Back to School

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

It’s back to school time! Here at Braid Creative we can’t believe how quickly the summer has gone by, and at the same time cannot wait for the sweater weather that’s just around the corner. With the beginning of a new school year upon us, all of us working moms here at Braid are reminiscing about the smell of freshly sharpened pencils, Trapper Keepers, and awkward bangs (that are seemingly back in fashion with Instagram influencers.)

So we thought it would be fun to share with you who we were before we were the creative experts and professionals we are today. Enjoy!

Kathleen Shannon, Braid Co-Founder and Creative Director

What is your job at Braid? What kind of work are you typically doing in a day?
On any given day at Braid you can find me prepping a keynote talk for a creative conference, podcasting over at Being Boss, giving our team creative direction, designing a brand platform, loading up posts on Instagram, and replying to emails from creatives, business owners, and organizations who are interested in working with us.

What is your favorite thing about the work you do at Braid?
The people I work with! We’re not just co-workers – we’re family and friends who have each others backs. Also, I just love designing brands and making brands and businesses look good.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to be the first female jet fighter pilot – maybe I was watching too much Top Gun as a kid. I even thrifted an Airforce flight suit that I would regularly wear to elementary school!

Who was your favorite teacher and why?
My highschool art teacher Mrs. Kacie Shaw had a huge impact on me. She really nurtured the artistic potential and talent she saw in me. For example, one day I was working on a large oil painting in her studio art class – I was really in the flow and before I knew it the whole day had passed by and I never stopped painting. I felt terrible and anxious once I realized I had missed all my other classes – but Mrs. Shaw had already gone to the office and excused me from the rest of my school day so I could just work on my art.

Did you ever get a yearbook superlative (“most ___”)? What was it?
I was voted “Most Non-Comformist” pretty much every year. If I wasn’t going to fit in I was going to be THE BEST at not fitting in.

Favorite after school snack: Cheetos, string cheese, and Oreos
What’s your favorite back to school supplies: Lisa Frank binders and notebooks!
Band, choir, drama, or sports: Band – I played French Horn all through school

 

Tara Street, Braid Co-Founder and Creative Messaging

What kind of work are you typically doing in a day?
Writing brands & campaigns for our clients. And/or watering our hundreds of our office plants.

What is your favorite thing about the work you do at Braid?
Working with & for people who aren’t afraid to mix being real, funny, down-to-earth people + still being incredible experts at what they do.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to be one of the Little Women (it didn’t even have to be Jo, any of them would do). Or a puppet maker or a children’s book illustrator. I wasn’t nerdy at all.

What was your favorite subject in school?
From third grade on, I was all about using art projects for extra credit. This culminated with my ninth grade english teacher letting me illustrate all the scenes from Romeo & Juliet (can’t recall if it was Dicaprio + Claire Danes inspired, or just old-school Shakespeare version) & she put them up all around the top of the classroom walls. Like… a wallpaper border! But was I embarrassed? Nope. I loved it.

What would your younger self think about your life now?
I don’t draw anymore! But the fact that I could watch any historical drama (or episode of Cheers) I wanted to on Netflix might make up for it. I would also be slightly freaked that I only had boys. No one to nerd out with me about all the sentimental stuff I love. But they’re both some of the best artists at their schools. So it’s all good!

Favorite after school snack: Cheetos!
What’s your favorite back to school supplies: All of them!
Band, choir, drama, or sports: Band! First chair flute, of course!

 

Holly Arter, Partner and Media Director

What is your job at Braid? What kind of work are you typically doing in a day?
I am the media director, help with client strategy and involved in business development. In a typical day, I am talking with media vendors, meeting with clients and slugging my way through email.

What is your favorite thing about the work you do at Braid?
My favorite thing about Braid is getting to work with the fabulous people that I work with everyday, solving problems and creating beautiful work together.

How did you feel on first days of school? Optimistic, nervous, excited?
I was always extremely nervous.

Any school supplies that you especially loved shopping for?
In elementary school, I always liked the smelly markers. I always loved the fake watermelon smell of the pink marker. I also remembered feeling extremely cool and nerdy when I got a graphing calculator in high school for geometry.

Who was your favorite teacher and why?
I used to love Drama and Speech. We would have competitions and performances. The teacher was Mrs. Caplinger, she was a little older and very kooky – she was a perfect drama teacher.

Favorite after school snack: cherry limeade, and cool ranch doritos
Band, choir, drama, or sports: Definitely drama. I was a big theater nerd.

 

Liz Johnson, Creative Director

What is your job at Braid? What kind of work are you typically doing in a day?
My title is creative director. Sometimes I’m in a designer role, creating logos, brand platforms and visual campaigns for clients. Sometimes I’m a writer, creating content for another designer to use and art-directing their layouts. I also lead entrepreneur clients through our Braid Method meetings, making sure I pull out their most authentic point-of-view and voice so we can capture that in the work.

What is your favorite thing about the work you do at Braid?
My two favorite parts of the process are at the very beginning and the very end. I love the first meeting with clients, when we’re just starting to deep-dive into their brand. It feels so full of possibility, and I always learn something new – it’s like the best first date ever. And then I also love once we’ve gathered everything and it’s my turn to “braid” it all together into a brand platform design.

I know I’ve got all the pieces I need (thank you, consistent process), so I can let my creativity take the reins and create something awesome from it. Oh! The Virgo in me also loves creating really organized final packaged files for them, after our work together is done. It’s like one last gift I can give them. There’s nothing better than an intuitively-organized, well-labelled folder system with consistently-named files. *chef’s kiss*

I also love that I can do all of that from the comfort of my home! I work remotely in Grand Rapids, MI – but connect with the rest of the team almost daily via video meetings.

How did you feel on first days of school? Optimistic, nervous, excited?
I feel like I just had my game face on, because we moved and started new schools so often. There was a six-year period where I started at five different schools! And I started my freshman year three days after we moved back to the States (from England). So I was a pro at just getting in there, figuring out where everything was, finding that first friend, etc.

Who was your favorite teacher and why?
Mr. Anderson was my AP art teacher, who introduced me to the idea of graphic design (I think he had been an art director in a former life). Realizing that there was a career path for visually creative kids who didn’t just want to paint all day was obviously life-altering for me. Mrs. Crabtree was my drama teacher throughout high school and she pushed me to be a little better each year, and try things outside of my comfort zone. Every time I have to do a presentation in front of a lot of people, I breathe a little “thank you” to the years of competitive drama that keep me calm, clear and confident in situations like that.

Did you ever get a yearbook superlative (“most ___”)? What was it?
When I was a senior, I had long curly hair – that I shaved off mid-year! I got “Best Hair” in the yearbook… but was never really sure if it was for my “before” or “after” hair…

Did you ever get sent to the principal’s office? What for!?
In 5th or 6th grade I called a first grader on my bus a “f***ing a**hole,” and was subsequently kicked off the bus for a week. (To be fair… he was.) My mom made me pay her to drive me to school that week. But I overheard her telling the story to someone on the phone, and I think the general consensus was that the whole thing was inconvenient yet hilarious. On the other end of the spectrum, I also got in trouble a few times for reading during class (3rd/4th grade). Like, reading instead of listening to the teacher. To this day I would still rather read than do most things.

Favorite after school snack: Toasted plain bagel with an obscene amount of cream cheese and a big glass of cranberry juice!
What’s your favorite back to school supplies: New art supplies! Prismacolor pencils, fresh notebooks, new unbroken charcoals and oil pastels… mmmm.
Band, choir, drama, or sports: Volleyball and basketball in middle school. Competitive draaaAAAMMAAA all through high school.

 

Jentry Miller, Digital & Media Strategist

What is your job at Braid? What kind of work are you typically doing in a day?
I do digital and media strategy. I primarily look for ways to get our clients brand / messaging in front of the right people.

What is your favorite thing about the work you do at Braid?
It can be challenging to navigate how quickly media changes but it is amazing how specific we can get with reaching the right people now. I enjoy most looking for those strategies.

Any school supplies that you especially loved shopping for?
I loved getting a new Trapper Keeper every year! Also, new notebooks! Even now it is such a good feeling to open a new notebook before it’s been tarnished by it’s first scribble.

What was your favorite subject in school?
I loved Math and English. I sort of dorked out about diagramming sentences. I’m waiting for the year I get to help my kids with this one.

Did you ever get a yearbook superlative (“most ___”)? What was it?
5th Grade: Miss Congeniality, 8th Grade: Most Courteous, 12th Grade: Most Friendly (I really picked a path and stuck with it…)

Did you ever get sent to the principal’s office?
No, but a teacher threatened to send me after I kicked her in the stomach. In fairness! She cornered me into my seat and tried to put the class snake on me. My instincts literally kicked in.

Favorite after school snack: grilled cheese and chocolate milk
What’s your favorite back to school supplies: Trapper Keeper
Band, choir, drama, or sports: Band, Choir, Color Guard, Student Council

 

Pam Goodner, Operations & Accounting

What is your job at Braid? What kind of work are you typically doing in a day?
I’m Braid’s operations manager. I mostly work on accounting and financial related duties.

What is your favorite thing about the work you do at Braid?
Helping the company grow financially and keeping us within our set budgets.

What did you want to be when you were growing up? A dancer or music teacher.

How did you feel on first days of school?
I loved school and would still go for fun just to learn something new if I had time.

What was your favorite subject in school? Math

What would your younger self think about your life now?
Would’ve never thought I would be doing accounting or still living in OKC!

Did you ever get sent to the principal’s office? Maybe once…or twice. 😉

Favorite after school snack: Mine was peanut butter on saltines while my sister ate ketchup on hers….yuck!
Band, choir, drama, or sports: Orchestra and drill team (now called pom squad).

 

Autumn O’Feery, Graphic Designer

What is your job at Braid? What kind of work are you typically doing in a day?
I’m a designer. Every day is different and brings new challenges or puzzles to solve.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I always wanted to do something creative and be a problem solver, but I always told myself none of the cool artsy jobs were practical enough to support myself. I thought I’d probably end up being a history professor or an art therapist. I never knew my job even existed when I was younger; it’s amazing what happens when you finally grow up, grow a pair, and start actually pursuing what you love.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Forget about what everyone thinks of you. Keep taking choir and auditioning for those musicals! My freshman year of high school, I was too nervous to audition, I told myself I was too low on the totem pole to make the choir or get considered for a role. I really loved performing with other people though and I wish I would have taken more chances instead of worrying about potential failure.

Did you ever get a yearbook superlative? What was it?
Best eyes, seventh grade. Woot woot!

Did you ever get sent to the principal’s office? What for!?
YES! I was in a giant food fight in middle school. Only a few of us were actually picked out by the lunch monitors to set an example for the rest of the students. I was suspended for two weeks and it was awesome. No regrets.

Favorite after school snack: Ramen noodles
What’s your favorite back to school supplies: Gel pens, agendas and 3-ring binders with pocket dividers!
Band, choir, drama, or sports: Choir! No, drama! AH both!

 

Amanda Lowery, Account Director & Strategy

What is your job at Braid? What kind of work are you typically doing in a day?
I work on client strategy and day-to-day project management. My days can vary. Some days I may be meeting with clients to discuss new initiatives–gleaning insights and discovering growth goals. Other days, I am at my desk writing promotion plans with timelines, tactics and estimates. The next day may involve doing some online research, collaborating with the media team on execution, and opening jobs for our writers and designers to produce new marketing tactics. Or, I may be presenting any or all of these things to the client!

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Some careers I seriously considered toward the end of my high school years were: becoming a firefighter, lawyer, professor of women’s studies, or journalist (I ended up majoring in journalism with an emphasis in public relations.)

How did you feel on first days of school? Optimistic, nervous, excited?
Like many students, I always felt a mixture of both nervousness and excitement for a new school year. Frankly, it can be a little intimidating to walk into a room with a bunch of new people–even to this day! From a young age, my parents always encouraged me to push past my fears and not let them hold me back–telling me that with determination and work ethic applied, nerves will ease and confidence will be gained.

What was your favorite subject in school?
English and literature were my favorite subjects. My Norman High School English teacher, Mrs. Chavis, really helped prepare me for college and my future career by having us write short in-class essays at the start of every class period. I also always loved a good in-class discussion on whatever the book we were reading at the time. Yes, I was always the kid raising her hand to talk in class!

Favorite after school snack: Chips and salsa
What’s your favorite back to school supplies: I love the smell of sharpened pencils and a new notebook
Band, choir, drama, or sports: Sports all the way (but I wish I would have done debate and drama, too!)

Want to learn more about who we are today? Find more here >

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Oklahoma City, OK 73103