Friends, today I get to introduce you to one of the most talented people I know - Kristine. We haven't known each other very long, but she has been an encourager, inspiration and one of our family's biggest cheerleaders. When we met, I was swollen and ready to pop with the #babydrakes. She was freshly back in the country after a couple of years working abroad. We immediately clicked.
As you will read below, her approach to life, friendship and work is just a natural extension of who she is. Want to take twin babies on a road trip to DC? Kristine is your girl. (No really. She did this for me so I could get out of the house- despite the pure chaos it was lugging a double stroller around DC and the hours upon hours of fussy babies in the car...sorry about that.)
She sees beauty in everyone. She loves with her whole heart. She brings a project alive. Kristine puts up with my feminist soap box tirades when I need a moment. She road trips across the entire country to help one of her dearest friends move to a new city. And she is brilliant. And smart. And a gifted storyteller. Every time we get to partner together on a project I literally become giddy because I am so excited to learn from her, to see how she can take the ordinary and make it pop. I'll stop now because her responses speak for themselves. Meet Kristine.
Name: Kristine Wager
Location: Raleigh, NC
Occupation: Media Consultant [Editor's Note: And Founder, CEO, Boss Lady, Owner Extraordinaire of KW Media.]
You are a visual storyteller, what inspires you to tell people's stories? Remember the last time you saw something that just stuck with you – so much so that you immediately told your girlfriend, husband, coworker, or whoever was nearby, wanting them to notice and be impacted as you were? Well, I love that feeling; I’m addicted to it. For some reason I’m good at absorbing information and translating it through images, illustrations and stylized documentation to an audience in a way that communicates not only information, but also feelings. You know those people that are 100% brain? Yeah, that’s not me. I’m 100% heart: I don’t learn information: I feel it. [Editor's Note: Kristine is legit. She can communicate visually in a way that is so powerful and yet full of compassion and emotion and empathy.]
How do you cultivate your vision that creates impactful designs for clients? Getting to know clients is a huge part of my process. As I learn about who they are and the story they have to tell, a manifestation forms in my mind: an organization’s history, mission and impact – it all has shape and tone and color. I can’t explain that very well, but it’s something that happens when I learn: the wrinkles formed in my brain are illustrated. I’ve always been a visual learner, but I’ve come to know myself as a visual feeler as well. I don’t just hear words and absorb a narrative, I SEE it in my mind: I read an excel spreadsheet of data and I automatically create a narrative that becomes an illustration unfolding on a screen; I read a technical report from an engineer, and I see faces crowded around a well and smell the dirt where it was drilled and hear children playing as they pump jerry cans full of life. I put that into a design or infographic or document layout so that, hopefully, the audience can feel what I feel, see what I see, and they become part of the story, just like I did. [Editor's Note: Girl, your prose is beautiful! Just the way you answer one simple question brings it to life!]
You've had the courage to travel the world, dive head first into new experiences and say yes to the next thing around the corner. Where does that drive come from, and what would you say to someone who is afraid to embrace the unknown? I recently came across a quote that rang so true it’s echoed ever since: “If you want a life that you’ve never had, you have to be willing to do things you’ve never done.” Change is scary, period. Making decisions is the worst. I never wanted to be anyone’s boss, much less my own. One day I found myself with a lot of shattered plans and one open door. So, to save myself from bleeding out on those broken pieces of hope, I walked through the door: and here I am. The hardest decision – at least for me – was choosing hope over fear: not once, but a thousand times over. I have never been more proud of who I am and what I have accomplished than at this moment in my life, and I NEVER would have gotten here without those broken dreams, the fear that still grips at times, and the bold, bright, smells-like-warm-laundry hope that the unknown future is beautiful and waiting ... just behind the next scary decision. My advice? Choose hope. [Editor's Story: I love your story, I have tears just thinking about all the courageous steps you have taken my friend.]
You are an amazing friend to everyone that crosses your path and the value you place on friendships is authentic and real. Where did you learn to love so well? Ha! If that’s true, I think it’s because I love stories. Every person IS a story. Regardless of whether I do it well, I think they key to loving people is knowing who you are and how to give yourself away so that the giving adds to the value of the person who is receiving. I have AMAZING friendships and folks who pour into me so selflessly; my clumsy pouring into others is really just attempting what I’ve seen done to me. I’m so often reminded how difficult I am to love – how difficult we all are to love, and how much we are desperate for the kindness of others. Kindness is so important: it is the thing that I value above everything else because I have felt the weight of its soothing balm when given freely. That kindness is rare, so why not create as much of it as we can?
What are you dreaming of these days? The beach: yesterday, today, forever and always.
What is your favorite thing to snack on? I’m a sucker for homemade popcorn. Forget a three-minute bag in the micro-dungeon; I’m talkin’ ‘bout coconut oil in a pot on the stove. Add some salt, yellow kernels, and a whoooooole lot of shakin’ and lovin’. Pour that goodness in a bowl and let the good vibes roll. [Editor's Note: How soon are you accepting house guests?]