I am delighted to share the news with you that Claire Strickland has joined the New Kind Team as a Relationship Manager.
Claire was born in Atlanta, although she spent her childhood years in Durham, Chapel Hill, and Winston-Salem. She graduated in May from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in Journalism and Political Science.
I had a chance to sit down with Claire and ask her a few questions about herself during her first month at New Kind. I think you will find her responses very interesting, and they’ll provide some insight on the quality of person that we invite to join our New Kind Team.
Do you consider yourself to be a “creative” person?
Definitely. But I think everyone is creative – it’s just a matter of finding ways to harness your creative energy.
I grew up in a very creative household. My dad was a novelist and copywriter, my mom a decorator and house-fixer-upper. When I was a child, I was obsessed with making miniature rooms out of shoe boxes – creating furniture, painting the walls with markers. I didn’t make them for dolls. I just wanted to decorate them. I’d make my little cardboard rooms while my mom decorated the rooms of our house. I still have a passion for interior design and using space in inventive ways.
Another big creative outlet for me is cooking. I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with my dad growing up. He never used recipes, and I still try to make things up as I go, combining ingredients and spices in unexpected ways (though I’ll never be as good as him).
How would you describe yourself in a few words?
I’m curious, diligent, and voracious.
What led you to decide to major in Journalism and Political Science at UNC?
While my degree is in Journalism, my specialization is in Public Relations. I’ve always loved writing, and I felt like majoring in public relations gave me the writing tools to solve problems I was passionate about in creative ways. I’ve also always had an interest in the US political system and how it compares and contrasts with governments around the world.
What was your greatest takeaway as a student at UNC?
In the Journalism School, I learned how to look at something very broadly and then distill into something meaningful using creative strategy. I also learned how to work together with a group of people with diverse views and backgrounds.
What would surprise me about you?
I’ve never had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. And I spoke Russian until I was 4.
Was there a particular event that shaped your thinking as a young person?
My first year at UNC, I randomly signed up for a class on the US food system. It was the first time I really considered the cultural and legal processes behind the food we eat. I couldn’t stop thinking about it and got involved with several organizations focused on food justice. Eventually, I helped start The Sonder Market, a student-run, non-profit food cooperative on UNC’s campus. There isn’t fresh produce within walking distance from campus, and The Sonder Market works to change this by offering inexpensive, fresh, and local produce to the UNC community.
What do you consider the greatest invention of your lifetime?
Self-driving cars. Driving is not my forte, so I’m really looking forward to these being mass marketed.
Who has been the most influential person in your life?
I don’t really have just one person – I like to think of it as a mosaic of individuals. I’m grateful to have a strong group of family, friends, professors, and mentors with a diverse set of views who have supported me and inspired me creatively throughout my life.
What is your greatest passion?
Besides food justice, I am passionate about exploring and learning about the world around me. I love travelling, and I think it’s important to bridging and understanding cultural gaps.
What is your greatest source of inspiration?
The world around me. I love cities and the people, smells, tastes, sounds, and ideas that fill them.
What can you do to inspire others?
I try to be open-minded and respectful of the ideas of others. I think a huge part of inspiration is not feeling constrained. I want people to always feel like they can express themselves when they’re around me.
What brought you to New Kind?
I was drawn to the way that New Kind uses creative storytelling to engage communities. I was also interested in New Kind’s unique open and collaborative approach to working with clients.
What do you hope to accomplish at NK?
I’m excited to work with clients to solve their problems and reach their goals using creative writing. I’m also looking forward to using the digital marketing skills I learned at UNC to focus on New Kind’s online content strategy.
What defines success for you?
Being able to have a positive and meaningful impact on my community.
What is your favorite saying?
“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
What are you most proud of in your life?
I’m really proud of starting The Sonder Market. It was such an incredible, fun, fulfilling, and crazy experience to experience a problem, work towards fixing it, and watch an idea turn into a real, functioning, tangible business.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Always see the forest for the trees. My dad would remind me of this when I was struggling through an essay, getting bogged down in details. It’s important to always take a step back and look at the broader picture.
What the most important lesson you have learned in life?
Positive change is usually uncomfortable. And always bring Band-Aids on a hiking trip.
If you won the mega lottery tomorrow, where would you go and what would you do?
I’d put money towards areas I’m passionate about, such as food justice, education, improving fair political representation, and fostering the spread of ideas through travel. And I’d go on a food tour around the world. And then I’d gold plate my house (just kidding).
We are truly fortunate to attract talented young people like Claire to join us at New Kind. So, on behalf of the entire New Kind Team, we welcome you to New Kind and look forward to your many contributions to the success of our company, but more importantly, to the success of the clients we serve.