

State your specific area of expertise, (DP, video editing, color correcting, VFX, screenwriting, etc) and you will be respected as an expert in that field.

If you are actually good at everything, it will be evident without having to be told.

Would you go back and do any of it differently or just the same?

I would have learned graphic design too ;)

So if that little kid you used to be before looked at you now, do you think they’d be excited to grow up?

Oh definitely!

What do you want to do next?

I’d love to continue to learn visual effects

What is your favourite saying/inspirational quote?

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will”

Romans 12:2


TO SEE MORE OF Josh & his WORK, CHECK him OUT ONLINE: WEBSITE | VIMEO | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

MAKE YOUR MARK: Callie McCracken

CallieMcCracken_PropStylist

What’s you name?

Callie Marie McCracken

Where are you located?

Spokane, WA and all around the Pacific Northwest for work!

If you could describe what you do for a living on your own terms, what would you say?

I do showroom merchandising for a furniture store. I spend every week in a different store freshening up the displays and making sure they look as inviting as possible with lamps, rugs, artwork and decorative accessories.

Aside from your given title, would you say there are any other titles or hats you wear in this position?

My greatest secondary responsibility is training the staff to understand the basics of merchandising. Since I am only in each location every other month or so it is integral that they are able to maintain the quality of the displays between my visits.

Is this what you always wanted to be when you grew up?

Ever since I saw Father of the Bride 2, I wanted to be an Interior Decorator like the character Franc from the movie. 

Can you put into words your career history to date?

After earning my bachelors degree in Interior Design I worked for a high end furniture store doing design and sales.  I got to decorate some amazing multi million dollar homes on Lake Coeur d'Alene in Idaho.  I even worked on a home in an exclusive community in Kona, Hawaii and got to travel there twice to get specs and set everything up.  That was definitely a highlight!  Soon after I completed that project I was offered a job as Regional Visual Merchandiser for my current company.  I've been in this position now for 3 years. 

If there was ever a time where you weren’t working for yourself, how did you make the leap from working for someone to working for yourself? Was it an easy transition?

I'm still transitioning into being full-time freelance.  I've dabbled in lots of freelance endeavors over the years and have finally resolved that Prop Styling is the direction I am most passionate about.  For me the transition is slow because I need to be financially stable, and I live in a small community with limited opportunity.  However, I'm hoping that will actually enable me to have an edge on the market.  If your dream job doesn't exist where you live, create it!

Coming back to the present, (haha) what is your morning routine before you start the day?

Um, I am not a morning person.  I shower at night so I can roll out of bed at the last second and book it to work ha!

Describe what you do between stepping into your work space and then calling it a wrap at the end of the day (Basically, your average work day):

I am very task oriented.  I like to come up with a list, with boxes to check off.  Did you know you get endorphins from checking boxes?  I love me some endorphins!  Usually my lists consist of 'change this rug, move those tables, create a seasonal display, bring artwork out of the warehouse', those types of things.

What is your favourite part of the day?

I love anytime I can step back and see the results of my hard work and creativity.  It's very satisfying to see a display transition from a discombobulated mess to something eye-catching and inspiring!

How do you define internal and external success in all that you do?

My position is very self-motivated.  I don't work under anyone or have supervisors who are telling me what to do and when to do it.  It's liberating, but also can be difficult to keep myself on track.  I feel an internal sense of accomplishment when I am able to get myself motivated and work through the temptation to be lazy or not do my best.  I get an external sense of success when I can step back and see everything that I've accomplished in a day. My favorite thing about my job is that my work is very tangible and visual.

What has been the biggest success so far and why?

Instagram is my greatest creative outlet.  It's such an integral tool for me in transitioning to full time freelance prop stylist.  That being said my greatest successes have been A Beautiful Mess and Shop Bando reposting my pictures.  That sort of sounds silly to say, but it's such validation to have these massive sources of inspiration appreciate something I've staged enough to share it!

With all that success there’s bound to be some overwhelming moments, how do you overcome the bumps along the way?

The most difficult aspect of the creative industry is that your soul is so tied to what you do.  I view everything as a form of self expression, so it's easy to feel vulnerable and exposed, which can lead to a lot of insecurity when you don't get the response you had hoped for.  Maintaining healthy perspective and intention is so important.  The focus should be on doing your best and creating work that you are proud of, rather than getting caught up people's validation of your work. 

Ok, so you’re sitting at a cafe across the table from your biggest  career inspiration, who is it and why?

Jen Gotch is a huge inspiration to me.  She has had a career as a prop stylist, and photographer and now she is the creative director of the amazingly successful shop Ban.do.  Not only does she have impeccable taste, she has a fascinating creative mind and she is hilarious to boot.

Now, someone new to the career field is sitting across the table from you, what advice do you give them?

I would give them the ol' cliche, stay true to yourself.  Follow the inspiration but find a way to interpret it through your own lens. 

Would you go back and do any of it differently or just the same?

Get back to me in a few years on that, we'll see 😉

So if that little kid you used to be before looked at you now, do you think they’d be excited to grow up?

I grew up in a very small town and my family didn't travel much.  I don't think my 10 year old self could have eve conceived that one day I would travel professionally making stores look pretty.  Pretty sure she would be stoked to grow up.

What do you want to do next?

Up next is definitely completely my transition to full-time freelance.  I am in the process but that's top secret for the time being 😁

What is your favourite saying/inspirational quote?

"You can't use up creativity.  The more you use, the more you have." Maya Angelou


TO SEE MORE OF CALLIE & HER WORK, CHECK HER OUT ONLINE: INSTAGRAM 

MAKE YOUR MARK: Jessica Omitola

Jessica Omitola _ Ilatoda

What’s you name?

Jessica Omitola

Where are you located?

Manchester, England

If you could describe what you do for a living on your own terms, what would you say? 

I am a visual artist. I create portraits using mixed mediums such as charcoal pencil, acrylics and watercolour paints.

Aside from your given title, would you say there are any other titles or hats you wear in this position?

Would a makeup artist count? I literally stumbled into it by accident when I assisted a photographer friend on set of a fashion shoot. The official makeup artist did not show up and I was dragged in to replace her because apparently I should be good at freehand stuff right? Surprisingly it turned out pretty good and hence my photographer friend decided I would be her own personal makeup artist. It’s actually landed me a few jobs with other photographers since and even now I still do the odd wedding or event makeup job.

Is this what you always wanted to be when you grew up? 

NO WAY! I’ve wanted to be a lot of things, and they were usually all academia based. I’ve wanted to be a Pharmacist, a Biochemist, even a Medical Doctor. But I never wanted to be an Artist. When you are brought up in a traditional Nigerian household the last thing you are taught to aspire to be is some form of an artist. It’s just a no-go area.

Can you put into words your career history to date? 

Haha this is a funny question. I may need to check out my résumé to give my memory a bit of a jolt.  I have done almost every type of layman’s job. I’ve been a Maths and English tutor for little kids, I’ve worked in a cinema selling confectionaries, worked at Primark, I’ve been a Care Assistant, babysitter, I was even a newspaper girl at 14. And this is just touching the surface.

If there was ever a time where you weren’t working for yourself, how did you make the leap from working for someone to working for yourself? Was it an easy transition?

I think the hardest part is when people asked “So what are you going to do once you leave your job?” Then comes the awkward pauses after you tell them your plans. It is hard convincing people you want to pursue your natural talents because we are taught there is no space for that nonsense in the real world. But once you get over that unction to please people your load gets a lot lighter. Making the leap also became easier once I decided not to look back. I realised that I didn’t want to get to the pearly gates with half a life lived. So this really pushed me to focus on what was ahead and not what I was leaving behind. In general it was not an easy transition so to speak but nothing worth having is ever easy.

Coming back to the present, (haha) what is your morning routine before you start the day? 

- I try to start my day with a conversation with God

- Check my emails and social media accounts for any updates

- Workout or a run around the park for at least 30 minutes

- Shower and brush my teeth.

- Breakfast usually includes a green smoothie or porridge (I know it sounds pretty boring but I’m not a breakfast person)

- Make my face and hair presentable (this is if I am stepping out of the house by the way, otherwise it’s a sports bra and sweats kind of day)

Describe what you do between stepping into your work space and then calling it a wrap at the end of the day (Basically, your average work day):

My schedule usually varies each day. Some days I am just completing orders; which includes parcel and packaging, then going to post office to ship the items. Then other days I am creating new work or completing old work, getting them scanned professionally and updating the website and my social media platforms. Then there is the research side of things. It all depends on what needs doing to be honest.

What is your favourite part of the day? 

Bedtime! Hands down!

How do you define internal and external success in all that you do? 

I don’t know how to answer this question without sounding super cliché. For me success in general is when I know without a doubt that what I am doing puts a smile on people’s faces and their hearts. When people see my work and talk about it like it has somehow moved their emotions I am left thinking, ‘This thing I do must be a gift that I dare not bury.’

What has been the biggest success so far and why? 

When I launched ilatoda.com because that was when the actualisation of my dreams began.

With all that success there’s bound to be some overwhelming moments, how do you overcome the bumps along the way? 

My faith keeps me grounded. When the stress hits I find that remembering that I am but a grain of sand in the bigger picture of things brings me back down to earth. If I let my own worries and failures get the better of me and I cease to see that life is worth much more and means much more than my own personal ambitions then everything I have accomplished and wish to accomplish becomes in vain. In short I try to be grateful.

Ok, so you’re sitting at a cafe across the table from your biggest career inspiration, who is it and why? 

Right now it would be Nelson Makamo, a portrait artist from South Africa. Google his work and you will see why too.

Now, someone new to the career field is sitting across the table from you, what advice do you give them? 

It depends if they even wanted my advice. Haha they might be more clued up than I am. But if they did ask I guess I would tell them to surround themselves with those that are dreamers and accomplishers; people that will critique with love and pull them up along the way.

Would you go back and do any of it differently or just the same?

Oh I would DEFINITELY go back and do things differently. It’s part of the cons of being an artist. We are our biggest critique.

So if that little kid you used to be before looked at you now, do you think they’d be excited to grow up? 

I think they would be because the little kid I used to be was timid and hurt and very insecure. I think she would realise that confidence and fulfilment was not out of her reach after all and that it would soon be tangible.

What do you want to do next? 

I don’t know the specifics yet.  I am trying to let go of the reins of control a little bit and just go where I am led but I’m sure that what I will be doing for the next few years will definitely involve creating and displaying.

What is your favourite saying/inspirational quote? 

“I am not tragically colored. There is no great sorrow lurking behind my eyes. I do not mind at all. I do not belong to the sobbing school of Negrohood who hold that nature somehow has given them a low-down dirty deal and whose feelings are all hurt about it. Even in the helter-skelter skirmish that is my life, I have seen that the world is to the strong regardless of a little pigmentation more or less. No, I do not weep at the world – I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife” Zora Neale Hurston


TO SEE MORE OF JESSICA & HER WORK, CHECK HER OUT ONLINE:  WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK

MAKE YOUR MARK: Ruby Boland

RubyBoland_photographer copy

What’s you name?

Ruby Boland

Where are you located?

Ulladulla, NSW, Australia.

If you could describe what you do for a living on your own terms, what would you say?

I’m currently in between jobs at the moment, focussing on improving my skills as well as doing a few paid photography jobs here and there.

Aside from your given title, would you say there are any other titles or hats you wear in this position?

Aside from photography, I really enjoy graphic design. Using both my photography and graphic design skills, I’ve been able to design posters for several events and bands.

Is this what you always wanted to be when you grew up?

I never really knew what I wanted to do when I grew up, I guess I always wanted to do something creative with either music or photography. I remember spending about a year figuring out how I could do something related to music and photography before I started to pursue music photography as a career.

Can you put into words your career history to date?

I’ve been lucky enough to shoot quite a few bands that I love which is pretty awesome in my eyes. I’ve contributed as a photographer to a few different websites which has definitely gained me experience in shooting live music and given me opportunities to shoot artists I never thought I’d be able to shoot.

If there was ever a time where you weren’t working for yourself, how did you make the leap from working for someone to working for yourself? Was it an easy transition?

I’ve only recently started working for myself, not full time yet but slowly getting there. There’s definitely pros and cons to being your own boss, getting motivated is definitely something I struggle to do, especially when it comes to editing photos.

Coming back to the present, (haha) what is your morning routine before you start the day?

I try to get up as early as I can so I can wake up properly, eat breakfast and get organised for the day. Usually the night before I write a list of all the things i’d like to finish the next day, which definitely helps me get jobs done without too much distraction.

Describe what you do between stepping into your work space and then calling it a wrap at the end of the day (Basically, your average work day):

Some days I have heaps of things to do and some days I don’t have much to do. I try to do the things that take the most time first to get them out of the way and then start working on the things that don’t take as much time. On the days that I don’t have as much work to do, I’m usually brainstorming new project ideas, looking for ways I can do things differently. I’m one of those people who loves finding the easiest way to do whatever it is I’m doing. It definitely makes completing tasks easier when you know how to do it simply but well.

What is your favourite part of the day?

When I wake up early enough, definitely sunrise. It’s such a beautiful time of day. Living on the beach is amazing because the ocean has the most beautiful colours in the morning.

How do you define internal and external success in all that you do?

For me, internal success is when I know in my heart that I’ve finished a project I’m really happy with and proud of. External success for me is when my client is happy with the work I’ve produced for them, or when other people recognise my work and like it.

What has been the biggest success so far and why?

To most people this probably seems like nothing but I took a photo of Jenna McDougall from the band Tonight Alive at Soundwave festival this year and about a week after the festival she posted the photo on Instagram which made me really happy. They’re one of my favourite bands so it was pretty cool that she recognised my work and liked it.

With all that success there’s bound to be some overwhelming moments, how do you overcome the bumps along the way?

In these overwhelming times, I believe staying clear of the battle and focusing on what needs to be done is really important. I find if you focus on the problem it can be really distracting and will usually cause you to become overwhelmed and stressed which is why I always try my best to shift my focus to the task on hand.

Ok, so you’re sitting at a cafe across the table from your biggest  career inspiration, who is it and why?

It’s hard for me to pick just one inspiration because so many people, places and things inspire me. I guess if we were talking about music photography, my biggest inspiration is Sammy Roenfeldt. He captures the emotions of live music perfectly in every shot he takes. I really admire how well he tells the story of the show in his photos and the passion he captures.

Now, someone new to the career field is sitting across the table from you, what advice do you give them?

Work hard in every area of your life. School is very important. Make art that you love and are passionate about. Be nice to everyone. Find something you love doing and you won’t have to work a day in your life.

Would you go back and do any of it differently or just the same?

If I could do anything differently, I’d probably apply myself more at school and work harder in my early teen years.

So if that little kid you used to be before looked at you now, do you think they’d be excited to grow up?

I think they would be very excited to grow up. I’m pretty happy with my life at the moment and how things are going.

What do you want to do next?

So many things! I’d love to start touring with bands, improve my video making and editing skills, do more landscape and ocean photography and try a lot of new things.

What is your favourite saying/inspirational quote?

I don’t really have any favourite quotes, my favourite Bible verse however is Philippians 4:6 which says, “Be anxious for nothing, pray about everything.” I really love that.


TO SEE MORE OF RUBY & HER WORK, CHECK HER OUT ONLINE:  FLIKR |  FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

MAKE YOUR MARK: Erin Pechtel

Erin Petchtel _ Buotonne

What’s you name?

Erin

Where are you located?

San Diego, CA.

If you could describe what you do for a living on your own terms, what would you say?

I own a leather goods company.

Aside from your given title, would you say there are any other titles or hats you wear in this position?

Oh gosh. I wear a lot of hats: owner. operator. designer. creative director. production manager. social media director.... I do it all.

Is this what you always wanted to be when you grew up?

When I was a little girl I was obsessed with being a trapeze artist. Ha! Quite a different path I took!

Can you put into words your career history to date?

In college I worked at Anthropologie + Nordstrom doing both sales + visuals. I've always loved retail + the creative part of it as well. I love display, It’s something that will always make me feel alive inside. If i'm feeling sad or uninspired, I typically like to go to the mall (I know, i know) + walk around just to see some of my favorite stores’ displays. I've also had some random jobs along the way like a record label, wedding planning, graphic design + one of the best jobs i've ever had... running a paper store. I’ve dabbled in a lot + I’m far from finished. I hope to someday try out being a florist or running a bakery. We'll see!

If there was ever a time where you weren’t working for yourself, how did you make the leap from working for someone to working for yourself? Was it an easy transition?

Oh boy, this is a tough one. Yes, this was a hard transition for me mainly because it was personal. There was a big change in my life that allowed me the opportunity to start over so I decided to put my big girl pants on +  just jump. Mainly because I knew if I didn't go for it I would always wonder. That + I've always been sort of fearless when it comes to jumping. Once I did, it was terrifying + exciting all at the same time but it all worked out. That’s how I know i'm exactly at where I need to be. That’s  a beautiful thing.

Coming back to the present, (haha) what is your morning routine before you start the day?

Oh!! I like this question! I'm a huge advocate for morning routines. I've read a lot about successful people + they all have healthy morning routines. Here's what I’ve found that works best for me: Wake up. Do 20 minutes of stretching or yoga immediately (No cell phone in bed!). Take the dog for a walk. During that time I do my "Miracle Morning" by Hal Elrod. (This is supposed to be written down. Don’t tell Hal I just do mine in my head on my morning walk!) Which is this: State two things you are going to do to make the day great + one self affirmation (At the end of the day before bed you say two things you could have done to make the day better + one thing you are thankful for). It sounds simple but it is life-changing. Then I come home, get ready + tackle the day, be it emails, computer projects, shipping orders or meetings. I have to get dressed right away or I will get distracted. I really try to have my mornings be quiet, focused + positive. I can't think of a better way to start the day. 

Describe what you do between stepping into your work space and then calling it a wrap at the end of the day (Basically, your average work day):

Oh gosh, that is rough because every day is different. I'll either have meetings, production runs, sampling, shipping, designing, emails... lots + lots of emails! I would say that is a normal week. There is a lot of computer + organizational work that goes into my job. You know, the not so glamorous work. Some days I feel like my eye balls are burning from being in front of the computer all day. I need to be better about taking breaks. Ha.

What is your favourite part of the day?

The morning. Hands down. It’s that morning routine I tell ya!

How do you define internal and external success in all that you do?

Goodness, you are really good at asking the meaty questions!! This is what I like to call real talk. Straight to the point. I love it! I'm all about being open so here we go... To just be real, I really struggle with the idea of success + what it actually means for me. I used to say my ideal success would be perfection but as I got older, I realized this was ridiculous. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be the perfect daughter, sibling, friend, partner, business owner, creative, etc. The list goes on + on. I have a lot of ideas of success, but if i'm honest most are lofty + often unattainable. I'm a dreamer + forward-thinker. I live with my head in the clouds. I’ll have an idea or vision + I'll want to create it or bring it to life + be the best. I know full well that these things are not realistic, but still I push. Why? Because I think that's where we find the greatest parts of ourselves AND I think we are all a lot stronger (+ more capable) than we think we are or give ourselves credit for being. So maybe success could be defined as this: Learn yourself, who you truly are, what works for you, set goals (big goals! Don't be scared) + then set boundaries in place. Then jump! It’s always ok to readjust your goals as life leads you. I think you will find what success is being the truest form of one’s self.

What has been the biggest success so far and why?

Personally, I would say finding my most authentic self + becoming secure with her. Professionally, I would say running a profitable business on my own. Well, that + my 3 month feature in GQ - that was a big moment for me.

With all that success there’s bound to be some overwhelming moments, how do you overcome the bumps along the way?

There certainly have been a lot of bumps + a lot of moments where I wanted to give up for sure. I’m sure I would have given up by now if it weren't for my parents + my partner (i am sooo thankful for them!). They all have been crazy amazing supporters that push me to keep going. My mom always reminds me where I’ve come from, how much I’ve accomplished + that someone always has it worse off that I do. A dear friend once told me that when in the middle of those challenging seasons to remind myself of "the why". Why I am doing what i'm doing? Remembering that always halts my pity party quickly. 

Ok, so you’re sitting at a cafe across the table from your biggest  career inspiration, who is it and why?

I am so incredibly lucky to have two amazingly talented, driven + successful career inspirations as dear friends so i'm sitting at the coffee shop with them just picking their brains. I mostly ask about drive + how to get through the hard times. Everything else seems breezy compared to that!

Now, someone new to the career field is sitting across the table from you, what advice do you give them?

To find the most authentic version of yourself + let that person out. AND you're stronger than you think you are.

Would you go back and do any of it differently or just the same?

I think most would do things differently knowing what they know now.

So if that little kid you used to be before looked at you now, do you think they’d be excited to grow up?

Oh gosh. I hope so but I don't know. I’m still growing up myself!

What do you want to do next?

Own a home!!

What is your favourite saying/inspirational quote?

If you're wondering what you should do with your life, it's this: find a way to love people.


TO SEE MORE OF ERIN & HER WORK, CHECK HER OUT ONLINE:  WEBSITE |  INSTAGRAM

MAKE YOUR MARK: Mark Loper

MarkLoper_ProductionatL&S

What’s your name? 

Mark Loper of L&S Studios

Where are you located?

Currently in Hartford, CT

If you could describe what you do for a living on your own terms, what would you say? 

I co-own a photography and cinematography business with a great friend and we get to travel to shoot a bunch of interesting subjects and places.

Aside from your given title, would you say there are any other titles or hats you wear in this position?

Roger Sieber (the “S” in L&S) and I do everything for our business. We’re usually the only crew on any shoot, so pretty much name a hat and we wear it. I like it that way though.

Is this what you always wanted to be when you grew up? 

Actually no, up until I was about 15-16 I wanted to be a car designer. I started taking photos when I was about 17, then that transitioned into me making a job out of it. I still love cars though, so I try to incorporate them into any shoots I can.

Can you put into words your career history to date? 

It’s been fairly up and down throughout the years, but enough up to make it worth continuing.

If there was ever a time where you weren’t working for yourself, how did you make the leap from working for someone to working for yourself? Was it an easy transition?

I went back and forth, actually both of us have. I went from freelancing for myself full time, then got a job part time at a photo studio, now back to full time for myself after starting the business with Roger. I would say it’s an easy transition. It can be tough at times, but the pros outweigh the cons for sure.

Coming back to the present, (haha) what is your morning routine before you start the day? 

Nothing exciting. I’m not a morning person, although I wish I was. I get up and get ready immediately, otherwise I’m useless. I have a huge coffee every morning, always iced coffee, even in the winter. Then most of the time skip breakfast and head to the L&S office.

Describe what you do between stepping into your work space and then calling it a wrap at the end of the day (Basically, your average work day):

We’re usually doing 1 of 3 things: editing photos and/or a video we’re working on, sending out emails, etc. to get new work, or watching car videos online and wasting time.

What is your favourite part of the day? 

Either lunch or finishing up whatever we’re working on and seeing it complete for the first time. Always satisfying (lunch included).

What has been the biggest success so far and why? 

I’d say it’s how much we’ve been able to grow in under a year of being a business. We’ve had the opportunity to work some great clients and been able to come away with a lot of work we’re really proud of.

With all that success there’s bound to be some overwhelming moments, how do you overcome the bumps along the way? 

We started the LLC in the colder months when it’s always slow no matter what, which may have not been the best idea since it made for an extremely slow start. There’s been a lot of financial bumps along the way thanks to dry spells between jobs early on, but luckily that’s starting to change.

Ok, so you’re sitting at a cafe across the table from your biggest  career inspiration, who is it and why? 

At the moment, probably a photographer named Nicholas Maggio. After finding his work I got a lot of inspiration to try some new looks in both photo and video. I’ve read some interviews with him, he seems like a cool dude, and fantastic taste in cars too.

Now, someone new to the career field is sitting across the table from you, what advice do you give them? 

Everybody says this, but just keep shooting. That’s the only way to get better. Shoot for yourself too, shoot what you’re interested in and if you’re lucky enough to get known for that kind of work you’ll be a happy human.

Would you go back and do any of it differently or just the same? 

On one hand I’d like to go back and quit wasting time when I was younger and have the mindset I do now, but on the other hand I’m enjoying where it’s led me and I see things going well from here on out, so I probably wouldn’t change it.

So if that little kid you used to be before looked at you now, do you think they’d be excited to grow up? 

At the moment, no. I’m not where I want to be yet. But ask me again in a year, I should have a better answer.

What do you want to do next? 

Continue on the track we’ve been on. Shoot more cars, more cool people, more breweries.

What is your favourite saying/inspirational quote? 

I recently heard Elon Musk quote Winston Churchill “If you’re going through hell, keep going” and it stuck with me.


TO SEE MORE OF MARK & HIS WORK, CHECK HIM OUT ONLINE:  WEBSITE |  FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

MAKE YOUR MARK: Kelsey Adams

kelseyadams_photography

What’s your name?

Kelsey Adams (I’m changing it to this since I’m getting married this September)

Where are you located?

Portland, OR - United States

If you could describe what you do for a living on your own terms, what would you say?

Freelance Real Estate Photographer and an aspiring food photographer - because food is delicious lol

Aside from your given title, would you say there are any other titles or hats you wear in this position?

Lead Photographer

Is this what you always wanted to be when you grew up?

I always knew that photography was a huge interest of mine. It wasn’t until high school where I really began learning the basics. From there, I started to teach myself and really find my path.

Can you put into words your career history to date?

I dipped my toe in a lot of different ponds until I dove right into this one. It was scary but I am so glad that I did. Now, I just have to make sure I relax but still stay afloat and just keep swimming (I love Dory by the way)!

If there was ever a time where you weren’t working for yourself, how did you make the leap from working for someone to working for yourself? Was it an easy transition?

It was a very scary transition. I had helped build a small business with someone who wasn’t willing to let me grow. So, when it came time for me to come out of my shell and really put my education to the test I had a little push from Allan (my fiancé). I finished out school and hit the ground running so to speak.

Coming back to the present, (haha) what is your morning routine before you start the day?

I shower, which I like to do if I get to the gym… Dang, I need to get back in there (Lol). I email a few people that are coordinators for certain agencies around me and I tell them my availability for that week. I also call, text and email my clients to update them on my gallery, what’s new for the company and just checking on how they’re doing. From there, if I have any extra time I go around to offices around Portland, etc and introduce myself to new agents. I drop off flyers that I designed and some business cards and sometimes I get call backs. If not, I go back after I’ve emailed them a couple times.

Describe what you do between stepping into your work space and then calling it a wrap at the end of the day (Basically, your average work day):

While shooting, I have a certain routine and it’s long and weird but I have to write everything down by making checklists. I need checklists. These checklists include; confirmation, shoot, edit, Virtual Tour and deliver. In between there are other things I do such as change SD cards for each listing and saving the images onto my laptop. Oh and getting diesel is important, too! *wink emoticon*

After I’m done delivering all of the images to each client I go through my invoicing for that day/week. I make sure people have paid, etc, etc, etc boring stuff. I like to always make sure that I’m not working too late. At my last job I worked 18 hour days sometimes and it was ridiculous. Now, I relax so that I can do a great job for each listing I photograph.

What is your favourite part of the day?

Waking up because I never really know what to expect when I walk into a listing.

How do you define internal and external success in all that you do?

Internally for me is that I am comfortable and happy. And my business should be the same. If I’m always stressed out then my business will suffer. Externally, I want to be busy and professional. But I also take pride in getting to know my clients, their clients and each and every listing I come across. Every home is different. It’s my job to get to know it so I can present it in its best light.

What has been the biggest success so far and why?

The biggest has been that I have somehow understood most of the legal part of becoming an independent LLC. I earned my BFA in photography and design but they didn’t really dive into the legal aspect too much (Lol).That’s really been a miracle.

With all that success there’s bound to be some overwhelming moments, how do you overcome the bumps along the way?

There have been a few downs between my ups but I just need to learn from my mistakes. I now carry two camera bodies, a special carrying case for SD cards and always bring a backup system. I’ve photographed over 500 listings and the one time I lost images is going to be the only time.

Ok, so you’re sitting at a cafe across the table from your biggest  career inspiration, who is it and why?

There are a lot of people out there that who have inspired me to be who I am today. Friends, family and others. But the one who really pushed me the most was my fiancé. I know it sounds corny but it’s really true. I would never be where I am today if it weren’t for him pushing me everyday and reminding me that I can do these things. And look at me now! I’m doing it. I’ve paved my own path. It may be rocky sometimes but it wouldn’t be mine without a few cracks.

I think that’s really important. To accept your own faults and overcome them in your own way. It takes a lot to get to know yourself, I think.

Now, someone new to the career field is sitting across the table from you, what advice do you give them?

You should always listen to those who have been in the game for any amount of time because they can either become your boss or someone who will land you a sweet job someday. Just don’t be an assh*le. Keep going for what YOU want and don’t ever believe someone that says you can’t because chances are, they’re the assh*le who no one wanted to ever hire.

Would you go back and do any of it differently or just the same?

I am a big believer in that things happen for a reason. I would never change anything in the past only because I love where I’m at today. I would never trade those 18 hour work days because it taught me a lot about how to be a business owner.

So if that little kid you used to be before looked at you now, do you think they’d be excited to grow up?

Oh yeah. She would totally would be excited. She’d wonder how I got there because my old self would be like, “YOU THREW AWAY A FULL RIDE SCHOLARSHIP TO GO TO ART SCHOOL!?”

What do you want to do next?

The obvious answer is that I want to grow with my business. But really that’s what all sane business owners would want to do. I don’t, however, want to be a millionaire. I want to lead a simple life that builds fun and caring relationships with my clients. I want to do what I want with work and with life. And now that I run this business, I can do that! I don’t have to ask anyone and it’s awesome.

What is your favourite saying/inspirational quote?

“I just like to smile, smiling’s my favorite!” - Will Ferrel on Elf

This is seriously a good one because smiling really is better for everything. If I’m ever tired, stressed, or anything else I try to remember that I need to be positive because that will push me to get where I need to be. Oh! And, “On Wednesdays we wear Pink!” from Mean Girls


TO SEE MORE OF KELSEY & HER WORK, CHECK HER OUT ONLINE:  WEBSITE |  FACEBOOK

MAKE YOUR MARK: Kristina Cho

kristina_pg7inc

What’s you name?

Kristina Y. Cho

Where are you located?

Currently in South Korea.

If you could describe what you do for a living on your own terms, what would you say?

I am a full-time wife, a director of a counseling center, a school psychologist (in a few months), a researcher, a writer, a calligrapher, and a flower enthusiast. :)

Aside from your given title, would you say there are any other titles or hats you wear in this position?

In all the titles, I am an intercessor.

Is this what you always wanted to be when you grew up?

I did want to write as a child, but had no idea I would get more involved in therapy and counseling. But my here and now is much more than I would have ever imagined.

Can you put into words your career history to date?

Personal experience of pain fueled me to relate with, and connect with the pain of others. This launched my intense studies in psychology, which led to constant researching positions and graduate school in counseling and clinical psychology here in Korea, in my second language. I was privileged with the opportunity to conduct therapy at my school's counseling center for undergraduate and graduate students, where I realized the therapy room was where I felt most alive and where God used me the most powerfully. One open door led to another where I was offered an opportunity to help launch a counseling center while also given the opportunity to be a school psychologist at an international school here in Korea. I've always valued moments to breathe, and during the in between moments, Pg7inc was birthed.

If there was ever a time where you weren’t working for yourself, how did you make the leap from working for someone to working for yourself? Was it an easy transition?

It wasn't easy but I worked under the mantra of "being faithful in the small things." To be thankful for the small and humble beginnings. When I realized how every job had a purpose, including the seemingly very menial and humbling, it gave me a reason to work with all joy and thanksgiving.

Coming back to the present, (haha) what is your morning routine before you start the day?

I wake up 30 minutes earlier than my husband to prepare him breakfast. Normally it includes some sort of freshly squeezed vegetable and fruit juice. We enjoy a short breakfast together and then he goes off to work.

Describe what you do between stepping into your work space and then calling it a wrap at the end of the day (Basically, your average work day):

I haven't started working as a school psychologist yet, so currently I am my own boss. Before my husband comes home, my average work day looks like this: I clean the house, do the laundry, water my plants, and buy groceries if need be. On most week days I study and prepare for graduate school applications, dive into all sorts of reading, nap, zone out in calligraphy, read the Word and journal, and blog. On Fridays, I go to a counseling center for weekly sessions with my client.

What is your favourite part of the day?

Early mornings. Before any demands of the day commence.

How do you define internal and external success in all that you do?

If my every movement (both internal and external) is in sync with the Lord's.

What has been the biggest success so far and why?

My biggest success has been moving forward in my career passion and ambitions despite extreme physical ailments and circumstantial hardships. It was approximately 10 years marked by perseverance - committed to God, fueled by the Holy Spirit, tender to the love of Jesus. 

With all that success there’s bound to be some overwhelming moments, how do you overcome the bumps along the way?

Definitely. I am a feeler with a most complicated mind. Overwhelming moments cause me to initially respond and react emotionally. I cry, I cry, and well, I cry. But I channel the crying to my journal to be able to sort my thoughts as well as speak to myself that which is true. I allow my closest of people into vulnerable moments. And then the next day I wake up, alive, strengthened, and re-positioned to walk forward in peace and confidence.

Ok, so you’re sitting at a cafe across the table from your biggest career inspiration, who is it and why?

To be completely honest, I have yet to find a career inspiration. My envisioned career inspiration is an unapologetically God-fearing psychologist who has plethora of professional skills and equipping with a specific vision for the mental health of a nation. My envisioned career inspiration brings Kingdom to the realm of psychology and health of the soul in a refreshing, loving, and unprecedented way.

Now, someone new to the career field is sitting across the table from you, what advice do you give them?

Just because you are unable to talk about Jesus explicitly in an academic setting or non-Christian therapy center, does not mean God cannot work through you and through that time and space. God is so much bigger than we could ever imagine, enjoying every avenue in which we allow Him to use us in. Kingdom does not have to come through familiar and explicit means. Life and light can be breathed and brought through every here and now.

Would you go back and do any of it differently or just the same?

Just the same. All that has happened only divinely and intricately places me to where I am today.

So if that little kid you used to be before looked at you now, do you think they’d be excited to grow up?

I think so. I think they might be scared by the crazy ride, by the unexpected and terrifying struggles. But I think the kid in me would see the fruit, the dynamic aspect of life and maybe see that it might be worth it.

What do you want to do next?

Immerse myself into different projects with pg7inc. Further my studies in psychology. Be a voice and advocate of those in Korea who need the time and space to just breathe and process themselves.

What is your favourite saying/inspirational quote?

"For the present is the point at which time touches eternity." - C. S. Lewis


To see more of Kristina & her work, check her out online:  Instagram | Wordpress | Tumblr