We can easily hear Marguerite (“Misty”) Estes repeating these words from Lots of Candles and Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen—“And so I say, and pray, and think again: To be continued. It’s another day, and I’m off and running. See you.”
Misty has had many titles at Hutchison school for girls over the past ten years, including Admissions Director and upper school English teacher. She is now the Advancement Director and manages all aspects of marketing and communications for the school. In recent months, Hutchison’s publications and Girl Smart advertising campaign have garnered 17 awards, including a prestigious Circle of Excellence Award from The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), one of the largest international associations of education institutions.
Anyone whose career path has been affected by the tidal wave of change during this digital age (which should describe most everyone!) can appreciate Misty’s achievements. Her survival technique is to approach each day with a fresh outlook and never hide from change. Welcome today’s FACE of Memphis, Misty Estes!
Have you always called Memphis “home”?
Yes. Except for a few years during college, I’ve always lived in Memphis.
When did you begin on the path towards a communications career?
From the time I was in high school, I knew that I wanted to do something that involved writing. I studied English and communications as an undergraduate and completed a couple of internships with PR and marketing firms. My first job out of college was with an advertising agency working in account services. I joined Hutchison in 2003, working first in admissions and then moving to communications and marketing three years ago.
Describe your family and how your job as a mom coordinates with your responsibilities at Hutchison.
My husband and I have a teenage son and daughter. We also have two spoiled dogs and a turtle. Like most moms—or really any parent—I’ve had to become pretty adept at multitasking and setting priorities. As my children have grown older and more independent, it’s become easier, but there are still days when I feel like all my husband and I do is keep lots of plates spinning. At work, too, we always have multiple projects going at the same time, so being able to multitask, meet deadlines and constantly reevaluate priorities is a necessity.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
The best part of my job is the opportunity to collaborate with so many great people— teachers, administrators, parents, students, and colleagues from other schools. Our communications team is a fantastic group, and I enjoy working with each one of them on all of our projects. As a writer, I especially love working on our publications. Fortunately, at Hutchison we have a great story to share with the community, and it really is a blessing to be able to come into work every day and find creative new ways to tell that story.
The communications field has been through a tidal wave of change over the past decade. What are three tips you can offer for making it through dramatic changes in life gracefully?
The communications field has changed dramatically over the past decade, particularly in terms of technology and social media, but we’ve also seen a tidal wave of changes across the board—in the economy, in the workplace and around the world. I’m not sure I’m an expert at sailing through life changes gracefully, but if I had to offer three tips, I guess I would say the following:
- Don’t hide from change; whether you like it or not, it’s a reality, and you have to embrace change if you want to stay relevant.
- Laugh often.
- Pray constantly.
What are three things you like about the digital age of media?
- Instant access to a wealth of information
- Ease of storing, sharing and sending data
- Social media
As a former English teacher, do you think online tools are causing us to lose sight of good grammar and writing skills? If so, how should we combat this to stay sharp in all areas?
When used correctly, online tools can be great resources for grammar and writing, but I do think it’s important to teach students to write well so that they become adults who can organize their thoughts and communicate effectively. It’s sad to encounter a sharp, smart person whose ideas are rendered useless because he or she can’t communicate well.
What unique projects, at home or at work, are you working on right now?
At work, we just launched our new website, and that was a monster of a project. Now that the web launch is behind us, I’m looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting to work on a few of our publications. At home I’m turning a spare bedroom into an office, but that project seems to be moving at a snail’s pace.
What must-have fashion item is in your closet (or on your mind) for spring/summer 2013? Do you have a favorite beauty product you can’t imagine not using?
I can’t wait to pull out my white jeans and start wearing them, and I’ve got my eye on a pair of turquoise and orange acrylic necklaces. My must-have beauty product is MAC foundation.
Do you have a specific mentor? How has that person influenced you?
I feel blessed that every boss I’ve had—from my first job to my current job—has served as a mentor to me and given me encouragement and opportunities to try new things.
Best advice you have ever received? Favorite quote?
The best advice I’ve received as a working mother is to let go of the idea that everything has to be perfect all of the time. The second best advice I received was to sign up to bring the paper products for my children’s class parties or school events because no one expects those things to be homemade!
Favorite quote: “Go to school and learn something that will stay with you. The strength of women’s hands isn’t worth anything, but what they’ve got in their heads will carry them as far as they need to go.” – Maybelle Mitchell, mother of Margaret Mitchell
How do you unwind/recharge your battery?
Mad Men, Downton Abbey, Pinterest and reading the latest mystery/thriller—and for me, running is a great stress reliever.
Favorite vacation or travel destination? If there’s one place in the world you’d suggest someone visit, where would that be?
My favorite vacation spot is the beach—any beach—but if I had to recommend one place to visit, it would have to be Paris.
Do you have a playlist of favorite music for a dinner party or for a workout that you can recommend?
My iTunes library is pretty eclectic, but my favorite playlist for running right now includes The Rolling Stones, Adele, and Zac Brown Band. I don’t think I’d play that music at a dinner party, though.
What books are you reading, or have you most enjoyed reading lately? Do you prefer a Kindle or e-book, or just good old-fashioned paper?
The best books I’ve read in recent months are The Secret Keeper (Kate Morton), Rules of Civility (Amor Towles), Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn) and 11/22/63 (Stephen King). I’m equally happy with a book, e-book or Kindle, but I do have to set limits with the Kindle or else I’d download books all day long.
What three lighthearted things could you not live without?
Thank you Misty! Learn more about the Hutchison School by visiting the website: www.hutchisonschool.org.
And thank you to Christen Jones, our talented photographer! See her portfolio at christenjones.com.