Two things make my role at Monkeythis unique. First, our positions in the agency are fluid. My title is Principal – Client Relationships and Creative Direction. I have the good fortune of working directly with our clients daily, and I have the opportunity to watch as the creative team weaves magic for our clients. Some days I am directing strategy for a statewide organization and attending lengthy meetings, and others I am editing video that our team captured. We all jump in where necessary.
Second, our President, CEO and Founder is my Dad, although you will most likely hear me refer to him as Kurt or Mr. Karr as I have done for many, many years. I love working with my Dad on a daily basis, from 800 miles apart as we like to say. We have spent years working together in multiple companies and projects and each one builds our relationship and our expertise.
A favorite client.
Over the past two years, I have worked with the Iowa Intermediary Network (IIN), an organization devoted to work-based learning in Iowa. Helping kids understand the opportunities in their State, region or small town is a passion of each of the coordinators of IIN and has become a passion of mine.
We asked to provide a proposal for producing videos for IIN. After looking at the state of their communications, marketing, and outreach, we realized they needed so much more than a few videos. With their original fixed budget in mind, we proposed a radical departure from their initial request: Create a website, social media platforms, and a portal for collecting stories from around the state. It was an audacious goal, and they were on board.
When COVID-19 closed doors and moved much of our interactions online, we assisted IIN with creating the Connection Lab, an online resource packed with live virtual events, recordings, and resources for students and educators. Without the groundwork we did the previous year (creating the website, constructing a social media following, and building a partnership of trust), this work would have been difficult, if not impossible.
Sometimes we win awards for our work, and sometimes we get high fives from our clients. In a recent meeting, I was sent a message from one of the coordinators that made my day (maybe my year). It said, “…the Monkeythis team are a prudent and wise use of the public money – happy we started that relationship years ago!”
Curious minds have a tendency to fall down rabbit holes. Frequently, curiosity gets the best of me, and I proceed down a path of exploration with no idea where it might lead. A few years ago, I fell down a rabbit hole that led me to explore the most interesting new hobby: crocheting. You may find this to be surprising, but there’s quite a #menwhocrochet on Instagram and I joined the (yarn) fray.
I had been looking for a hobby to keep my hands busy and crocheting fit the bill. Over a short period, I became obsessed with this new hobby. Someone mentioned that crochet or knitting was meditative for them, and I found this to be true as well. Most importantly, it filled my need to create.
After my journey down the rabbit hole, I bought a beginner crochet set on a whim and sat down to learn. After my first afternoon, I had a twisted yarn square. (Well, more of a trapezoid, but you get the picture.) I started picking up a hook every day, joined a local crochet and knitting group, and bought way more yarn than I could store. I explore Instagram hashtags (enter #menwhocrochet) and found other men creating fantastic works of art with yarn.
Curiosity and creativity tossed me down a rabbit hole like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure novel that led to the perfect obsession for me.