Tell us a little about your life before Porchlight.
I’ve covered a lot of territory. I spent over a decade in outdoor retail, working for REI, Patagonia and The Nantahala Outdoor Center. I worked as a pack-trip cook on a dude ranch, and I spent seven years working for The Nature Conservancy. It may sound random, but it’s all driven by a crazy love of adventure and a desire to make the world a better place.
What do you like best about working at Porchlight? What do you think makes a Porchlight different?
I love the earnest, hard-working attitude of Porchlight. There’s no ego here and no drama.
What do you think makes a great brand? Who do you think gets it right and why?
A great brand stands for something. It has depth and personality. Take Subaru, for example. Subarus are known for longevity, versatility and have become an emblem of the active outdoorsy lifestyle. If you think about Subaru as a person, an identity takes shape, and you see someone sensible, adventure seeking and free-spirited. If that sounds like a person you’d like or would trust, you might drive a Subaru.
Ever had a design crush? Do tell.
My design heart belongs to Saul Bass. That said, I’m continually impressed with the work of Jessica Hische. That girl’s got mad skills and sass.
What’s your go-to item in your garage or toolbox?
I have a lightweight mattock that I call my “lady-mattock.” I spend a lot of time in the yard with that thing. I have a heavy-handed approach when it comes to weeding.
How would you rate your DIY skills? Have any good stories to share?
I love home improvement. What I lack in skills, I make up for in determination.
I rehabbed a house in Decatur several years ago. It was an old house with an addition, and the wiring was nonsensical. I learned the hard way to use a voltage meter before rewiring. I ruined a good pair of pliers that day, but I lived to install the new light fixture.
In that same house, my now husband and I were rebuilding the bathroom after the walls crumbled. We were using paperless drywall, and I was wearing a tank top while carrying big sheets of these fiberglass-filled panels in and out of the bathroom. Afterwards, my arms were like pin cushions. It took two days and a whole lot of duct tape to get all the shards of fiberglass out of my skin.
Where do you go for inspiration?
I am a Pinterest junkie. I also believe in getting up from my desk and walking outside.
On any given workday, what’s your chosen audio app? What’s playing?
iTunes radio. I listen to NPR a lot.
When it comes to pop culture, are you into zombies, housewives or mad men?
I love zombies. They are the ultimate metaphor for good vs. evil. Think about it – for every horror movie villain that has come and gone, an army of zombies live on (no pun intended). Zombies are slow, clumsy and slobbery, but they keep on coming. So, if you’re a hysterical mess or otherwise oblivious to the drooling, foot-dragging thing behind you, a zombie may sneak up on you and chew off your arm. Let that be a lesson to you.
What’s the first concert you attended?
Prince’s Purple Rain. It opened with a lot of smoke, and Prince was in a bathtub. So cool.
Who’s your favorite band, artist or cultural figure?
Who’s your ideal client?
Steve Martin. Just kidding but not really. A great client sees design as a value-added business proposition and sees us as an ally, rather than an expense.
What’s your main strength in the workplace?
I bring levity and Kleenex. Also, I ask a lot of questions. I’m the one most likely to raise my hand in a meeting and say, “I don’t get it.” To me, all projects should have meaning, and it’s my job to reveal that meaning and give it significance.
Read Penny’s bio here.