We had the good fortune of connecting with James Strawder and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi James, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
First, I want to say that Marketing is a creative career, 100%- many people hear Marketing and think of spreadsheets, boring emails, and meetings but it SO much more than that! While part of the job is those boring emails and meetings that make you look forward to 5:00, so you can pop open that bottle of wine that’s been eyeing you all day, it is definitely a creative career. Currently, I work as a Marketing Associate for a telecommunications company, but my company is a startup so my position encompasses so many different aspects of marketing. Growing up, I never really though marketing was going to be “my” thing, I really didn’t even know that marketing was a career choice, but I knew the arts were. I was surrounded by art- my grandmother played piano and taught dance, my mother played piano and sang, and me and my sisters were always doing some form of art whether that was dance, choir, painting, or drawing. In high school I found a love for acting, or more specifically musical theater, so I decided to pursue that in college. While in college, I also found a love for branding and social media, because in theater you are your own brand. Something that I never realized was how much marketing and theater crossover, but this is where I found my love and passion for marketing. I still pursued my degree in theater, but made my minor marketing so I could pursue the two things I loved. After graduation, even though I my degree is in Theater and Performance studies, I did not pursue a career in theater, I want with my minor because I could see myself doing this the rest of my life. No seriously, I have no plans to retire. I was fortunate enough that the day after graduation, I started working at my current job where I get to dabble in all forms of marketing: campaigns, graphic design, events, and yes, even the spreadsheets. Aside from my current position, I also freelance as a Social Media Strategist, because I sincerely believe Social Media is the key element for marketing in the modern world. I want into Marketing, or more specifically Social Media, because I want to see the people around me succeed. I have a passion in aiding small businesses, individuals, and upcoming brands so that they are successful.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Currently, I work in the Marketing Department for a telecommunications company where I mainly specialize in events, but also dabble in graphic design and marketing campaigns. My company is a startup, so I am lucky to get experience in multiple branches and forms of marketing- which is what I think sets my company apart from others. I get to wear multiple hats at work and that is why I love working where I do. I love challenges, hurdles, and anything else that can get thrown at me. The thing I love about those challenges and hurdles is that they aren’t easy- I don’t want an easy job, because that would not fulfill who I am as a creative/professional. I want hard work, I want to have to do research to solve a problem, I strive for more knowledge and education so that I can be the best at what I do. I wish I could say the road to success was an easy one, but unfortunately it isn’t and I had to learn some hard lessons along the path. Be careful who you surround yourself with- surround yourself with people you can trust, people that make you want to be better, people that will make you a better you. Make sure you always take care fo yourself first. Always be in tune with your emotions, practice self care, take some time off, MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF AND WHAT YOU LOVE. Something I want the world to know about me is that I’ll always strive to be the best at what I do and I’ll work day and night if it comes to that.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
You can ask my partner Edwin, I’m a planner, and I love a good itinerary. If someone has never visited Atlanta before, I would most definitely try to fit in as much as I can in the time that they are here. The area I love most, and hang out in the most is Old Fourth Ward. It’s very up and coming, but there is already so much to do there, like LadyBird for brunch or Krog Street Market for lunch. I also love this area, because it’s where I record my podcast (CULTS CULTS CULTS), and it’s the best place to take a stroll down the belt line. For any newcomer some restaurants/coffee shops I would recommend are Slutty Vegan, Dehlia’s Chicken Sausage, Dr. Bombay’s Underwater Tea Party, Chattahoochee Coffee Co, Full Commission, or Eats on Ponce. One thing I love about Atlanta, is that no matter where you go there is always something to do. Of course, the touristy things (Georgia Aquarium, Coca-Cola Factory, etc) are fun and if you’ve never been here you should definitely check them out. Right now, there is an immersive Van Gogh exhibition at Pullman Yard which is something you don’t normally get to experience. Take time to sight see in Atlanta as well! A lot of movies are filmed here so you can go check out places where movies have been filmed, like the Swan House at the Atlanta Historical Center, or the smaller, more unique places like Krog Street Tunnel or Dekalb Farmer’s Market.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I really wish I could decide on one person, place, or thing, but a plethora of people come to mind when I think about who I want to shoutout. First, is best friend, podcast cohost, my ride-or-die, Jade Pruett. She’s been my best friend since we were 4 years old, and she’s always pushed me forward and encouraged me in every aspect of life. I also owe my love of marketing to her, since she is the one that introduced me to the career. Without Jade, and our plethora of small business attempts, I wouldn’t be where I am now. I also owe part of my success to my partner, Edwin, who has helped me overcome the hurdles that are a part of graphic design and branding. He always pushes me to think harder about the professional decisions I make, and challenges my design eye. My sister, Kristy Tyus, because she is the epitome of an amazing older sister and gives the best advice whether that be career or personal life advice. My current supervisor, Michelle Bando, who is always supportive of her entire team and consistently challenges us to be better marketers. Speaking of the team I work with, shoutout to Andrew Mastracchio and Chris Pairan, for being the best marketing team I could ask for. We have an amazing chemistry as a team, we are always giving each other constructive criticism, and challenging each other in everything we do.

Website: jxjstrawder.com

Instagram: hotdamnitsjames

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/james-strawder-5013881a9/

Other: Instagram: @cultspodcast

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