LIFE AS STORY
When people ask me what I do, there is always a slight pause. I understand that the answer does not define me yet I also know that others need to identify my role in the context in which we have met. The short answer is: I am a creative. Add writer, communicator, designer, producer, or thinker to that word and you have described me. At some level, on any given day.
The fact is everyday is a little different and each project has its own story. I like it like that. I believe in creative self-expression and find that each person, product or place brings its own essence to the table. I like that too. It adds diversity to all life and that leads to a fuller expression within our collective consciousness.
On a more personal level I am a believer - in the planet and its people. I believe that life is meant to be full and joyful, people are inherently good, and that every living thing simply matters. This makes me a bit of a humanitarian but more importantly it makes me human. I blend creativity with an empathetic base and prefer projects that can change conversations and people that are open to creating a new story.
In short, curiosity has been my driver and creativity my passion. My story illustrates this well.
JULIE STARKE: CREATIVE COMMUNICATION FOR THE GLOBAL GOOD
I have been in the creative industry for several decades. A graduate of Old Dominion University in my hometown area of Coastal Virginia, I studied Journalism, Public Speaking, Mass Communications and ended up with a degree in Interpersonal Communications. I've always loved texture and color - in both people and places - and thrive in the presence of words. Both visual and verbal.
I worked in the 'corporate world' for the first part of my career. After a decade, with two mortgage payments and one client, I took the leap to start The Starke Agency, a traditional ad agency with a focus on large community development and residential real estate. I won over a hundred awards (which seemed exciting at the time) that currently sit in boxes as I now struggle with how to recycle them all.
Somewhere along the way I began to get restless. Combine that with the philosophical differences I found with the work I was doing and you have a recipe for change. I spent some time in Manhattan mentoring under an established literary agent to put stories that provoked change into the world. A small hitch in the giddy-up with my agency forced me back and I reluctantly acquiesced.
After 15 years of traditional creative work, I traded in the day job for living on a boat in Florida. It was here that I deepened my love for writing and realized full time relaxation was not for me. I reemerged in the work world as a 'coach' for some of my former clients. I worked with them on their businesses from the inside-out and thrived working with employees and executives alike.
While creativity continued to lead the way in all aspects of my life, I found myself turning more and more to the written word. I had an inexplicable love for understanding complicated parts of human nature - my own included - and found myself with a bevy of knowledge geared toward personal wellbeing. It was put to good use as I continued to coach, design, write, blog and brand. Yet I needed more.
My creative wings ached to stretch so, on a sailing trip in the BVI, I conceptualized a creative collection of 'life wear' for children. I was inspired by stories of nature and knew that everything we needed to live a happy, healthy life was found in the natural world. I designed a line of clothes around that idea, named it Mauruuru after the Tahitian word for 'Thank You,' and BeDifferentbyNature.com was born.
This was a crossroads in my life. No longer was I content to simply 'work,' I needed meaning and I needed to bring about change in the world. That simple thought led me to write a letter to a scientist who was saving turtles on the Baha Peninsula. Inspired by TOMS Shoes, I wanted to share my profits with someone on the ground doing good work. Wallace 'J' Nichols seemed to be just that.
So I sent him a gift box filled with product for each member of his family and an offer to brainstorm about how we could work together (or he could simply accept the gift in gratitude for his work in the world). He wasted no time getting in touch and presented me with an idea (and an adorable picture of his daughter in Mauruuru). I wasted no time in telling him: sure, we can do that. No problem.
And that's how Mr. left brain, scientist-guy from the left coast connected with Ms. right brain, creative-gal from the right coast to create the Blue Marbles Project: a simple gesture of gratitude for taking care of our little blue planet. To date, over a half-million marbles have been shipped all over the world in support of our little blue planet. A viral movement that has no plans of stopping. Ever.
It didn't end there. This silo-busting scientist had another idea, one that took its original form as a conference and was eventually turned into the New York Times bestseller, Blue MInd. Together we have now hosted seven annual Blue Mind Summits (with the 8th on its way), established the summer promotion '100 Days of Blue,' and reconnected people to water across the globe with Blue MInd LIfe.
Simply put, the Blue MInd story is about our love of water. In all forms. In it's deeper sense it's about the cognitive, emotional, psychological, social and spiritual benefits of healthy waterways and oceans. That's what we promote, produce, and offer to any one on the planet - any time, anywhere. While J works diligently gathering research, solidifying relationships and networking in support
of our deeply personal, and often overlooked, relationship to water; I send him all over the world to tell the story - keynotes, workshops, lectures, panels. There are other members of the Blue MInd Collective that I work with as well so I now add producer and manager to my tool kit. This has taken the form of a speakers bureau and Starke + Company, Voices for Good is now the lead role in my story.
I tell this incredibly detailed narrative not to self-promote, although there really should be some of that in here, but to illustrate the ability to creatively orchestrate your own life and allow it to lead you where you need to go. Creative choice exists in all pockets - from deciding to take a left vs. a right to changing your career or your place of residence and in every decision in between.
Nothing is too small, too big or too insignificant. It's your life. Your story. My story has always been to make it the best story it can be. Both mine and yours. So, as you can see, we are only in the middle. The rest of my story has yet to unfold although each day I am reminded of my ability to zig + zag my way down the path. As always, I work for the good, keep it creative and know there are choices.
That is all I really know for sure. I will update my tale if it seems to be pertinent to the unfolding of my story. If you would like to work on yours, please reach out.
There are myriad ways we can connect but the important part is that we do. The rest will take on a rhythm of its own, of that you can be assured.