2022 is proving to be a year of change. I accepted a new position at Shawnee Community College. It was not an easy decision. It brings about seven years of work with Idea Creative Marketing to a close.
Let’s start at the beginning of this whole transition. In 2013, I had marked nine years with my then-employer. I had been the morning co-anchor for most of that time when I was called into a meeting and told a few things that completely changed my perspective and outlook on my career in TV news. I knew at that moment that it was time to move on.
However, knowing that and doing it are two different things. My wife and three kids had come to call southern Illinois home, as did I. We love our life here, and uprooting wasn’t an option. And honestly, being in the news business was starting to weigh heavy on me. I needed a change.
I applied and interviewed for a handful of marketing jobs, as I figured a transition into that field would be a good outlet for my creativity and love of writing. However, many of the jobs went to someone more qualified. And the few offers I received paid half or less than half of what I was making on air.
That’s when I started freelance blogging. I had some great opportunities that came up with that. However, a meeting with Whitney Roberts in the summer of 2015 changed my course. I had interviewed her on the news about a philanthropy project she was starting with her marketing agency, Idea Creative Marketing. I asked her if she ever needed blogs to consider me. She did, and we were off to the races.
I wrote blogs and did some social media content creation for a couple of years before reaching the end of my rope in TV news. I remember desperately emailing her one afternoon in the summer of 2018, asking for advice. She invited me into her office in Carbondale, and we worked out a plan to start transitioning from journalism to marketing. Luckily she was looking to start growing her company.
Now that the wheels were in motion, I was excited beyond belief. I’d work my early morning shift at the TV station and then head to Idea Creative Marketing in the afternoons. It wasn’t long before I had gained enough confidence and experience to make the jump officially. On June 19, 2019, I anchored my final newscast. It was bitter-sweet but something I needed.
It was just me and Whitney in the office in the early days. But as I mentioned, she wanted to grow ICM, and Elizabeth Hess was brought in as our visual designer. Cydney Paul joined the team as a marketing strategist just as COVID-19 started. While many companies were downsizing, Idea Creative Marketing was growing. We added a videographer and more services to our clients and knew we needed more space.
So in February 2021, we moved into a newly renovated building (more than triple the size of our previous office). The added space and new clients brought on the need for more team members. Scott Hickam joined the squad as brand coordinator.
I had so much fun in my role as a marketing strategist. Creating content has always been my favorite thing to do. But getting out of my comfort zone and meeting with clients helping their business grow was a huge reward. Making other people in southern Illinois and beyond aware of a brand and building those relationships.
Besides enjoying the actual work, the fun we had as a team will never be forgotten. Whitney has created a fun place to work. Yes, we are serious and passionate about what we do, but we have a great time doing it. I never once dreaded a Monday or wished it was Friday. I genuinely loved doing what I did each day I was there.
Other employers could take notes on how the work environment impacts an employee’s well-being. We had fitness challenges, movie days, lunches, snacks, custom-made Thigh Huggers, 5Ks, inflatable costumes, and much more. It’s easy to be grateful for the fun stuff, but I’m so thankful for my opportunities at Idea Creative Marketing. Without Whitney and the rest of the team, I wouldn’t be making a move to Executive Director of Public Information and Marketing at Shawnee Community College.
The most challenging day at work for me was when I told Whitney I was thinking bout applying for the job. She encouraged me to do so, and when I received news that I was SCC’s choice, she and the team made my last week at the office fantastic. We had lunch each day from places I love. There were donuts and beer and candles that will sit on my new desk and remind me of the friendships I’ve created over the last several years at ICM.
I appreciate your support since moving to southern Illinois 18 years ago. Thank you to my family and friends for being part of this ride. Thank you to my teammates at ICM. You mean the world to me.
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I'm a former TV news guy turned marketing manager. I like to blog, podcast and watch pro wrestling.