By Monika Melsha
It was a true pleasure preparing to learn a little bit more about our panelist Greg Swan. @gregswan is SVP brand innovation and digital strategy at @webershandwick / @wsmpls as well as a music blogger at @perfectporridge. Take this quick journey with us now and plan to stay at Minnesota Blogger Conference™ from 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. for our Final Keynote – “The Future of Blogging.”
1. What has been the most rewarding aspect of your professional career thus far?
I’ve loved working with people from such diverse backgrounds, interests and passions. It’s also been a fantastic learning experience writing blogs for over a decade and getting the opportunity to work with bloggers on the marketing side. Most of all, I love working with brands and people who are excited for what’s next. We forget that blogs and social media are very young, and yet their impact to the business world and our everyday lifestyle has been significant. What has changed will change again, and I love that it’s my job to discern upcoming trends and put them into context.
2. Do you feel you’ve needed to make any adjustments to be more effective in various career roles over the years?
My life’s theme is “iteration.” Adaptation and being open to change are critical to staying on top of trends, working with different personalities and learning from others. It’s critical to remember there is always someone smarter, faster and better at things than you. The opportunity comes from seeking out those talents and knitting them together.
3. For which blog does the writing you do give you the most personal satisfaction?
I started a LiveJournal in 1999, interned at an alternative newspaper, graduated from Journalism school, founded an arts newspaper, started my music blog in 2004, wrote for (the now defunct) Minneapolis Metroblog, our company’s blog and manage a personal blog and Tumblr, too. Writing and storytelling are part of me, and I love how technology makes it possible to amplify this passion. As I’ve had kids and life has gotten more busy, I’m writing less but sharing more. I can’t pick a favorite. They are all necessary and if you took them all away, I think I would need to move to rural Idaho and change everything about my life. I would also grow a beard, I think.
4. When did your love of music take root? Do you play any instruments? Are there any instruments that you’ve always wanted to learn?
My mom was a music teacher growing up, and that side of my family is very musical. My sister and I inherited a large instrument collection 20 years ago, and I play many of them (terribly). Of note, I bought a didgeridoo off of Craigslist a few years ago and am still perfecting my style. If only the dogs would stop barking.
5. Thinking back on all the things that you have been recognized for, which are you most proud of?
Being named to PR Week’s 40 Under 40 was a great honor but only because it was actually a reflection of a team of colleagues who do awesome work and make doing the work an absolutely joy to tackle together. I’m less concerned about awards and accolades than doing amazing work with a team of passionate peers who share a common value system.
6. If you had to pick one thing to share about yourself that most people don’t know about you, what would you chose?
Horatio Jones was my 5th Great Grandfather. He was captured by the Seneca tribe in late 1700s, adopted by a Native American family, and later served as an interpreter and cultural liaison for the US government for treaties and archiving the tribe’s history. It seems storytelling, crossing cultural divides and a love of the outdoors runs deep in my family.
7. Do you have a bucket list of things to accomplish in your career before you retire? What are three things on that list?
I want to buy something with my cell phone from a vending machine in Tokyo. I want to check-in at the Oval Office on Foursquare. I want to do something so entirely unique and outrageous that it changes a paradigm.
8. Who is the musical performer that you would most enjoy meeting & sharing a discussion over a meal with?
I would love to eat sushi with Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and ask him deeply personal questions about art in 2014, the court of public opinion, the broken music industry, nation-building politicians, and being a father.
Monika is currently a RPS Marketing Services Program Manager for US Bank executing multi-channel Portfolio Marketing campaigns and has 20+ years marketing experience in Health Club Management, Loyalty Marketing Operations, Credit Card Marketing, Account Management and Vendor Management. Her personal blogs are melshaunplugged.tumblr.com & http://nightlightjourneys.blogspot.com/. She is pleased to be a contributor on this year’s Minnesota Blogger Conference™ planning team.