Chelsey Dequaine, designCraft Advertising
IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Chelsey Dequaine, director of social media strategy, designCraft Advertising.
What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?
In the world of social media, I’m regularly challenged by its changes. There are constantly updates and new features across all social media channels, which don’t always benefit the small businesses or nonprofits we work with. Aside from trying, testing, and doing my research, I gain a lot of knowledge from the welcoming social media community in Madison. If you send any professional in Madison a message on any channel, odds are they get back to you with an answer — and quick. Same with me. I will help anyone who tweets me a question. I love that we have created a supportive, inclusive environment instead of one that feels cutthroat.
As for the most rewarding part of my job, it’s definitely the organizations and people we work with at designCraft. I love being able to share my knowledge and skills with small businesses and nonprofits — those who truly make our community thrive and who make Madison unique. I am a better person for having met and gotten to know the faces behind the brands we work with and represent. I love helping our clients tell their stories.
Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?
Optimism has played a huge role in the success of my career (most people could recognize me by my laugh). I find that optimism in Angela Davis of Madison Community Foundation and A Fund for Women. I look up to her as someone who sets goals, chases goals, and remembers to laugh. She brings such a beloved passion to everything she does, and that’s inspiring. Now more than ever we need more women to feel empowered, confident, and optimistic that they can make things happen. Angela Davis makes things happen in Madison.
What has been the high point of your career so far?
Aside from my position with designCraft, I also am a freelance writer for Isthmus and Madison Essentials. A high point in my career has to be when I interviewed the singer of All Them Witches for the Isthmus. My editor there is Catherine Capellaro, arts and cultures editor. (Just to emphasize, this band is my absolute favorite band in the world. I still need a good pinch when I look at the article that’s framed on my wall with a photo of me and the band.) Knowing the band was coming to the High Noon Saloon in March 2017, I emailed Cat to ask her if I could at the very least write an Isthmus Pick. By allowing me to do the interview and write a Q&A, it not only made me a better writer, but it was dream come true.
Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?
I had just graduated from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee with a bachelor’s in journalism and media studies. I was desperately seeking a reporter or writing job anywhere. I found one as a corporate journalist for a company called News Link in Lincoln, Neb. The advice I would give myself: Remain confident in your ability to rise up to this challenge of leaving home, your friends, and everything that makes you feel comfortable because it will pay off in your career. The skills I will learn will pave the way for new opportunities. The co-workers I will meet will become some of your best friends (and some of whom I will see this summer at a wedding in Omaha). The places I will travel will teach me about independence, confidence, passion, and strength. I might also tell myself to call my parents more because they are beautiful people who did a hell of a job in raising me.
What would you say are the best things about living and working in Dane County?
The people. I have traveled a lot in my career, and lived in Nebraska and Las Vegas. I was a bit nervous to move to Madison in 2014 because I had only ever been here for volleyball games in high school — I didn’t know much about the city despite growing up in Green Bay. The wonderful people have made Madison a city I call home and they have made me want to stay here. I also love the bike paths and the vibrant local culture. I love being able to stop by Ground Zero, Macha Tea Company, MadCity Music Exchange, or Hazel General Store, knowing these places can only be found in Madison. I love the beautiful lakes that surround the isthmus. Madison is the majestic unicorn of my fantasy world. There is just something so special about this city.
Do you have any secret talents or abilities that people would be surprised to discover?
I can spike a mean volleyball. I’ve played since I was 12, with some time off after high school. Since moving to Madison I really picked up playing again thanks to the fantastic summer leagues at the Come Back Inn and Dexter’s, and the weekly league at Madison Turners. I also was raised by a pack of horses. Okay, no, but I did begin riding horses when I was about five years old. I have my mom’s passion for animals to thank for that. I grew up on a small farm just north of Green Bay in Champion, Wis. Most of my life we had three to four horses. She still has the two Tennessee Walkers I grew up with at her home in Wausaukee. The first weekend of every October I can be found galloping my horse Stingray around Caroline, Wis., on a weekend-long horseback ride with my mom.
What are your guilty pleasures?
Merch. Swag. Whatever you want to call it. I know Yvette Jones, designCraft president, can agree with me on this one. If my closet could be filled with merch from breweries, companies, bands, or nonprofits, it would be. At least once a week I’m thinking about what else we could put our designCraft logo on. Doesn’t a designCraft flannel sound wonderful?
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