Why Wray Ward Is the Exact Jackie Chan Kick I Needed

  • Categories:

    Agency Life, Creative, Inspiration

  • Date:

    November 7, 2019

Why Wray Ward Is the Exact Jackie Chan Kick I Needed

Agency Life Creative Inspiration

First, an answer to a question you might have. Is Portland really that weird?

Yes. Yes, it is.

If you spend enough time in PDX, you’ll see the man completely painted in blue, standing on the street corner yelling about … no one knows.

After a seven-year stint in the Pacific Northwest, I moved back South. (I grew up in South Carolina.) When I tell people in Charlotte I moved from Portland, I get one of two responses: “Why in the world would you move out there?” or “Why in the world would you leave?”

The true answer is complicated, but if I could drill it down to one word, it would be complacency. Yes, my fiancé and I wanted to be closer to our family and friends, but on an individual level, I felt complacent. I was restless for new places and adventures, and professionally, I knew I needed a change in order to grow.

Wray Ward has been the exact Jackie Chan kick I needed. And Charlotte and its surroundings give me so much to explore.

A month into this gig, I feel at least marginally qualified to share some thoughts:

Charlotte and Portland are worlds apart but also surprisingly alike.

You both have breweries out the wazoo. You have lovely parks and green spaces. You love food. You have mountains and national forests in one direction and beaches and coastlines in the other — all within a few hours’ drive.

One of you is sunnier. I’ll leave it at that.

But Charlotte … what is with your driving? Why do y’all drive like bats out of hell all the time? Also, you are such an odd paradox to me. You are a super-active city. I constantly see people running, biking, working out, etc. Yet you drive EVERYWHERE. Did you know you can just, like … walk places instead of driving a couple of blocks?

I mean, I love you, but I just wanted to note that.

Owning the work? It’s kind of a big deal here.

My first week at Wray Ward was expectedly slow. Getting up to speed and all that. But everything onward? Totally the opposite.

One of the first things I noticed here is that everyone is intimidatingly smart. (Thankfully, they are also really nice.) People care — I mean, REALLY care — about making intelligent creative work. Plus, everyone at Wray Ward seems to have a cool passion project on the side. I love it.

Since my first week on the job, I’ve written dozens of print ad copy variations, scripted TV shorts, whipped up some banner ads, jammed on website copy, created branding concepts and visited one of our biggest clients.

Judging from those projects, it’s clear designers and writers at Wray Ward must own the work. They’re expected to confidently lead creative. At my old agency, I had a bad habit of second-guessing my skill set. Here, though, I’ve resolved to trust my gut more. I feed it probiotics; it knows things. I also want to say “yes and” more instead of “umm maybe.” I think this means looking at possibilities first, not hurdles. At Wray Ward, they call this practice “asking what if.”

I don’t use GPS to get to work anymore.

This is monumental.

Where is our furniture?

As I write this*, my fiancé and I still have no furniture. It’s a long and complicated story, and I’ll gladly unleash my diatribe in person if you wish. (I’ve now been in Charlotte long enough that I know a great place to grab coffee.)

The funny thing about “no furniture” is it makes you sit with your thoughts. So I’ve set some goals and intentions for work at Wray Ward and life in Charlotte.

What I want to bring to Wray Ward:

Hopefully, I bring a great attitude and fresh ideas to copywriting at an agency with an impressive 40-year history. I came from a predominantly digital agency in Portland, so I can offer a specialized POV in that realm. Aside from my “habits” listed previously, I also want to become a better writer. I think concepting is my real sweet spot, but I can make my actual writing even stronger with practice.

What I want to bring to Charlotte:

My fiancé and I learned a lot of environmental habits in Portland, and I want to keep living green in Charlotte. We’re eating a more plant-based diet, and once I figure out local public transit, I’ll swap driving for walking, biking and busing. I want to do something for the community I call home now, too. I’m not quite sure how that will look, but I’m open to suggestions.

Are you a Charlotte transplant or a creative cozying up to a new city? I’d love to hear your story. Shoot me a note or hit me up on Instagram. (We’re getting a puppy soon, so if nothing else, you can expect lots of cute dog pics.) Otherwise, take a minute to check out some of the Wray Ward work, and you’ll understand why I’m so glad to be here.

*You’ll be happy to note our furniture has arrived since I wrote this blog post.

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