DIY. We all know what that means. Do It Yourself. It’s usually applied to home improvement projects. Like, “Why pay a professional to tile your bathroom when you can DIY.” Well, whether or not you can tile your bathroom as well as a tile layer is debatable, but there’s one thing that a number of people, at some point decide they just have to DIY – and that’s life. Especially work life.
You can stay in your job, doing what you do, and be perfectly happy. But if you’re not happy with the way things are, if you feel unfulfilled, and you wish you could change your current situation, well, you can make the leap and DIY.
Ronnie Anderson has a great job. He’s the Laboratory Technical Supervisor of Baton Rouge General, at the Ascension and Bluebonnet locations. But when his daughter asked him why there were no princesses who looked like her in the fairy tales he was reading to her, and Ronnie couldn’t find any anywhere, he picked up his pen and started writing.
To date Ronnie’s written six books of fairy tales, united by the mythical Anboran, a place where young readers can find a diverse collection of people, and princesses of color.
Taking DIY to a whole other level, Ronnie also founded the company Rogue Star Publishing, to publish his books.
Nenette Gray called herself “a legal drug dealer” for the 12 years she was in pharmaceutical sales. Then, when pharma decided to part ways with her, Nenette decided to turn lemons into lemonade, and created Lemonade Creative Marketing.
Lemonade does marketing for brands like Exxon Mobil, Blue Cross, Baton Rouge Community College, and many more. But you won’t see Nenette’s marketing ideas on billboards or TV. You find them on items like coasters, coffee mugs, phone cases, and thousands of other pieces of promotional material.
A company can go online and get a million keychains made with their logo on it, but that kind of DIY is a bit like being your own bathroom tiler. It’s not the same as having Nenette’s creative marketing team devise a campaign of inventive promotional items specifically for your company and your clients.
We’re all looking for inspiration. It’s why we gaze at the sunset, read fairytales, meditate, and dream about retiring. You can find inspiration in all those activities. But you can also be inspired by people. Everyday people.
Here in Baton Rouge we don’t have a culture of celebrity. So, you never know, the person shopping next to you at the store, or stuck in traffic in the car behind you, might have created a mythical kingdom for children. Or be creating inventive promotional marketing for one of the biggest oil companies in America.
They might be Ronnie Anderson or Nenette Gray. Ronnie and Nenette both grew up here, and live here, like the rest of us. But unlike most of us, their imagination, creativity, and courage to chart their own path is inspirational.
This episode of Out to Lunch is hosted by Olivia Stewart, CEO of Oxbow Rum Distillery. The show was recorded live over lunch at Mansurs on the Boulevard. Photos by Erik Otts.