studio (un)scripted. 5 questions with shawn draper.

SHAWN DRAPER, OWNER, DRAPER DNA (and the one who most definitely hung the moon)

The Studio is my happy place, where is yours? 

My happy place is my home. We designed and built our forever home two years ago after decades of moving, building, and remodeling. Our new home is filled with natural light, overlooking beautiful greenspaces. It is my happy place.

It’s been a fun year of interviewing and learning from people and professionals that I admire in a genuine and gracious fashion, but it’s no secret that you are the person I admire most. As a mentor to me and many others, what is a consistent piece of advice you give to those looking to advance in their communications career? 

Stand for something or you will fall for anything. It is important to know who you are, what is important to you, what you stand for, how you wish to be perceived in order to be the best marketer and communicator you can be. Your point of voice creates context which defines what is said and done in your work. Along these lines, please note it will take time to begin to define the answer to the question what do you stand for, so be open, curious, and honest with yourself. It will seem the answer is to reflect others, when in fact you have a place all to your own. Once you find and embrace where you stand, time will only make you richer, more interesting, and more certain.

As a tenured executive, take us back to the beginning — what is something you were taught early on that has stuck with you throughout your own professional journey and how has that impacted how you plan for success? 

The greatest piece of advice I have received in my life was shared with me by my dad. He said “Worry is wasted imagination.” He told me this while he was battling terminal cancer. There is a fine line between caring about your work and the people and businesses you are working with and worry. I tend to fall in love with them all, which is both a weakness and a strength. Thanks David Rendall for pointing this out. As a result, it can introduce you to worry which is a waste of time and energy. As you can attest to, I share this advice freely.

In this industry, things evolve every single day. From the onset of social media, to its immense growth, to navigating a pandemic, to remote working being the norm, to deciphering Chat GPT and AI… there’s always something new to keep up with and you do an exceptional job of that. What are your secrets? (You have to share them here, I’m your daughter!) 

I receive more than a dozen different SmartBriefs everyday with news briefs and articles on all different types of topics. I read them at the end of every day and share the ones that I find outstanding on the Draper DNA social media channels. Reading is an important way to gain information. Teaching (ie., sharing) is a great way to learn. Experimenting with a select few is exciting. Every summer I select one subject to deep dive into practical learning. This summer it was AI. I have used dozens of different AI platforms simply to learn what they can and can not do for me and my clients.

If you could ask me anything, what would it be?

When are we going to write my book?

For more advice, insights and thought leadership, give this guy a follow.

more trends. insights. thought leadership.