WWL>Topics>>5-15-14 3:10pm Angela: on reinventing yourself

5-15-14 3:10pm Angela: on reinventing yourself

May 15, 2014|

Angela talks with individuals who have reinvented themselves in post-Katrina New Orleans. The panel includes Reid Stone and Shaun Walker of HERO|farm ad agency.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

-- so many lives were changed after Katrina. And so many lives were changed excuse me after the recession in 2008 and 2009. Jobs disintegrated. Others just atrophy. But for some of those times of change with -- motivation to change their lives in some ways to reinvent themselves. And that's what we're going to talk about this hour changing and reinvention. Have you ever thought of it it is scary but it can be so rewarding. We are joined by three people who took the -- Mer -- ride to an attorney for a small boutique defense firm in New Orleans and the single mother of two. Found herself in need of a new home and a new job after Katrina. And -- stone and Sean Walker worked for a large ad agency after Katrina. Among the enthusiastic young professionals who came to New Orleans to help rebuild and they did. -- the recession hit and the ad business became the early warning signal that the economy was about to tank. It was time to rethink their talents and skills. And opened their own agency. In the toughest at an economy in a generation. Yes Katrina and a recession are mighty motivate voters but I have to say that is really. Guts balls to make changes like this I applaud you I do and I cannot wait really to hear your stories because another people out there thinking. I don't need a recession I just wanna change and it can happen. But it is scare on the start with Marie Marie Katrina hits. Yes it did. At that time I lived in my view him. I had two small daughters one in first grade and second grade. Life is great had a wonderful job as a defense attorney. Market for small boutique firm. And then all of a sudden like everybody. Now as the storm hit. I had six feet of water only because I was three feet -- base level to begin with -- and I found myself on the North Shore. Come and primarily ended up on the North Shore because my ex husband at the time also lived in my view he had lost everything. And head and moved to Houston where I had -- -- shapewear ranking handling. My children menacing father. So I am I ended up on the North Shore. And I started doing when anybody would be I started interviewing for jobs and that kind of jobs that were available at that time one immediate travel. Four days a week. After you want me to travel four days a week -- that two young daughters I have six feet of water at the FDA I have FEMA. This is not gonna work. So I was very blessed and very fortunate T you have. From office space available teaming. -- set up shop. As attorneys call -- a hunger shingle. Huge. Leap of faith for me because. As I like to call myself I'm reluctant -- pin your. Love the comfort. No and paycheck is coming. When it was coming how much it was going to be and went ahead to spend in -- And that's not the life of -- onto the north. As everybody in this room will be able to tell you as well so you had to learn the business of running a law firm. Yes mayhem that is a whole different animal into showing up and practicing law. In again was blessed it's funny how Europe past experiences. And exposures. Brings you to place for -- supposed to be. I actually have a marketing background in underground at. So I had some idea of what running a business should be like. Some news that in most the time in her school people's before you start a business union business plan and you got to think about this and that. And -- when you're thrust into a situation like I was I had time to think about. Which is probably another blessing because had a thought about it I would run for the hills. Can be too scared absolutely. -- art should guys here -- stone and Sean Walker. You're here for all the right reasons you want to help the city not just survive but flourish. You joined this big wonderful ad agency. Like -- rocking and rolling and then the bottom falls out. -- Yeah you know a lot of people to realize that -- com a recession finally hits -- they're so many other industries that have been feeling it months or even years up to that point. And that was kind of what happened in our situation where we sort of saw the writing on the wall. And then all of a sudden. It was like OK you what's really consider what would happen and then sure enough it did happen and so. I was very fortunate to to be able to have become friends while we were working. Working at that agency. To that we -- so that we can actually branch out and into this and sure enough with it and and that very next -- were like all right you know let's hit the ground running is there there were no jobs there were no no jobs advertising marketing -- those just those had been gone. And so it was kind of you know sink or swim at that point. And so the two -- you -- like you know two good friends working. Both at the same time don't have a job. Within 24 hours let's join hands and form a company will Sundays were better friends and others didn't put it today hopefully is a good but there's a good day. It is today so so how did you began. Well we were both seniors and college. That your Katrina hit. And and -- when hit well first off I'm born and raised here read grew up in Pass Christian and so pretty much ignore lenient as well. And and so Katrina hit during our senior years in college and we kept hearing all the experts say a you know don't professionals are ready leaving the city. Before the storm. And that now that the storm hit we're going to be leaving in droves never coming back. And it just it really made me mad because they give credit to anybody that was from here and you know -- my friends and talked about. You know we want to come back and be part of the generation that kind of define the city. And and just made it better than ever had and and and so we came back here and we -- each other at and the other agency in you know been on since -- So and what do you take a break in a second you formed this company. And it was really one with a yeah I keep saying because I think it's so important sort of with the social conscience chair so you really thought about content. These are skills were -- guys. We're talented. But let's think bigger. Right in you know that people have through these these misconceptions about -- -- what advertising people do on a daily basis and the truth is it's really not as Don Draper is a few Indian -- I'd like it to be. But you know it it's a lot of hard work and we we spend 1260 -- today either from the computer in meetings running around. Pitching creating it's just it's a lot of work. But we wanted to make sure that people news that the world of advertising world of marketing especially here in New Orleans had changed. There's so many people with good hearts here's some people with. You know good causes and we wanted to be one of those we didn't want people just think that a lower advertising guys just about the bottom line one night. I'm so we we put a social responsibility. Filter on everything that we did and this is kind of before became invoked so we are kind of taken a little bit of a chance at the time. But to the point that you know everything that we did had to have. A secondary betterment -- had to either benefit the community had to instruct the person was receiving -- nukes -- an -- day with a with a message. It needs to be something at least entertaining funny. Instructive. Help a greater calls and so that was that was kind of the base that filter that we put on everything we did every piece of work that came out. Had that filter -- Stay with -- everyone we're gonna continue our talk about reinventing yourself and two great examples will be right back. Will we are talking about sort of reinventing yourself. We've heard the stories of Marie arrived in -- stone and Sean Walker. -- that sort of pivotal moments and all of our history whether -- be Katrina or the economic downfall. Did recreate themselves. Out of necessity but there's some very happy things and we're gonna get to that but I'd like to introduce. Rebecca -- from Tulane who -- starting a new program to help people develop and I love the word. On -- careers. And you can probably at many encore careers exactly right these are these are where young people but I mean people up in their fifties and sixties. That want to change too can be on four career people. Actually far on -- is someone in their fifty plus usually. That they do an on court in lieu of retiring. And so you know many of us in their forties we'll start thinking about well I'm I'm not feeling totally fulfilled in my job and I'd like to have more meaning. And some people do it through volunteerism. Other people might take an encore career. Defined by something that has social purpose but you're getting paid. -- in today's economy it's not necessarily realistic to retire. The old days. And that on court dot org was actually founded by mark Friedman who recognized early in his academic career. That there was a lost economy for people who who at the peak of their experience and knowledge. Leave in retiree and and remove themselves from from the the working environment. So he started on court dot org which as a think tank that creates an environment for people to be able to do -- So he's always looking for opportunities in my fellowship. On that -- partnership between on -- Tulane University. Is focused on creating. And many university with that at two laying that that will help people re purpose Vickers. -- that's a wonderful -- purpose to and it you know tag line not with people sitting in the room but. The often we are hearing people whether it's post recession or whether it's just a new day. That people in their fifties and sixties are the first to be let go. Whether there overpriced or whatever the reason is so they're not ready to retire. And so they might be looking for that very thing you're talking about she always wanted to do acts. So whether it is what the -- motivation is catastrophes like we've talked about or just it's the new day in employment. Very important that. You bring something to the table that's what you're saying exactly as these people are saying and -- what were you thinking when you were listening to them. You know it's so exciting and very brave on their part. I. I think I'm in my encore career but my transition to that world was a little -- from I was I yanked the band -- off moment. You know had been at Tulane university for fourteen have fears and very happy and had the luxury of of doing your job that I. Every day could imagine it being paid to do it in and and -- was very happy but I wanted a little more and I was contemplating what the next move might be and mine came with a phone call from a friend who said I have a crazy idea come managed my political campaign. And and that was my moment I recognized it. On the other hand at the -- when I listened to their stories I feel their -- braver than let's because you know you it. I had an environment that that just seemed to open from -- but they did it in the face of you know really. Difficult climate in -- -- yes and so it takes lower. I'd like to ask -- both Maria and I'm Marie in that region Sean. We're talking about it now we are looking back and saying you know that you were so thrilled we did this. But how scared at first -- -- my -- Iowa is petrified. I never wanted to be a business owner. And it also required me to retool what I did because what in my early career I was an insurance defense attorney. Worked for large firms in the smaller firms. On so basically -- worked for large companies and insurance adjusters ties -- it's. Fast forward to what I do now work for people. And what I do affects their lives because I handled primarily mediation insanely long which is divorce and child custody and where my kittens and Christmas and so I had to read learn law. And fortunately unfortunately there's a lot of downtime he started new business and that's what I did have poured over. The statutes related and a lot has studied leading to other people are prepared says it. I was ready and this is a happier type of law freak you. When people ask me the difference between what I used to do and what I do now what I tell them is that I've never received thank you -- -- Mother's Day card from an intern to test. Well Mike. That does everything it -- this week I got chocolate covered strawberries from a client because I was able to help -- do something that was. Critical in her life and so if she part of the way she thanked him with a semi top the commissioners which were then it's become so it -- he had landed on your feet. Even though you got to the scary times band. You really do have a new world. A very new World War I of the rewarding things about it. And one of the things one of the things I wouldn't go back and trade for anything now is that. Came at a time when my children were young. And I never had to explain to somebody from your first thinking right now they're in high school while I was leaving at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. Because I was going to play hero is go into a ball game or practice or whenever case maybe now. And then had to make it up I get to the office at 730 some times I work till midnight sometimes but flexibility. Have flexibility. And it's priceless. It's OK guys tell me about how scared you -- But it -- there is nothing quite like seeing your bank account with like me since. To really make you realize wow is this was estimates that -- the thumb but -- it you know and it's it's. And the key and I think an and I want to -- -- -- the state leaders mean -- You take that fear in turn into motivation in easily I'm not gonna let this keep -- going to. Find any way to do in what else is kind of an -- your memory these itself by I have never learned so much so fast as when I took that took that step. You you become a master at things and learning how to master things very very quickly. It right that compares four hour work week book here. The and so it out that was probably the wake -- but at the same time it's new communities and it at that point the great thing you know it's not. Not necessarily hitting the bottom there's really nowhere else to go but up and so you just use it as a motivating factor. Stay with the second number gonna break for news over and come back and we're gonna continue with Reid and show on. About their company now called hero farm I love threatening stay with. Well we're talking with people who made took major leaps and saying Matt. To want to restart their -- recreate their lines and as difficult and scary as it is clearly people were talking to in his room. It is definitely been for the best. Or -- stone and John Walker working for a a big ad agency. Bad economy. Thrust on their own living on five cents a -- of thought about. But somehow making it but part of it would you say. The fact that you are now five and a half years old in your company. Has been the elements of your social responsibility. Well first off you know an advertising that -- were pretty nuts just because you know if you look at any Saturday. We ranked light right along with car salesmen and lawyers and will not be trusted. And so have a good. And so you know it the guy that runs every dog intelligence there's no Santa Claus were priced about right there with them. And so you know we will want to evolve advertising into something a little more and a and so a quote that we kind of go with it is in seeking happiness for others you find yourself. And so you know we want to make things -- where we gave back. Because you know just working for the sake of Jillian test on -- really doing it except check it off your list. And so we want to make all of our work -- part of something bigger than just ourselves. And so. As Reid was saying earlier you know we we just try to make sure everything every night work with as a admirable mission of their own. And now provide some kind of benefits of their customers as well. So who was your first come in when you said oh my gosh we opened our endorses anybody there. Who walked -- Who. What they were there were a lot of small projects people we know networking at the one that was home -- local builder and mrs. Right in this little middle late 2009 when things finally start -- to come through that result -- prospect of road home money and yes it is a lot of excitement and so. Home builder actually approached us and asked us to pitch them ideas it's in his first big pitch that we. Out on our own we didn't sleep literally for three days with their pictures of us coffee shops -- just with sticky -- ever which took over. But edited -- -- it is is an -- huge huge huge and so that was that was over the laurel okay. We're legit -- but we have our our stripes now did you have an officer were you working out of their homes between home and hawkish. A home that's so now -- and it appears in an. Tell us the name again. The name and why so we Arturo arm marketing and PR. Pure form basically it was. And let me backtrack a bit there's no harder -- you ever -- come up with a name for your business. So we want -- something that was a little bit bigger than the names of the partners. Something that that said you know big bold ideas but it you know down home. Creativity and you know maybe not -- who did it it excessive prices. And so which hero farm is is sort of the name that we ended it when it's on the said you know local homegrown organic. Big idea big result so hero forms -- it kind of worked nights nice little bounce there and lot of lot of science when it is this little eight letters but. It was as a result -- right. But you know we went through 200 names before we landed on -- Yeah -- what point did you get an office. Who would do we've been to Europe to them about your. So and you have other people working with him we knew we we have we haven't done a couple people who work in the that are currently working very hard and office right now thankfully. -- in the we have -- people that we contract with and then we have an internship program that we've developed with the oil. And actually LSU. And yeah just in -- if there is any other project requires some outside help will bring in. Those people's -- that we keep you know as well have a little bit like Marie. And you had to learn the business it. The creative -- and we're actually I was the account -- sideshow on was the copy writer. And so there's all these other things that go into it design. You know other other facets of it the web portions of that attack portions of it. It's -- that really really Smart that that kind of thing very very quickly. And so thankfully -- underwritten thankfully there was the Internet. So any of that almighty teaching tool and -- do instead it it is but it's fun though because you know being on the company's side which is kind of writes -- strategy side. The fun is in the created that's kind of the thing. Okay there's there's my headline -- there's my you know piece of work that -- that actually playing going. Live this formula covered strawberry or or my -- and I -- exactly. So. We're gonna take another break we're gonna come back we're gonna talk about so you're there you're thinking. Maybe I can do it and these people gonna help us right after this. Wilbur listening to Murray arrived in non. Not -- Joan Sean Walker talk about really making major changes in their life and I'll tell you what I'm hearing I'm hearing how happy line. And and that's to me the bottom line. You're making a living here helping a community in many ways. -- you've just you morphed. The commitment that's an appropriate word. And I think for Rebecca -- well it's very exciting what you're talking about that you are creating your in the process of creating and that is the on court careers. -- -- -- but still you're creating it measure creating it yes right. The one. A well so that one of them live. Wonderful things about being on campus to university is is following the storm. I think it's important and it that that the president and the board. Officially. Expanded the mission of the university -- on education research to include service. And so they just on campus was established. To require and require -- under grads to do service and through that. Many programs started to develop and the social innovation socialist minority -- IC for short program. Developed which created a minor. And in some by being able to tap into the brilliance and and what's already been taking place with under grads I mean we've seen firsthand what happens. When you empower. Thousands of under grads. With the with the intellect and inability to make a difference that we will rethink about designing a program on on campus to do the same thing for fifty plus. At the height of their careers and knowledge and experience. Let's take. And identify what is what's passion you know we all have different buttons that are pushed it on that motivate us to to do something. On out of our normal environment. Whether it's going to propeller and and starting in launching your own nonprofit or maybe it's volunteering. You know in town there is something that motivates us to do that. So would be fun to have a program and and I'm it it will look like this in some form where we we take people and help them identify with a passion is. And then you imagine that is a big circle. And then let's focus on what you're good what what is being your career and experiencing your knowledge in the imagine that is a big circle and that overlap. As you possible on -- career and so where we're looking at designing a program. That will tap into. That kind of experience. Ending give people the courage to maybe take that step. And that is very important market is courage. It is in guts ball but that's the courage hum it's scary and and many many people work. Their entire careers saying I want more and and that they've failed to be able to identify what more looks like. And you have stories all the time where somebody identifies that it's a big moment and and they just identifying it becomes the courage and the adrenaline allows them to to move forward. -- I had an amazing conversation with the couple at the -- truck one night and they just they moved here from. The northeast he had had a flag storm that was really well known on an academic campus to remember which one he was having this moment. And -- he wanted more and in with the support of his wife he sold his business. And ended up in New Orleans. Managing a charge school. Now he's just been his entire life managing this this bookstore. And now he's in New Orleans. Managing. A charter school and it -- imagine that I mean we're we've we've become this great attraction for it for people who wanna make a difference. And that's the perfect example of an encore career as identifying you know I have all the experience like you bring to the table academic things batteries. Using it and and everybody who is listening and we still have to make that he did it and that's part of what the definition of an encore career is is getting paid. I'm listening and watching Washington and join in what do you think well and you Maria mentioned that it's about people and I think you did as well it's it's shifting your focus from. We we didn't we get disconnected from our careers in the paycheck that magically arrives in your bank account and you can't just go about the notions of making your bosses and managers happy. And when you go to work for yourself and -- that person is about the people. Well and that's that's one of the things that I realized early on practicing in family law. It had been exposed to it earlier in my career but I realized very quickly that our legal system really wasn't geared towards. Helping fame he's going through divorce or helping a couple. Figure out custody and visitation issues. So part of what I've done that educated myself and it trained extensively in areas. Mediation and collaborative. Law to help people. Come together and try to resolve their differences. So that they can hopefully. Go follower income parent effectively. And it it it kind of brings you back to exactly -- -- talking about in and that is realizing that what we've but it really do every days I get up and I can pay to help people. And to make a difference in their lives -- -- and that is a completely. Different thing when I did her career. -- isn't. Feasible that she will again do another changing your life. Meanwhile. It is it feasible. Right now and in this farm -- ten years now. You know are good enough for now that's another whole -- you know chapter story. Yeah and -- are going to be in college since. -- never about it -- -- I want to thank each and every one of you you just you inspire you very much all of the UN we're gonna get you back Rebecca -- that. Project. On the core. Really solidifies. And will be hearing a lot about that noted to thank you all very very much every Wednesday as we'll be right back to. Just want to thank all my wonderful guests today the people who reinvented themselves were cheering you on and you are inspiring we'll see you tomorrow.