As a media consultant the past five years, Mary Ann Kirby knows the ins-and-outs of maneuvering through the media in a way that cashes in for her clients.
However, “media consultant” is a title Mary Ann accidentally stumbled upon while in a season of searching for her next step.
Having to step away from two prior jobs -- Clear Channel Radio advertising and managing VIP Magazine -- due to downsizing, she was in search of her identity.
“Leaving the radio station, I found myself with the most random feeling of separation anxiety,” Mary Ann admits. “It was because I had worked my entire adult life, and 'I' was my job. I never felt like I had an identity beyond my job.”
Without a business card for the first time in 20 years, she lacked a title, and she lost that strong sense of identity.
In her quest to “fill the gap,” a title is exactly what Mary Ann gave herself. “Mary Ann Kirby -- Media Consultant” was inked on her business card. Laughing at her new work description, Mary Ann notes, “I actually became a media consultant!”
“People began calling me wanting help on writing radio campaigns and printing projects. All are things that I could do blindfolded because it’s all I had ever done. But now I was a ‘media consultant’.”
Under her new title, Mary Ann's most celebrated endeavor is collaborating with the CJ Stewart Foundation, a camp that teaches boys how to be men based on biblical principles.
“With the assistance of a couple of advertising agencies in Jackson, we have come up with a curriculum that would just blow people out of the water if they knew about it,” she explains. Mary Ann's passion for this Jackson-area camp is evident.
“The irony is that I have done something significant with my skills (that) thrills me to no end." It's a significant something that she has pulled off due to her storytelling talent.
Her storytelling abilities come into play in another role she assumes as consulting editor for Hometown Publishing.
Whether it be in the form of a radio commercial or an ad campaign, Mary Ann tells people’s stories in a way that convinces a target market.
“I am a storyteller,” she admits.
When her God-given gifts met her self-given title of “media consultant,” Mary Ann's identity found immense fresh purpose.
No doubt she is more than a media consultant. Mary Ann's life runs much deeper than a title alone.
Madeline Burdine is Mississippi Matters's college intern and a rising junior majoring in journalism at Mississippi State. Today is Madeline's last full day at Mississippi Matters and she'll be greatly missed, but you'll continue to read her work on this site! What a gifted young lady! We're proud of you Madeline. The Lord has great things ahead.