What do you do and why?
I help business leaders find their voice and connect with their dream clients through my creative agency, Cleverest Group. That “voice” comes in many forms, from a comprehensive brand identity to smart, entertaining content. I call the latter “brand journalism” because it’s so much more than “content.”
I want people to realize that branding is not just about having a great website or logo. To really connect with your audience and customers in a meaningful way, you’ve got to know what you stand for as a person and as a company. What makes you unique and worth anyone’s time or money? What value can you add to someone’s life? What do you care about? It’s that bigger “Why” that I’m able to bring to the surface and then help bring to life with clever strategy, design, and copy online and in the real world.
As a former journalist, I feel a sort of obligation to find and tell really interesting, factual, and useful stories that cut through the sea of clickbait, fake news, and other white noise. Thoughtful stories stand out like lighthouses. They’re the bright thing in the darkness. The place you want to go. They are safe and enduring. If you can be that lighthouse for someone, they’ll never forget you or your brand.
I also volunteer with the Florida Guardian Ad Litem Program which advocates for the best interest of children in the foster care system. My parents fostered children before they adopted me as a newborn, and I have friends who foster children now, so I’ve seen how big an impact they have on these kids at such a scary time in their lives. I’ve always considered myself lucky to have a loving and stable support system around me and wanted to pay it forward. As a GAL, I am part ‘big brother’ and part ‘advocate’ – responsible for watching out for my kiddos, ensuring they are well taken care of while in the dependency system, and speaking on their behalf in court.
What change would you like to enact in the world?
I would love to help people realize their own greatness and then pay that forward to help other people do the same. It’s the idea of leaving everything better than you found it – even people and your relationships. Especially your relationship with yourself.
There is so much judgement and negativity around us that it’s like we have a habit in our society of looking for the bad. I think we do it to ourselves as much as we do it to everyone else. I am working to help people break that bad habit and realize their own greatness and ultimately break that bummer of a cycle.
We are all more alike than we think and by sharing the hidden parts of ourselves we open up a new world, and it’s a much more fulfilling existence.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself.
I have secretly wanted to be a backup dancer ever since I saw Janet Jackson in concert when I was around 14.
Why did you join IVY?
IVY is just dope! I have mingled in other networking groups but often felt like I was at a business card exchange where everybody is there to sell their service and then they’re out the door. What attracted me to IVY is it’s people-first mentality and emphasis on building relationships and sharing your passions and trusting that the business opportunities will follow.
What has been your most memorable IVY Experience?
I have to say my first event, the August new member welcome mixer, is the most memorable so far because that’s when I realized that IVY is legit and I was in the right place. I had already been impressed by the level of professionalism and communication I’d seen from several of the national IVY team during my onboarding. Then at the mixer, there was no awkward “new guy” feel because a couple of people immediately introduced themselves and brought me into the fold. That showed me that IVY really is what it claims to be, and the many happy, fascinating, long term members I met that night sealed the deal for me.