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Finding Work with a Purpose
May 14th, 2019
By Tess Cook

If you're unsure of the role that social media plays in your life, or ever wondered "what now?" you're not alone. 

Your online persona is more than just follower counts and Instagram filters. The brand that you develop for yourself, the community you build, and the content you interact with has the potential to connect you to causes and organizations you care deeply about. To explore this important topic, we sat down with Katy Laird of Black Sheep Agency whose professional life revolves around social change.

Black Sheep is well recognized in grass roots activism. Tell us about your career journey, and what led you to join the Black Sheep team.

Truth be told, I’ve been waiting a long time to connect my professional life with work that revolves around social change. My career has taken me through oil and gas benchmarking, digital marketing agency life and an exciting time in e-commerce with Global Custom Commerce and Home Depot corporate (truly incredible companies). But I always found myself happiest when working on CSR initiatives or volunteering for groups outside of the office that are focused on making life better in Houston.

I firmly believe that you can find opportunities to do good in any role at any company (or on the weekends with a nonprofit or through a church community), but I personally felt called to join a team that is totally immersed in helping to solve some of the most pressing issues that keep me up at night: the arts, voter engagement, education and women’s healthcare (to name a few). It’s gratifying to work in this space today, but I am deeply appreciative for the experiences that working in other industries provided me.

With my upcoming HYPE workshop, I’m excited to help others tap into their WHY and learn how they can contribute to what matters most to them, regardless of their own career trajectory.

Can you talk about your role at Black Sheep and what you’re doing on a day-to-day basis to bring about change in Houston?

I am an Account Director at Black Sheep, which means I work directly with our nonprofit, civic organization and social good oriented for-profit clients in building out strategy and creative campaigns. Everything we do centers around helping purpose-driven organizations uncover ways to activate humans around things that matter.

My most important daily role is that of a client vision champion and people connector, but I’m also a writer, a strategist, an obsessive email campaign tester, a teacher, a partner to our digital strategists, a fangirl of our designers and a dreamer of “what if’s”.  When you work with purpose, even the tiniest tasks can help facilitate great change.

Working in web and digital can be distracting. What are some of your best productivity tips? Any consistent rituals?

Ritual is a great word to use: habits with a purpose. In fact I blogged about that exact thing some time ago, it’s so difficult to instill habits without knowing your ‘why’.

The most significant productivity rituals in my life center around what I do before technology and social media are even an option in my day. Defining the three things I do before I touch my phone in the morning, scheduling time for vacant scrolling on social media (instead of using it as a default activity) and carving out protected deep work time with my cell phone ringer off and email shut down.

These are all simple in concept, but challenging in execution. I am also a huge Michael Hyatt fan and rely on his tools and advice to help architect days that maximize my hours and goals.

How has working in Houston set you up for success?

There is an openness about this town that extends into the professional side of Houston. My career has been dramatically shaped by leaders and collaborators who have consistently displayed their desire to teach, support others and improve the world around them. You just have to show up, be helpful, work hard and stay curious. I can’t think of a better environment to grow in.

Name three Houston places we might find you in your free time?

  • I love to eat and you’ll often find me at Pondicheri, Greenseed Vegan and El Tiempo.
  • I am passionate about the arts and am a proud Stages Theater subscriber and love to lose myself at MFAH and the Contemporary Craft Center. You might also find me seeking out murals from Daniel Anguilu or Wiley.
  • I live near a Bayou Greenway Trail and love to bike and walk on it, especially during wildflower season.

Join us for more tips on finding the 'why' in your personal brand at our upcoming workshop, Digital Life with a Purpose.

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