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  • Career Series: Andi Andrew

    January 28, 2014  |  Lifestyle & Moments  |  No Comments

    Today we have the amazing mom of four, wife, daughter, sister, Liberty Church pastor and blogger. WelcomeAndi Andrew!

    1. In one sentence, introduce yourself.

    My name is Andi Andrew and I’m married to Paul Andrew (with a hot Australian accent), mother to four brilliant crazy kids Ezekiel (8), Jesse (6), Finley (5), and Samuel (17 mo), and together with my hubs we pastor Liberty Church in Manhattan, Brooklyn, London and Zimbabwe.

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    2. What are your most passionate about?

     Freedom – body, soul and spirit! Spiritual freedom and physical freedom for those enslaved or in bondage in any way, shape or form.

    3. Tell us about your career, and what sets it apart from others?

    Being a pastor, your life is all about people. The word “ministry” means “to meet a need”. So whether I am teaching in our church, encouraging a mother who is down and without hope, or feeding children in Africa or my backyard, I am in ministry. My life is all about people… loving them and meeting their needs whatever that looks like.  

    4. How did you fall into your current job?

     In 1998 when I was 19 years old I had a had an encounter with God (which is a long story), but when that took place, I wanted nothing more than to serve Him all the days of my life. Because God is about people and relationship with them, not rules and religion. I knew that’s all I wanted to do and I didn’t really care what it looked like. I never planned to be a pastor of a church, I just wanted to build the church because it’s where I found my true value.

    5. What principles have guided your career?

    EveryONE matters. We are called to place value on each life we encounter. No one is perfect, but if people encounter real love, their lives will never be the same. Also enjoying life and not enduring through it. We all go through mountain top and valley experiences, but there is so much to learn in every season. And FAMILY!!! My kids and husband are everything to me… I want to bring the value of the family into every sphere of influence. We have been tagged as “The fatherless generation”… And I love that church can be a family for people that maybe they never experienced growing up. I want my personal family to thrive as well as the church family I get to build.

     6. What/Who have had the greatest influence on your life and career? How? Why?

    My mom and dad… they are my heros. (Julie: I have to add, they are amazing people!! They led Stan and me through pre-marietal counseling, and shared years of invaluable wisdom with us.) They have had such a rough ride, but have not only stayed in love, but fell more in love. They are an example to many of what true love looks like. They help pastor at our church and I want everyone to meet them…they are just so amazing! And also my husband (I know sounds cliche), but he is the real deal. I’ve watched him transform in the 11 1/2 years we’ve been married and he ages like a fine wine. And Jesus of course! Duh. Following His life has transformed me in more ways than I could ever express.  

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    7. What challenges have bettered your career or business success?

    I think for me it would be not attaching what I do to who I am. They are two separate things. I know that’s a challenge for all of us, but my identity is not wrapped up in what I do.  

    8. Do you like challenge? Why? If not, why not?

    I LOVE challenge. I LOVE pain. I am weird like that. I like to know what I need to change in my life to become a better person. Life is a journey and I always want to be running forward and climbing every mountain in front of me. Challenges just mean it’s time to get to work…

    9. What do you still want to accomplish?

    I think that’s an endless list too long for this article… In essence, I want to meet every need I am personally called to meet in my lifetime. Be that spiritual, emotional, or physical. I want to take my kids on the craziest adventure, and have life be the greatest school they ever attended. I want to fall more in love with my husband even though it’s counter cultural to ‘work’ hard at love. It’s more than a feeling… If at the end of my life, my family is flourishing, I am more in love than the day I got married, and I know that everyone I encountered knew they were truly loved… than I’ve accomplished my mission on earth.  

    10. What is a secret ambition of yours?

    To write books. I’ve started my blog as a litmus test to see if there is any interest out there for anything I write. Growing up, I had (and still have) a very intelligent sister and brothers. I always felt “stupid” compared to them, and I’m not sure where this came from but nonetheless. I got average grades in school and never thought myself to be a writer. But I have felt in my bones, that I’m supposed to write and invest into peoples lives, that I have a voice. So instead of self publishing and going for it the hard way, I launched the blog to get started, and I am loving it. But yes, in answer to your question, I want to write books and leave a legacy for my children’s, children’s, children. And sing on Broadway… but you know, some ambitions will remain ambitions. Ha!

    11. What is the most important lesson you have learned in your work world?

    You’ve never ‘made it’. Life is the best teacher, so just keep on learning. And don’t be so serious… Have fun along the way or you’ll grow old too quick.

    12. If you could choose to work with anyone in the world who would it be? Explain.

    I would love to work with Meryl Streep for a day and be her best friend. In my dream world I would love to be an actress for a day. Wouldn’t we all? And Joyce Meyer. The woman is a fearless weapon that is helping countless millions find spiritual, emotional and physical freedom. I love her.

    13. How would your describe your perfect work day?

    Wake up early, and have some time to myself. Actually get a shower in and put make up on before school drop offs. Drop the kids off to school, then come back home and study for a while while Sam toddles around, followed with coffee dates and lunch with some of my team and leaders I’m investing into. Then home to get some general admin done, pick up the kids from school and do homework with them. Sit around the table for family dinner and then get the kids off to bed and hang with my hubs.

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    14. What is the secret to a happy life-work balance?

    All of the above in question 13. Go with the flow. Schedule your life, but make sure it’s a flexible schedule so you don’t have a panic attack when things don’t work out perfectly. Also, make sure that your life lines up with your values otherwise it will all come crashing down.

     15. Now to jazz things up a bit, what three adjective describe your perfectly designed workspace?

     Peaceful. Warm. Light.

     16. What is the ideal site for your dream office? (ex: Tribeca Loft, Parisian Pied-a-Tiere, country cabin in Alaska…be creative)?

     A cozy nook that overlooks that city that I’m madly in love with AND a cabin to get away to in upstate New York. I need both. I am obsessed with Fall and Spring and want a place where I can sit by the fire and just be… because that’s not going to happen in my Brooklyn Brownstone.

    17. How important is the design of workspace in relation to your productivity?

    Chaos won’t do. There has to be order, peace and cleanliness. I have organized chaos at home with my four babes, so my workspace needs to be different. I am most productive under the covers in my bed with the candles lit and fresh air streaming in through my window whilst the kids are at school and Sam is napping. And cafe’s with good food are my favorite when I am meeting with people.

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    18. What do you consider to be a fun day at the office?

     Connecting and laughing with our team, I love the people I get to do life with.

    19. Tell us one more thing. Anything. Personal. Work related. Whatever.

    I have 2 totally different personalities. I am completely outgoing and energized by people, but when I’m done, I’m done. Then I’m in my ugly, comfy clothes and a total homebody. It takes an army to get me to go out on the town. But when I do, I always have fun.

    20. As we wrap up our Q&A, what word of advice would you like to pass on to Julieann

    Gregory Blog Readers?

    Love what you do so much that it’s like you’re not going to work. And always remember that what you do is not who you are. Don’t survive through life, thrive in it and make something beautiful out of every day you have breath. You’ve only get one shot…

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    Thank you Andi! Thank you for carving precious time out of your BUSY schedule to share on Julieann Gregory Blog. Andi is truly an amazing friend and leader…inside and out.

    *All images provided by Andi Andrew

    Career Post: Jennifer O’Donnell

    January 22, 2014  |  Lifestyle & Moments, Old Blog  |  No Comments

    1. In one sentence, introduce yourself.

    My name is Jennifer O’Donnell, I live in Atlanta and am the Marketing Communications Specialists at a mid-sized regional law firm.

    2. What are your most passionate about?

    This is a tough one. There are several things that I feel “passionate” about. Mostly, my relationship with Jesus and after that everything else is “fluff”, but there are certain things that I do enjoy doing. I love all things design and fashion. I have no talent in either but appreciate beautiful things so much. More than that, I love my husband, Eugene, and love traveling with him and just our every day adventures. There is a laundry list of things that I could say here but those are the high points.

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    3. Tell us about your career, and what sets it apart from others? How did you fall into your current job?

           I am an attorney by education. I practiced as a staff attorney for the first four years out of law school. I worked at the Federal Court screening prisoner’s constitutional complaints. THEN…I found something else to do! I then was a faculty member at the law school I graduated from, Mississippi College School of Law. My next step was to where I am now. My firm wanted an attorney on the marketing team to lend “expertise” to the business development activities as well as ethical considerations in advertising. Finding an attorney that doesn’t want to practice isn’t all that common so I was a perfect fit. I really enjoy what I do. I still need my degree in certain situations and am around other legal professionals but am provided the opportunity to be creative and not be a slave to the billable hour.

    4. What/Who have had the greatest influence on your life and career? How? Why?

    I would say that my parents/the way I was raised have had a significant impact on my life and career. And now that I am married, my husband. All three have incredible work ethics that I aspire to. When growing up my parents worked harder than anyone I knew. Both my mother and father did whatever it took to provide for our family and did well. It was priceless to watch them get up every morning and go to work and work hard. They both also “climbed the ladder” in their respective careers, so it was encouraging to watch them work hard for, and achieve, their goals and success in their careers.  

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    5. What challenges have bettered your career or business success?

    My husband is an Ironman triathlete for “fun.” Watching his discipline and dedication to his hobby has encouraged (and let’s be honest, convicted) me to have the same type dedication and work ethic. As a result, he has also had relative success early in his professional career which can only be attested to hard work (and a few blessings along the way) 

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    6. Do you like challenge? Why? If not, why not?

    I don’t typically seek out challenges. I like to play it safe. However, I will say that my best work generally comes out when I am forced to rise to the occasion. So, in essence, I like challenges when they are over.

    I don’t know if you would consider this a traditional “challenge”, but I will say that some office relationships very early in my career have shaped the way that I conduct myself around my co-workers. There were some, I’m sad to say, women that were rude and caddy in the office and it has certainly shaped the way I behave now. This may not have resulted in traditional “success”, however, being kind in the work place has certainly paid off. It has created situations where colleagues trust me and rely on me which has resulted in me being chosen for certain projects and put my work “out there” in order to showcase my skill set.

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    7. What do you still want to accomplish?

    I’m pretty satisfied in my career. I would, however, like to continue to learn the legal marketing trade and take on more responsibility at some point. It’s cliché, but I suppose I would like to climb the ladder in my current field. (and firm, if possible!)

    8. What is a secret ambition of yours?

    Hmmmm…a secret ambition. Really and truly, I’d like to be one of those women that has it all together. Writes cards to their friends on special occasions, or really, just because. Be as thin as I would like to be because I was more disciplined with working out. I generally fly by the seat of my pants and I would like to be a little more ahead of the curve. I know this is boring…but true! I wouldn’t mind owning a store or even moving up in my current field but really those are all boring.

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    9. If you could choose to work with anyone in the world who would it be? Explain.

    This is tough for me to nail down as well. There are several people that I would love to see how they operate on a day to day basis in their workplace. Julie, you, for example. I would love to see how the creative process, coupled with your architecture/technical background, all comes together. Not to mention the fact that we would be fast friends. In a completely different regard, I would love to work with my husband. We have an incredibly close relationship and there is little that we do not do together. I would love to eventually be able for us to work alongside each other. How that would look in reality, I have no idea!

    Julie interjects: I think I wouldn’t mind you on my team either…you’re an awesome gal, and businesses are always in need of legal council!

    10. How would your describe your perfect work day?

    My perfect work day…a day in which I have a lot of “wins”, I suppose. A day where I feel particularly on my game and not quite so intimidated by some of the incredibly talented people I work with. Wrap that up with a happy hour at a beautifully styled restaurant and I’m in heaven.

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     11. What is the secret to a happy life-work balance?

    Isn’t this the million dollar question! I work from home so it makes things a bit easier. I don’t leave my house for 8-9 hours a day and then have to come back and get things in order and cook dinner etc. I can start dinner as I wrap up my day, do laundry during the day and wrap my morning workout up around 8 am. So my secret is working from home!

    12. Now to jazz things up a bit, what three adjective describe your perfectly designed workspace?

    Simple. Modern(ish). With a pop of the unexpected.

    13. What is the ideal site for your dream office? (ex: Tribeca Loft, Parisian Pied-a-Tiere, country cabin in Alaska…be creative)?

     Ok…since I’m dreaming…I’d have a loft in Tribeca (Me too!) and a beach side cottage in Santa Monica. My two favorite spots in the country. And, of course, I’d keep my apartment in Atlanta because it’s home! You said be creative J.

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    14. How important is the design of workspace in relation to your productivity?

    I kind of go back and forth on this one. There are days when I have a tight deadline and my mind is racing with all I have to do. On those days, the space needs to be well organized and simple. There are other days where mundane work is on the agenda and I could work anywhere (and sometimes do).

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    15. What do you consider to be a fun day at the office?

     I have the luxury of working from an office for a week or so every couple of months and then working from home the remainder of the time. When I’m in the home office, I love to visit (within reason of course) with my co-workers that I don’t get to see so often and then enjoy having face to face business meetings. The conference call gets old from time to time. When I’m at home, a fun day at the “office” would include getting to participate in some of the more creative aspects of my job. Rather than just responding to emails.

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    16. Tell us one more thing. Anything. Personal. Work related. Whatever.

    I’m an introvert, sometimes painfully so. I love LOVE time with “my people”, but get overwhelmed easily by too many social appointments in one day. My current working situation is perfect for this. God has truly blessed me with an ideal situation.

    17. As we wrap up our Q&A, what word of advice would you like to pass on to Julieann Gregory Blog Readers?

    I’m no expert, but I will say, work hard, be honest and treat others with kindness and you can pretty much achieve anything you want. There is nothing more unattractive, in my opinion, than a woman that will climb over anyone on her way to the “top”. Keep what is important, important, and then you can feel good about the success that you work hard for.

    *All images sourced by Jennifer O’Donnell – click on images to be redirected to source URLs.

    Career Series: Ashley Kickliter

    January 13, 2014  |  Lifestyle & Moments  |  1 Comment

    After an extended holiday break from The Blog…I am back. Excitingly enough, I am back with the launch of an inspiring new string of posts – our very own Career Series. This is just one of many posts, so enjoy gathering insight, perspective and inspiration from some of the most unique friends, mentors and flat out cool people I know! (PS – If have any interest in participating in the Career Series, please email me at julie@julieanngregoryllc.com for more details). With that, I bring you Career Series Post One!

    1. In one sentence, introduce yourself. 

    I am Ashley Kickliter – crazy cat lady, lover of all things chartreuse, born 40 years too late, and blessed with the beautiful gift of photography.

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    2. What are your most passionate about?

    I am absolutely most passionate about changing the way people, mainly girls, feel about themselves or see themselves through my photos. There is no better feeling in the world to me than when I see or hear how I made someone feel truly beautiful.  

    3. Tell us about your career, and what sets it apart from others?

    I am a local photographer based in Auburn, Alabama, who got started at the age of 16. One thing that sets me apart is my young age and also how I go about my photos. Maybe it’s just me, but it’s the 21st century and who really wants extremely posed and stiff pictures all dressed in white shirts? What I love is movement, candid moments, true facial expressions, and a lot of laughter. I believe that is one thing that sets my photos apart from others, I feel they really capture moments instead of stiff poses. I aim for people to remember that moment or feel some sort of emotion when they see my pictures, pictures they can hang on their walls for years. 

    4. How did you ‘fall’ into your current job?

    I started my business when I was 16 years old, and started by doing fun photos of my friends which led to doing their families Christmas cards and honestly it has just bloomed from there—more than I ever could have imagined now at the age of 20.  

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    5. What principles have guided your career?

    Perseverance. Confidence. Responsibility. Patience. Compassion. Those are the main 5 principles that have guided my career in photography. 

    6. What/Who have had the greatest influence on your life and career? How? Why?

    My mom has been the biggest influence on my life and career. Even though we have different sides of the brain, her being a pharmacist and me being an artist, she has always supported me and helped me work towards any goal I have ever wanted to accomplish, even when she didn’t understand it. Her kindness and selflessness have been a huge influence on how I run my business. // My grandfather, Chuck, has also been one of the biggest influences on my life and career. He has so much wisdom and great advice to give every time I see him—he worked really hard at a young age too and is always making me flow charts to help with my business and recommending inspirational books to keep me going. He not only makes me feel like a superstar he makes me believe Ill be one someday—if I ever make it big, a lot of it will be due to his continual encouragement. 

    7. What challenges have bettered your career or business success?

    I think the daily challenge of being much younger than most of the professional photographers in my area has absolutely bettered my career and success. I think having clients book shoots with me over people with 20+ years of experience show it doesn’t matter how young or old you are—you can accomplish anything you set your mind to and are ready to work hard for. 

     8. Do you like challenge? Why? If not, why not?

    I absolutely love a challenge. Like stated above, my age can be a real challenge sometimes. I love when a client shows up to a shoot or consultation with me and I see that priceless funny look on their face because they were expecting someone around the ages of 30-40 I’m guessing. I have also been extremely challenged when shooting weddings, having guests try to direct me to where I should be taking a photograph for example—when they definitely wouldn’t have said that to someone much older and “more professional” looking than myself. Some people don’t fully trust me when they find out my age even though they love my work. I love a challenge because I grow so much more when I am faced with each one—it strengthens my patience, maturity, and responsibility, ultimately bettering my success.  

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    9. What do you still want to accomplish?

    Gosh, there are so many things I still want to accomplish. I want to shoot a girl battling a disease or sickness and change her world for a moment through my photos of her. I want to photograph someone in a gorgeous gown made of tulle on the carousel farthest from the Eiffel tower in Paris. I want to have a picture on the cover of a well-known magazine. I want to take pictures of someone famous. I want to have an exhibit of my work at a local museum by the time I graduate. I want to spend a semester at Oxford University. I want to learn to surf really well. I could go on and on.   

    10. What is a secret ambition of yours?

    Hmmm…a secret ambition of mine is to one day have a normal woman, maybe a woman who has gone through some really hard times, and have her grace the cover of one of the top fashion magazines or wear the million dollar bra in the Victoria’s Secret annual fashion show. Not a model, an everyday woman who really deserves to feel like a star.  We could use a little shock factor in that industry these days.   

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    11. What is the most important lesson you have learned in your work world?

    The most important lesson I have learned thus far in my career is to always somehow inject part of myself in each shoot I do. Whether it be the styling, the lighting, the location, the pose, I have to keep shooting what inspires me or it will begin feeling like work and it will be rushed and no longer enjoyable. I never want to feel completely burnt out. 

    12. If you could choose to work with anyone in the world who would it be? Explain.

    If I could choose anyone in the world to work with, it would be without a doubt, Sue Bryce. Sue Bryce is a photographer based out of Seattle now who has inspired me more than anyone in the photography industry. I am sure Annie Leibovitz and other huge photographers would be great too, but I had the chance to be on a shoot while in London during an internship with one of the biggest photographers and models in the fashion photography industry and all I can say is Sue Bryce’s blog and an online workshop with her has inspired me 100x more than the huge production I went on. I feel Sue and I are kindred spirits, with our goals being to change women’s lives and would love to work with her one day. Look up the short documentary, “The Light that Shines”—it is truly a peek into my heart.

    13. How would your describe your perfect work day?

    A perfect work day to me would be waking up, drinking my favorite coffee, Starbuck’s Pike’s Place roast, planning my day based on the shoot that was on my calendar, then going to the shoot and capturing amazing moments at beautiful locations, then coming home and editing them with my cat by my side. 

    14. What is the secret to a happy life-work balance?

    This is a tough one because I still haven’t figured this one out. With 5 shoots a week, some being weddings on the weekend plus all the hours editing along with being a full time student in the very demanding major of Graphic Design, I don’t exactly have a life outside of work. Photography is my life and is what I absolutely love to do but I do feel like I miss out on things sometimes with my friends—I definitely don’t have a typical college life but I don’t think I was made for one. I would say time management would be the key to balancing it all, I’m just still working on it.  

    15. Now to jazz things up a bit, what three adjective describe your perfectly designed workspace?

    Inspirational. Light. Quirky. Reference the workspace of Bri Emery of DESIGNLOVEFEST. 

    16. What is the ideal site for your dream office? (ex: Tribeca Loft, Parisian Pied-a-Tiere, country cabin in Alaska…be creative)?

    A realistically dreamed office space would be in a loft of San Diego or Los Angeles, white walls, white floors, and at least one wall of white exposed brick! A not-so-realistic-at-the-moment office space would be at a penthouse I picked out while in Paris overlooking a fountain by Café Le Victor Hugo where I could walk downstairs to the café each morning for my usual breakfast to start the day.  

    17. How important is the design of workspace in relation to your productivity?

    I think the design of a workspace is crucial to productivity. For example, I have to have things around me that inspire me like an inspirational wall of photos or quotes or a window that lets in beautiful light. I absolutely hate working in a room without windows. The space also needs to be comfortable, where you can work for an extended period of time.  

    18. What do you consider to be a fun day at the office?

    Since I work from home, a fun day at the “office” would be sitting down returning emails and calls, browsing Pinterest for inspiration for future shoots, editing pictures with my Siamese cat by my side, either cuddling or bouncing around keeping me entertained while listening to some of my favorite music—Otis Redding is one of my favorite Pandora stations. Listening to my favorite British boy band, One Direction, would also make a fun day while working—I have a very diversified taste in music. 

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    19. Tell us one more thing. Anything. Personal. Work related. Whatever.

    It is very rare for a person to see me in a t-shirt or what most people call “comfy” clothes. How I dress affects my mood—or my mood affects how I dress. Either way, I will not have a very good day unless I like the outfit I’m in. If you see me in a t-shirt and shorts or yoga pants, you can bet I am not having a good day or am ill. (I also like a lot of clothes with cats on them, tasteful cats.) 

    20. As we wrap up our Q&A, what word of advice would you like to pass on to Julieann Gregory Blog Readers?

    The best piece of advice I could give that I’ve gathered in my 20 years is to absolutely go after what you want and never give up on it. Go after it now, not later. Write down your goals and dreams on paper…then go get them. It is pretty simple when it comes down to it. Don’t let anyone tell you where or what you should be, only you know that. Without sounding too cliché, follow your heart and stray true to who you are, don’t change for anyone. Stay weird. Normal is boring.

    *Thank you Ashley Kickliter of Ashley Kickliter Photography and Open Eye Photography for sharing with us today!

    *All images via Ashley Kickliter