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Take Five with Josh

It’s fascinating to me how professionals navigate their career paths, the twists and turns that lead them to a certain point from a starting place that might have something to do with their childhood hobbies. Greteman Group Senior Writer and Editor Josh Wood began his career in Journalism because of his love of story-telling and wordsmithing. So how did he get to where he is today? Josh was gracious enough to give me a few minutes of his time to spill the tea:

When in your life did you discover your passion for writing? What did you think you would end up doing with it?

Reading has been a huge passion of mine since I was a kid. Books, magazines, newspapers – I would devour everything. Once I found a new author I enjoyed, I would read their entire work. Or if I discovered a new subject matter, I’d try to find out as much about the history of it. For example, when I got into baseball at 8, I spent a lot of time at the library reading about everything from the 19th century to today’s game. Why was Willie Mays important? Or Lou Gehrig? I’d try to find out.

Then, as a kid, I’d spend a lot of time writing about what I’d learned. Some of it was in school, but a lot of time it was just something I enjoyed doing for my own education. In conveying the information, I wanted others to feel as excited about the subjects as I would be. Since I was such a history nerd, I thought I might apply that to teaching or in government, writing policies or position papers.

Before your time with Greteman Group you were a journalist. What was your favorite thing about that part of your career?

I loved the ever-changing aspect of what a “typical day” was. I started in sports, where every game’s outcome was unknowable and exciting for one reason or another. When I moved over to the traditional News side of the newspaper, each day was even more unpredictable. Sometimes the story of the day might be a big fire, or a business deal or even a local team winning a championship. As much as you planned for what might happen, it wasn’t set in stone.

As a writer, I enjoyed talking to people and telling their stories. As an editor, I found I really liked taking a lot of information and distilling it to the key points to make it more understandable. Why was this story important and what did the reader need to know about this subject? I treasured that process.

What was it like switching from a career in journalism to a career at a marketing agency? What prompted you to change your career path?

I was asked by a friend to consider marketing and as much as I enjoyed journalism, it was a good time to change careers and develop new skills. I discovered that there were a lot of similarities between the jobs: telling people’s stories, sharing information about ideas or products to new audiences, and of course, taking difficult concepts and putting them into layperson’s terms.

One aspect that remains completely the same for me is the desire to learn as much about a subject as possible. Working with new clients allows me to do the research I enjoy, and to find out what makes their brands tick, what makes their services unique and why their technology is truly impressive.

I’m also constantly in awe of my co-workers. There is so much creativity and dedication within our agency. Our team collaborates to find solutions and comes up with a direction that serves the client, first and foremost. I’m always proud of the work we produce.

What has been the most challenging part in your position as a copywriter, and how has that propelled you to be an even better writer?

I’ve joked before that the biggest difference between journalism and marketing is that now I use adjectives. Writing compelling descriptions and action-oriented words that make the audience want to try it. Sometimes writing more creatively is more challenging than writing in an unbiased, straightforward manner. But just because you have the freedom to write more verbosely doesn’t mean you should. Clear, concise copy is almost always more effective. One challenge? Getting the client to agree that less is more.

For individuals who are considering a career in copywriting, what advice would you like to share?

Embrace feedback and appreciate different perspectives. Everyone needs an editor. You might think your words have told the story, but until someone else reads them, you can’t know for sure. Take their input to heart and see how the final product can be improved.

When you’ve hit the mark, it’s impactful. There’s nothing quite like seeing your words on an ad campaign, in an article, or a website. No matter what the format, there will always be a need for good communication skills and writing well. Enjoy the process and learn from each project.

Ignite ICT Women’s Conference: A Recap

Last week, Wichita Business Journal hosted the Ignite ICT Women’s Conference at MarkArts, and it was indeed an event for the books.

Upon walking into the Ignite ICT venue, I was overcome by positivity and anticipation. The decor was swanky and dare I say, “highly-Instagrammable.” The attendees were all dressed to the nines, as if everyone had woken up that morning with the same memo to “dress classy.” The familiar faces of influential women from different realms of the Wichita business community filled the room. There was an overwhelming presence of empowerment and knowledge electrifying the scene. I knew it was going to be a phenomenal day, and I could not wait to take the stage for the social media panel later that morning and proudly represent Greteman Group.

The day began with an opening keynote from United WE President and CEO Wendy Doyle. Doyle spoke to the fact that Kansas women only consist of 8% of all CEO positions across the state. In light of how under-represented women are in leadership roles, she challenged Kansas women to be louder and to “establish their voices at the table.” To conclude her session, Doyle encouraged everyone in the room to stand up and give someone else in the room a shout out. This request ignited an outstanding response.

Jen Cole, Kacie Faye Edwards, Joan Rapp, and Annika Wooten sat on the social media panel at Ignite ICT Women's Conference.

The social media panel took the stage shortly after. I had the honor of sharing the stage with Kacie Faye Edwards of Steven Enterprises, Joan Rapp of The Specialist Group, and Annika Wooten of Lead for America. We conjured a powerful conversation around utilizing social media to advance one’s career. Topics of the discussion ranged from how to know what to share, how to know when to post, using LinkedIn to recruit and to find jobs, and even when to use TikTok and Instagram Reels. The theme of the discussion was to stay authentic, consistent, and deliberate with every post.

HR leaders from across the city commanded Ignite ICT participants to stay humble and focused in the workplace. Jennifer Blundon of Koch Industries, Kara Hunt of Delta Dental, Alana McNary, and Jessica Zacharias of Meritrust Credit Union echoed the messaging of the social media panel by reminding everyone to “be their authentic selves.” Additional tips suggested that career women need to surround themselves with people who will give honest feedback at all times, and to not be afraid to make a voice for themselves. Kara Hunt added that “Having someone fighting for you when you’re not in the room is extremely helpful.”

The day concluded with panelists Angela Green of Wichita Mom, Kaye Monk Morgan of Kansas Leadership Center, Rachel Thomas of Thomas Gray Interiors and Amy Williams of Spirit AeroSystems discussing “the new normal.” It was quickly noted that the ability for companies to function remotely has collectively become a “new normal” following the pandemic. Spirit AeroSystems was somewhat of an outlier to this point, but Williams admitted that even they have started recognizing more flexible scheduling. “Not everything works for everybody,” Williams added. Flexibility and growth opportunity were recognized as the two most-asked-for things by women in the workplace in 2022.