One of the most beautiful by-products of being a business started on a college campus has been the immense support and mentorship we have received from members of our campus community. As many of you know, both of Kawami’s founders; Maria Clara and Marco, and me, Lindsay, Kawami’s Community Engagement Writer, are all students at North Central College. This month, our Story Worth Sharing will be another member of the North Central College community- Dr. Carly Drake, Assistant Professor of Marketing and dear friend of Kawami.
Carly is the embodiment of the type of educator one would wish for in an undergraduate setting. In only her second year on staff at North Central, she has impacted students inside and out of the classroom by providing holistic and hands-on learning experiences to empower students in their efforts to make an impact in their community. Kawami actually connected with Carly not as students, but as a client for one of her marketing class’s projects. Through our partnership, students of Professor Drake’s class worked with Kawami to help develop our own marketing strategy, a deeply impactful experience for us as young entrepreneurs who are still actively learning how to expand our own reach as a business. Not only does Professor Drake provide guidance for students on her class roster, but actively connects and empowers other students like us who are on their own journeys to change the world.
These practices are reflective of Carly’s teaching philosophy, which is that marketing has the power to change the world. The way Carly structures her classroom, the way she connects and empowers students outside of it, are all in effort to demonstrate to her students that they hold that power themselves.
Carly’s work as a researcher serves as an example of this power as well, as through her work she has and continues to explore how the way companies and organizations share and structure their stories has an active role in the way we shape our world.
One of Carly’s areas of focus is exploring the way that women relate to fitness advertising. Being an endurance runner for more than half her life, Carly experienced acutely the impact of the narrative fitness brands use to connect and communicate with the world. By exploring these effects on the experiences of women, Carly can demonstrate both marketing’s capability for positive impact, and its potential for negative effects. In another iteration of this exploration, Carly is exploring how students with mental illness experience and understand the college campus. She hopes to use her findings to help colleges - as well as marketers - design spaces that better support those using them. These projects have not come from simple curiosity for Carly. Having struggled with an eating disorder as a high school athlete, she connected with other women who run to hear their stories and the impact "ideal" athletic bodies, as well as marketing to athletes, has had on their experiences. Being an individual who faces anxiety and depression as well as being an individual who works on a college campus, Carly wanted to explore the ways she could make experiences better for others.
Carly’s story is about turning her own challenges into support for others, using the tools she is best at to support others who may be facing the challenges she has overcome. It is this spirit that inspired us most about Carly, and the quality we hope to empower within our own Kawami community.
We all hold a unique power within us to change the world. We wish for all of our Kawami family that you may recognize that power within you, and use it to create positive social change. We hope you also use your challenges as catalysts for making the world a better place.
Our deepest thanks go out to Carly for her support and guidance, we are proud to be inspired by you and the work you do every day.
If you are interested in following Carly’s story in real time, or learning more about her incredible journey, you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @runcarly Or visit her professional website: drcarlydrake.com