Interview and write up by Leslie Akin with Lake Oswego Graphics
You're making a big name for yourself in the Portland area with your social media skills and photography. Please tell us how you got into this work.
I've always loved taking photos, and people have been thrilled with what they see, enough to be buying them. In 2010 I found myself unemployed with no idea of what I wanted to do next. So I submitted a photo of lavender in a contest. I won first place and a Nikon D40 with a serious zoom lens and a tripod. Two months later, I entered another photography contest and won a laptop. Two months after that win, I entered yet another photography contest and won an Epson all-in-one printer. So it occurred to me that I should pursue my passion by making a business of photography, since all the pieces were falling into place. That's when McKee Social Media was born.
Who was your first client?
I have a friend who is part owner of a flower shop. Taking photographs of their shop, floral arrangements along with their interior decorating items, I decided to create a line of greeting cards just for them. They still sell very well. These folks asked me to help them with their social media pages, so I used these strong visuals as a way to keep this floral shop top of mind, and it's working. I told their story in a significant and powerful way, and I realized that that I could make this happen for other businesses.
Who are some of your clients?
Just to name a few, I work with a landscaper, vacation beach rentals, dry cleaner, insurance agent, caterer, churches, Chicks Connect, a natural healer, and a stop bullying website. I had three different showings of my photography at Starbucks locations and several other coffee shops. There is a need for beautiful photography to help people with their social media presence. It’s a visual world.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I'm being directed by a higher power, it's that simple. I meet with a client or potential client, and during the conversation I can visualize their story. It’s amazing!
Who are your heroes and why?
My dear friend, Chris Stine. She is a client, mentor, and accountability partner. She helps to keep me focused and grounded. And my twenty six year old son, Conner. He is genuine, caring and completely authentic. He brings out the good in me, and in turn he says he learned a lot of values from me. My mother in law is my biggest fan. Were very connected and she's so encouraging. Even though she lives in Virginia, it is as though she is right beside me pushing me to go further with each new client.
If you could wave a magic wand, what will in the world would you solve and why?
For women to become completely empowered and thrive.
Is there a book you have read that had a powerful influence on you?
Embrace Your Magnificence by Fabienne Fredrickson. She's teaching me how to be my most authentic self. In fact the Chick’s in Books group is reading it right now, with my suggestion.
What are the adjectives that describe you?
My husband says I'm totally intuitive, professional, determined, authentic, emotional, energetic, brilliant, caring, understanding, resourceful and of course creative.
How well do you work well under pressure?
When I am under pressure I find myself even more focused and determined to accomplish what is in front of me. Those are the days I definitely stay away from coffee! Being in a state of gratitude, remembering to breathe, taking time out to remember why I am doing this work, and how fortunate I am, keeps everything in perspective.
How do you determine or evaluate success?
I don't like to live in the past, so when I look back, it is to remind myself of how far I have come. My successes are measured by the positive feedback I get due to exceeding my clients expectations, showing how I value my talent and totally enjoy going that extra mile. I am a giver by nature.
What can you do that someone else can’t?
What I see through the camera lens is a gift. I love to get to know my clients, get a feel for who they are and what makes them passionate about their profession. My attention to detail and having the vision to hear a conversation, and see in advance what that could look like in photograph, gives me great pleasure. Whether it is a head shot or something to help share the word and value of their business, each one of my clients holds a special place in my world.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I plan on hiring assistants to help me with the behind the scenes part of my business; someone to do the books, schedule my days, while I am teaching workshops and educating others on the importance of a vibrant online presence, both with social media and websites all being enhanced through photography.
Cat woman. Because I love her costume and I know I would rock it!
What is one misconception people have about you?
People tend to assume that when you say you are a photographer, that I am a wedding photographer. I'm not, I'm a visionary.
How do you want to be remembered?
I want to be remembered for making a difference in this lifetime. I want to facilitate businesses with their social media presence, by capturing the essence of who they are, and even by surprising my clients in showing how they truly can demand recognition in a new light. To be known as compassionate and caring.
What have you gained personally from being a member of Chicks Connect?
In such a short time, these women have welcomed me in with open arms. I was afraid of women's groups until now. These women not only care about what you are doing in your business, but how we can help each other in other areas of our lives too.
What have you gained professionally from being a member of Chicks Connect?
I have already had four clients join my team and I only joined in November 2013. Several more are connecting and asking questions, which will undoubtedly lead to more.
Do you have any words of wisdom for other Chicks?
Always be true to yourself. Reaching out in a big way not only helps ourselves but we in turn help others. Be positive and expect great results no matter what you see in front of you.
McKee Social Media
Terri McKee 503 750-3867