If you’ve been a Voice Bureau copywriting client within the last two years, you’ve already had the pleasure of meeting Katie Mehas, the subject of this piece. As Project Curator, she has managed our project workflows, been our clients’ go-to person, and has generally kept our excellence meter bouncing at the high end.
The other night I realized that I’ve reached the point in my business when I can truly say, I could not do what I’m doing without my team. Katie has been an integral part of making The Voice Bureau the business it is.
It is my HUGE pleasure to re-introduce her to you as our first ever Doyenne of Operations.
In her new capacity, Katie will still be in charge of creating and maintaining workflows for our client projects and being the point person for all project communications. She’s the person who will help you decide whether and how to become our client (with input from me, of course!), which means if you email us about a potential copywriting or content creation project, you’ll be hearing from her. She’s also the overseer and project manager for all internal Voice Bureau machinations, and will be my collaborative partner in creating new products and programs for The Voice Bureau in 2015 and beyond.
In short, right now, I wouldn’t want to be running this business without her. Without further ado, here she is . . .
Katie Mehas, Doyenne of Operations at The Voice Bureau
MY TOP 3-5 VOICE VALUES ARE:
They were: Clarity, Enthusiasm, Excellence, & Helpfulness.
I just re-took the assessment and got a four-way tie for Accuracy, Clarity, Excellence, and Power.
[Abby’s Note: Discover your own Voice Values when you subscribe to The Voice Bureau’s Insider Stuff e-letter.
Enter your best email address below and click Go to get started.]
This surprised me a little, but I think this was after you reworked the assessment, and – probably more importantly — post-Avery, which I know has changed a lot of my values in general. [Abby’s Note: Avery is Katie’s toddler daughter.]
How would you describe your relationship with our clients at The Voice Bureau?
I partner with our clients to find the best way we can support them — and make sure we’re the right team for their needs — and ensure the process runs smoothly, from the first email to the Final Drafts. I’m on-hand throughout the process to answer any questions, and I work with our fabulous coterie of writers to ensure each client’s particular voice and vision comes through in the copy we write.
I live in St. Petersburg, Florida with my husband and our totally awesome daughter, Avery. We have three totally out of control cats and a grouchy old chihuahua who is (mostly) very tolerant of being chased around by a toddler.
I’ve worked in some form of media for about 10 years now, starting in radio and then moving into magazines. I was editor of a series of classic car magazines for three years — and still don’t have a driver’s license. [Abby’s Note: I keep forgetting that!] When the magazines shut down to go to an online-only model, I spent a year as editor-in-chief of Jack Move Magazine, an online arts and culture magazine. Around this time, I decided to start my own business, using my editorial experience to offer copywriting, editing, and project management to small businesses.
I DO THE WORK I DO BECAUSE:
I love everything about the work I do — the people I get to work with, the way this type of work fits into my life, and the actual work I get to do. I get to learn about so many different subjects, “meet” a lot of really interesting people, and apply my strengths to help other businesses. I’d be organizing and planning anyway — I’m unbelievably lucky to do it every day and get paid for it.
COOLEST/BEST/MOST SATISFYING THING ABOUT WORKING WITH THE VOICE BUREAU (SO FAR) IS:
The coolest thing about the work I do is the variety — I get to learn so many interesting things about so many different businesses, and no two days are the same for me!
A typical work session (if there could be a “typical” one) might involve planning out a project, emailing with a few clients or potential clients, communicating with our awesome team of copywriters, doing some writing myself, or working on some of the exciting big-picture projects we have ahead of us for The Voice Bureau.
I get to shift gears so many times a day — it keeps everything fresh and interesting and lets me make use of a lot of random knowledge I’ve collected. (Who knew that my Modern Occult Philosophy class in college would be so useful — or at all useful?)
FAVORITE THING I NOTICE ABOUT OUR VOICE BUREAU CLIENTS IS:
It’s hard to choose just one thing! I love the passion they have for their businesses. I love their enthusiasm for our process and the partnerships we have with them. And I love that there’s so much variety in what they do, and yet so many similarities in their personalities — it’s really interesting to see those common threads among people who seem so different on the surface.
20 YEARS FROM NOW, I WANT TO BE ABLE TO SAY I’VE:
Written my novel. Traveled. Raised a family who are happy, healthy, and aware of the world around us.
THE iPHONE/ANDROID APP I WOULDN’T WANT TO LIVE WITHOUT IS:
Asana! It lets me keep up with work, even if I’m at the park with a toddler climbing my leg.
(Gosh, this is hard. This list will probably have changed by tomorrow.)
BOOKS: Anathem – Neal Stephenson; Pattern Recognition – William Gibson; The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series – Douglas Adams; Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell; Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal – Christopher Moore
MOVIES: The City of Lost Children, The Princess Bride, The Game, Velvet Goldmine, The Princess Bride, The Fall
MUSIC: Gogol Bordello, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Grinderman, The Decemberists, Warren Zevon, Die Antwoord, Balkan Beat Box
ARTISTS: James Turrell, Eleanor Antin, Picasso, Dali, Eero Saarinen
FAVORITE PLACES YOU’VE TRAVELED OR COOL PLACES YOU’VE SEEN
My absolute favorite trip would have to be to Dubrovnik, Croatia on my honeymoon. We rented an amazing apartment in a building that was seven or eight centuries old and just had the time of our lives. The food, the people, the history — it was spectacular. One night, we found ourselves in a pub, dancing with a group of Irish tourists while a Macedonian man who spoke not a word of English sang flawlessly accented covers of The Pogues.
I’ve had a few other really memorable trips — hiking most of the national parks in Utah with my dad as a kid, touring England as a high school graduation gift with my aunt and uncle, getting into trouble on our annual family vacations to New Jersey with my cousins, wine tasting our way through northern California with my husband (slightly different from my last trip there, for a pirate crust punk festival when I was 19!) — but Dubrovnik takes the prize. So far, at least — I have high hopes for much more traveling to come!
PERSONALITY TYPING? WHY, YES. I’M:
Enneagram Type 1 (The Reformer) with a 2-Wing [Abby’s Note: This combo is called The Advocate]. My Myers-Briggs type is INTJ (“The Scientist” or “The Conceptualizer Director”). I have a Cancer sun, Leo moon, and Aquarius rising.
MOST PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED TO KNOW THAT I:
Do most of my work between 2 and 7 AM. I’ve always been a night owl, and this lets me spend my day finger painting and reading books with my daughter.
Was an art major, and had a parental warning put on my senior thesis show.
Was a Sunday School teacher, age 3 and under, for 4 years.
Have been kicked in the head at a punk show, host a mean 10-course dinner, and can sing along with every song in probably a dozen Disney movies.
SECRET FANTASY CAREER/OCCUPATION:
Novelist, though it may not be all that secret! I’m slowly working my way through my YA (let’s go with) Urban Fantasy novel, planned as the first in a series. I just need to get it out of my head and onto the computer.
I’M FAIRLY INSATIABLE WHEN IT COMES TO:
Consuming media — from video games to books, great TV to bad movies, and music in just about every genre. Also, olives. I can not get enough olives. It’s seriously an obsession.
MY BRAND IS ALL ABOUT:
Really spectacular, intuitive, flexible systems. Blending left-brain organization and right-brain creativity to help passionate creatives produce prolifically. Serving as a translator between writers, artists, and planners. [Abby’s Note: I can vouch for all of this SO HARD.]
This year, you’ll be blogging for The Voice Bureau around project management and content creation for creative businesses. What are some of the common pitfalls you’ve seen creative clients encounter when it comes to systems of support? What’s your favorite way to approach starting to fix these?
I think the most common pitfall I’ve seen when it comes to systems of support is flat-out not having any! And, even worse, waiting until you desperately need them before starting to put them in place. It takes time to set up systems that will save you time, and you have to be willing to put in some extra-long hours for a little while to get them into place if you’re already feeling the crunch. My favorite way to start fixing these issues is to keep it simple. You can easily spend a week (or a month!) comparing slick systems and mobile apps, but it’s hard to tell what’s going to work for you until you’re already somewhat organized. Sometimes, a simple spreadsheet is the way to go to get started, and once you see how you’re using it, you can find the perfect system for your needs.
In the comments, we’d love to know:
What aspects of Katie’s experience with magazine editorial, prolific content creation, and organization and project management for creative businesses are YOU most curious about? We’ll note all your questions for future blog posts, products, and programs. Thanks in advance for sharing your curiosity.