By Cade Martin

As a kid, I spent many a dinner at a table surrounded by friends of my parents, an eclectic cast of characters — sculptors, writers, painters, creatives. That thread of creative community has remained in our offices, our teams and our collaborations. But that thread feels thinner in this moment.

So I asked, with the purpose of sharing, and of supporting and caring for this creative community in its current, uncertain reality. I asked what people are doing, how they are feeling, how they are sparking creativity. It feels important to share what we do, when we can’t do all our doing.

Reaching out first to some of the talented people I’ve had the good fortune to profile though the Capitol Communicator portrait series.  It’s my version of a virtual dinner table of sorts. Grab a chair and listen in to the conversation with Kelly O’Keefe, Head of the Creative Brand Management Track at the VCU Brandcenter and Co-Founder of Brand Federation.

Kelly OKeefe

Kelly, what, if anything, are you doing differently?

Like almost everyone, I’m working from home and spending a lot of time in Zoom meetings, but I’ve also changed my habits. I’m taking more mid-day walks to clear my head and breathe some fresh air. I’m calling relatives in other parts of the country more. And as a company, we’re meeting more often to make up for the coffee shop conversations we’ve been missing.

Are you staying creatively active?

The best thing about this time to reset is that I’m drawing more and writing more. That’s something I’ve had little time for with the demands of business and family. I’m thrilled to be putting pencil to paper to create. It helps take me out of the moment and allows me to rise above the chaos to reflect on what’s really important. 

How are you sparking yourself creatively?

I have a remarkable team of brilliant creative thinkers at the Brand Federation. When I need to spark my creativity we jump on a zoom meeting and do a virtual whiteboard session. Just connecting with others who smart and talented and who are going through the same things we are is a great way to drive new ideas. And we’re working on new services we’ll be launching when we this is all over. Because the day is coming when we’ll get the all clear and we’ll rush back into the coffee shops and restaurants and we’ll have that naive excitement that comes with starting over again. Creative people have always embraced new beginnings. Our greatest strength is that we don’t cling to old ways of doing things. So when people say, “everything’s going to change” I say, “hell yes!”

View Kelly’s original Capitol Communicator profile here.

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