Welcome Alex Kimball to New Kind
New Kind is delighted to welcome Alex Kimball to our team. I had a chance to sit down with Alex recently and ask him a few questions about himself.
Where is home for you?
I was born and raised in Austin, Texas. I lived there until I left for college, but moved back for a few years after graduation, not yet knowing what I wanted to do with my life. Austin’s a great place for that. I worked a bunch of odd jobs until eventually landing a few freelance copywriting gigs which really set me on my way. In 2012 I packed up my car and my dog and moved to New York City to do my best Don Draper impersonation and see if I could make it in advertising. Even after all my travels I still consider myself an Austinite through and through.
What was it like growing up in Austin?
Austin was a great city to grow up in. Even back then, before it had the reputation it enjoys today, Austin was an extremely welcoming city, offering an endless supply of fun things to do and ways to cultivate your own interests. When my parents first moved to Austin in the early ’80s they assumed they wouldn’t stay more than a few years—and ended up staying for 25. That kind of thing has a way of happening in Austin. These days people come to Austin for all sorts of reasons: aspiring musicians and artists, students at UT, entrepreneurs drawn to its thriving tech scene, government workers milling about the capitol building. It all somehow comes together in a way that’s uniquely Austin.
Ever participated in South by Southwest?
Yes, as an attendee many times. Honestly during those two weeks it’s hard to avoid. Shows and events permeate nearly everything in the city—bars, restaurants and entire blocks are transformed into a collage of creativity, music, and energy.
Raleigh likes to compare itself to Austin. Is this a valid comparison?
I only just moved here, so I may not be the best judge, but from what I can tell Raleigh comes pretty close. The creative culture, the business community in RTP, the thriving restaurant scene—these are all things Raleigh shares with Austin for sure. That said, I’ve yet to be convinced the Tex-Mex and BBQ in Raleigh can hold a candle to my favorite spots back home.
Where did you go to college?
I attended UNC-Chapel Hill and majored in Psychology and American Studies.
There are lots of great schools in Texas. Why UNC?
First, Carolina is a phenomenal school. Second, when it came time to start looking at colleges, my parents encouraged my brother and I to look outside the state of Texas as a way of broadening our horizons and getting outside our comfort zones. Third, and perhaps most important, I grew up a Carolina fan from a very early age, believe it or not. As a sports-obsessed kid I rocked a #15 Vince Carter jersey proudly and always gravitated toward that particular shade of blue.
Did you do anything particularly noteworthy while a student a UNC?
UNC exposed me to many truly amazing experiences. One semester I’d be working on a tobacco farm in Hurdle Mills, NC, the next I’d be teaching a health class to patients at the psychiatric hospital in Butner. It’s also hard to beat the thrill of rushing Franklin Street after the Tar Heels won the national championship my freshman year.
You could have chosen anywhere to live. Why Raleigh?
Last year I became engaged to a Carolina girl whom I met in New York City. We both knew we didn’t want to stay in NYC forever, so we began looking for opportunities to come back down south. Her family lives in eastern North Carolina, so moving closer to family was a big part of coming here as well. We’ve settled in a quaint little yellow house at the end of a cul-de-sac in Mordecai, a downtown Raleigh neighborhood near Person Street. So far, we love it.
What is your job at New Kind?
My title is Senior Content Strategist. I get to tell stories for a living, which is pretty cool if you ask me.
Do you consider yourself to be a “creative” person?
I do. Though for a time I considered myself something of a “reluctant creative.” I don’t paint or draw. I don’t play any instruments. I always knew I had a talent for writing, but wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it. I worked hard to bring out that core creativity within me, and have grown to thrive in creative organizations and among creative minds like those here at New Kind.
Do you have a hobby?
Brewing beer is a hobby of mine I’m enjoying again now that I have the space to do it. It was way too difficult — like lots of things — to do in New York City. I enjoy the creativity of putting a recipe together, and the discipline required to follow all the steps to get it to turn out just right. Likewise, playing tennis is a hobby my fiancée and I share that we’re excited to pick back up here in North Carolina.
How would you describe yourself in a few words?
Curious. Sensitive. Witty. Tall. Like, really tall.
What would surprise me about you?
To look at me you wouldn’t think I spent a summer working construction in Maine. And I don’t have an accent, so people are often surprised to learn I’m from Texas—unless I’m wearing my boots.
What is your greatest passion?
My greatest passion is telling stories. Professionally, that’s my job. Distilling a client’s complex organizational objectives into a succinct, captivating narrative is a challenge I really enjoy. Personally, I just love a good story. Hearing them and telling them. Whatever the medium — books, movies, music, theatre, podcasts — if there’s a great story being told, I’m in.
Do you ever make fun of yourself?
Yes, early and often.
What kind of music do you enjoy most?
Honestly, the answer to that question depends on when you happen to ask me. At any moment my headphones are likely to be filled with Spoon, Outkast, The Pogues, Lamb Chop, Metallica, Daft Punk, or Lyle Lovett.
What are you most proud of in your life?
I’m most proud of creating a career from basically nothing. Looking back, I took a real chance when I left the relative comfort of my hometown to see if I could make a career of this writing thing. It started with an unpaid internship in New York City, and now — after five years of of hard work and a few good breaks — I’m sitting here talking to you about how I’ve basically landed my dream job. It’s been quite a ride.
Could you give an example or one or two people who have made an impact in your life?
I kind of have to say my parents, right? (Hi Mom!) Seriously though, my mom instilled in me a real love of people and language. My dad gets credit for my creativity, sense of humor, and love of IPAs.
What is your greatest source of inspiration?
Laughter is a great source of inspiration. To be able to move someone to the point of laughing is something I’ve enjoyed my entire life.
What brought you to New Kind?
In all seriousness, it was the first time in my life I’d ever read a job description and felt like someone wrote it with me in mind. The more I learned about the company — beyond simply what my role would be — the more clear it became to me that I had to find a way to be a part of this remarkable company.
What do you hope to accomplish at NK?
First and foremost, I want to create great work. To write compelling stories that resonate with our clients and achieve their goals. In time, I hope I can help grow and develop New Kind itself as we continue to shape and define what it means to be a new kind of branding agency. I’ve only been here a week or so, but it already feels like home.