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Life and Work with Stephanie M. Casey

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stephanie M. Casey.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Stephanie. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I currently own and operate a Dallas-based creative agency, Lovage Inc., which is headquartered in The Cedars, adjacent to downtown Dallas. My agency offers custom content marketing: website development & design, branding, creative collateral, and related marketing strategy. We are a WIX Agency Partner.

I’ve worked in major, indie, and new media on both coasts and in Texas for 25 years. Professional credits include advertising post-production, Bill Moyers Docs, HBO productions, major motion pictures with the likes of Garry Marshall and M. Night Shyamalan, nationally touring my own music, fashion and food blogging, Neiman Marcus creative online producer, production and creative direction of large events, photoshoots, and film, as well as writing for local and national publications. I have appeared on “Think with Krys Boyd,” the cover of the Motion Picture Editor’s Guild magazine, cooking shows, and had my music written up in numerous publications around the country. I also served on the Board of Directors of the Motion Picture Editor’s Guild as well as the board for InSync Exotics (a lion & tiger rescue).

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Has it been a smooth road? Well, I have definitely not taken a straight road, by any means, so I suppose no (hah!). I have certainly felt, as a woman, throughout my career that I must constantly justify my expertise or value. I worked in the film and television industry all through film school at NYU so had real jobs and four years of expertise by the time I was in my purple cap and gown. There are a handful of egregious cases of distrust or outright dismissal because of my gender or youth but I’d say it’s mostly the typical level of how women are viewed and treated – there is no automatic assurance or expectation on our part. We must prove and earn everything.

Times are definitely changing and I am so excited for the potential of a future where today’s little girls may grow up to be women who are not first viewed and treated an object then as a person, second. The #MeToo campaign has brought to light what women have always dealt with. This is wonderful progress. I can speak firsthand on the #MeToo situation of Hollywood and that it was just standard practice – a man’s business and world where they had all the power. Which not only led to control of women in regards to advancement, especially in front of the camera, but also meant all widely-distributed content was primarily created by men based on men’s ideals and such. How terrific that progressive studios such as Netflix have proven there is a robust and thriving audience for content with all-female lead characters, focus on other cultures, taking place in other parts of the world, varietal-casting, etc.

As far as advice goes – you only live once and, as Wayne Gretsky says, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Taking a traditional path or job is always available. If a person (of any gender!) has inclinations towards a non-status quo path or making their own path – explore it, try it, do it. When I left New York City for Hollywood to go work on feature films, a handful of people said to me – “we all want to work on movies, good luck (with sarcasm)” or “she’ll never make it there.” My attitude was, well – someone has to do those jobs, it might as well be me. All I have to do is find out who the go-to people are, get to them, and be brave. I had contacts from everyone I’d worked with in New York, pounded the pavement, and ended up working on Major Motion Pictures for seven years with notable directors and movie stars, buying a house in the Hollywood Hills overlooking Los Angeles all the way to the ocean, and you can even peep me as a princess in Princess Diaries 2 (I worked as a film editor but thought an onscreen appearance bit part would be fun – so there you go). That was all during my 20’s. Chase your dreams. Ask people who have done it how they did it. Research, read. Work your ass off. People like working with people who make their jobs easier, they don’t like working with people who make their jobs harder. Anything is possible.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Lovage Inc. – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Lovage is my first company and has evolved since its launch about three years ago. I’m a storyteller, like to “make things better,” and cultivate “everybody wins” scenarios. As our client base has evolved, the one commonality is that everyone always needs a new website. That is our front-line focus now and we exclusively build on the WIX platform for design flexibility (for us) and ease of use (for our clients). When we build a new site, our team dives into the company’s branding, story, offerings, competitors, and future goals to create a custom online experience and brand story. Most agencies still build on platforms such as WordPress but most find that platform a challenge to work on. I’m proud to be in the first wave offering this better professional website platform option. Many at agencies and in IT still look down their noses at WIX and by the time they catch up, we’ll have many years of deep experience and insider knowledge ahead of them (Lovage is also an Agency Partner with WIX so we have a direct line to their development teams).

As Lovage grows and changes, it is very important to me to maintain a healthy culture which means leading with kindness and a teaching/growth/nurturing mentality. This means no rigid office hours. It means no meanies in the mix. It means promoting a work/life balance. It means acknowledging great work and always giving credit where credit is due.

Often it feels as if the media, by and large, is only focused on the obstacles faced by women, but we feel it’s important to also look for the opportunities. In your view, are there opportunities that you see that women are particularly well-positioned for?
There is an ever-open opportunity to invent new products for women, to appeal to them (us!) from a woman’s perspective. Most women naturally lead, think, and create from a nurturing perspective so if a male-dominated industry or company is looking to attract female talent or customers – they should look to put women in leadership (and the wise ones are doing just that, more and more). A couple of successful and influential business leaders with advanced perspectives on this topic are Tom Peters and Sheryl Sandberg and anyone interested in this topic should dive into their books on this matter!

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Image Credit:
All photos by Lovage Inc. plus Cheddar Video Interview screenshots

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