Throughout the launch of The Source, we continue to grow more amazed by our Advisory Panel. These women give selflessly of their time and resources to support our program. These leaders in their respective industries are also full of interesting background stories and bits of wisdom from which every professional woman can learn.
Marlo Kirkpatrick, owner/partner at Kirkpatrick & Porch Creative has been an invaluable resource to The Source. We love her creativity and ability to relate to every woman. We know you will also enjoy learning from her stories and advice.
How did you end up in Mississippi?
MK: I grew up in Memphis, attended Ole Miss, and followed a boyfriend to Mississippi after I graduated. I didn’t stick with the boyfriend, but did stay in Mississippi. I’ve since written several books about the state, including Mississippi Off the Beaten Path, It Happened in Mississippi, and Wilder Mississippi, and I certainly feel like a true Mississippian.
What was your college major? Do you use it in your current career?
MK: I have majors in journalism and English. I use both every day in my role as the writing partner in an advertising agency and as a freelance writer.
What was your first job and what did you learn from it?
MK: My first job was as a tour guide at Graceland, Elvis Presley’s home in Memphis. I learned that I loved meeting people from other places, that a smile and a southern accent can make a big difference in dealing with people who are hot, tired, or grumpy after waiting in a long line, and that Elvis is sadly but most definitely deceased. I also learned that I’d rather have a quirky, funny, lower-paying job than a job that paid more but wasn’t any fun.
What’s the best professional advice you’ve ever received?
MK: When I was still working for someone else but trying to build up enough of a freelance business to go out on my own, I pitched a very large project that I knew I had the knowledge and skills to handle, but I was almost apologetic in presenting my estimate. The contact for the project told me, “Stop being so hesitant. If you know you’re worth it, just ask for it.” Lesson learned. And looking back, I should have charged more for that job.
What’s your trick to managing personal life vs. work life?
MK: I’m still looking for one. I think that’s an even bigger challenge for me because the work I do is creative (writing) and it feels like a critical part of my identity. I define myself, not just my job, as “writer” and that tends to bleed over into everything I do.
What advice do you wish you could go back and give yourself 10 years ago?
MK: Ask for help. You don’t have to do it all, and a lot of the time, someone else can do it better than you can.
What’s your proudest moment of your career?
MK: It’s more a collection of small moments than one big one. Like a lot of women, I suffer from “imposter syndrome”—the feeling that someone is going to point out that I’m not really a successful, professional woman, I just play one on TV. Moments that remind me I actually am the real deal mean a lot to me. That could be seeing an important project I worked on enjoy success, competing with a larger firm and winning a piece of business even though we’re smaller, having other professionals seek out my help or advice, or positive comments from others that make me realize that my credibility has been well-earned.
What is your favorite item in your office?
MK: They aren’t items, but my answer would have to be my dogs, Blizzard, Snowflake, Batman, and Joker. Working out of a home office means everyday is “Take Your Dog to Work Day”. This does have its drawbacks. For example, when I’m on a conference call and four dogs decide to see who can bark the loudest.
How do you stay motivated?
MK: Every job has some stress and some drudgery attached. When I get burned out or stressed out, I have to take a step back and remind myself how much I enjoy what I do. I get to work with a team of creative, fun-loving, and caring people who are dear friends as well as colleagues. I also care about my clients (many of them have also become personal friends), and I want to do my best for them. Working in advertising and as a freelance writer, I’ve had opportunities to meet incredibly interesting people and travel to exotic places, and I always have the best stories to recount at cocktail parties. When I’m tempted to complain, I try to remind myself how fortunate I am to be doing what I do.
What is something no one knows about you?
MK: It’s not a secret, but I have zero domestic skills. I don’t cook at all. I tried to prepare a frozen pizza for my stepsons once and caught the oven on fire (no one told me you were supposed to take the cardboard out from under the pizza before you put it in the oven). I once chastised my husband for bringing home non-ripe avocados, only to have him point out, “Marlo, those are limes.” I tried to repair a toilet a few years ago and ended up with 20 stitches. Are you getting the picture?
Why did you agree to be a founding Advisory Panel Member for The Source?
MK: I would like to give back to the community and am a fan of BankPlus, so I knew this would be a terrific program and I was flattered to be asked. I also know I have so many things to learn, both from older women with more experience and from younger women who can help me keep my skills fresh. I’m excited to be a part of The Source.
Kirkpatrick & Porch Creative