Los Angeles - Digital Content & Brand Strategist, Founder
Eva is a masterful thinker and doer. Since moving to Los Angeles, she’s built two creative companies, a digital strategy practice and an edifying project devoted to strengthening the social fabric of her community. I wasn’t surprised to learn that her first words were “Hi” and “Why” – people and all things unfamiliar genuinely energize Eva. From going against the grain to learning to be patient because life’s just too magnificent to rush, there’s a lot to take away from Eva’s Somewhere. However, there’s one thing that really struck me. Plans can cage us as much as they can liberate us. The best plans are the ones that leave room for interpretation and encourage exploration. Life is dynamic. Don’t plan on everything going to plan. Welcome what unfolds.
- Let’s get there.
TSP: Can you please share a little bit about your past? Where you’ve been? What you’ve done?
EG: It all began in Northern New Mexico as the daughter of a hippie writer father and an artist mother. In fact, you know that feminist bookstore in Portlandia? Well, my childhood memories are at Salt of the Earth Bookstore in Albuquerque where everyone raised their kids on tofu and turquoise, and painted eyebrows on for the yearly Frida Kahlo show. True story.
Cut to about 1990 when my mom remarried and we moved to Sacramento to live on a charming street as a nuclear family of four—my brother was born by then. It was Pleasant(ville) enough, but I ditched suburbia at first chance for New York City to study advertising, live in a shoebox, and earn my stripes on Madison Avenue. Two years later, I resolved to never live in the cold again and I bounded back West to live in Sacramento for five years and work as a legislative aide (unplanned detour). But once you've left the pace of New York, you always miss it. So I moved to Los Angeles as a happy medium and have been here for 6 ½ years working as a digital brand strategist. I've never looked back.
TSP: What did you take away from each setting?
EG: In New York, I realized that having a sense of place and a community comes from relationships. For many, college is about being a part of something—a campus with a thriving sense of school pride and football or something. But FIT wasn’t traditional. We were connected through our gumption and feelings of being marooned orphans in the big city learning how to survive. In Sacramento, I learned patience. Being a part of a large, slow-moving system like the political world makes you appreciate the process. And in Los Angeles, I’ve learned to be nimble and creative and to always expect change.
TSP: What are you up to now?
EG: When I moved to LA, I shelved politics (an unfinished chapter I sometimes think) and started working in social media, marketing, and digital content for companies and clients including The NRDC, Adidas, Josie Maran Cosmetics, and most recently, Everlane. In September, I left the 9-5 (or 7:30 as it were in the startup world) and started working for myself by taking on clients to work on branding and web projects. I also co-founded a blogger collective called A\Part Together and recently founded ILOVECREATIVES, a weekly digital classified for creatives, with my friend Jennifer Puno, the founder of MAP.
Out of what was once my blog, I created The Boffin Society, which is a website inspired by history, culture, and the sciences that convenes “the clever and convivial to incite conversation, inspire exploration, and engage in idea sharing in a simple way.”
TSP: The Boffin Society sounds awesome. How can one join or take part in it?
EG: Very simple. Go to The Boffin Society and join. All are welcome, but I really encourage attendance and participation—i.e. Don’t just get yourself on another email list.
TSP: Is there a tension, for you, between pursuing what you’re drawn to and pursuing a more linear career path?
EG: This is an interesting question. Because digital content and social media are relatively new, there is no generation before me to pave the way, here, so I don’t know what the typical trajectory looks like. But I suspect even if there were a clearly laid out path set before me, I’d probably be trying to turn it into Chutes and Ladders anyway.
TSP: Can you expand on that a little more for us?
EG: Well, ever since I was little, I’ve done things my own way—often resulting in a few shaking heads. While my friends shipped off after high school graduation, I chose the gap year route and moved to New York when I turned 19. When I decided to get married, Ian and I took only one month to plan for the wedding, and we held an unconventional affair of sorts, complete with a ceremony in a public park, a dinner for twenty at The Little Door and a cocktail party at our house for a hundred or so people, even though it was a bungalow of a home. Sure, I believe in planning and in etching out the steps for a life you want if they’re clear, but if you’re not certain? Explore. Change. Grow. So I guess my answer is no—there is not much tension.
TSP: Where do you hope to go next?
EG: Well, I would love to give you a compelling answer that my hope is to one day be a __________ and that I'm walking towards a big, blinking arrival sign. But the truth is, I don’t believe in arrival signs (which took some years to realize). I’ve found that when I look back at my already long career, there were moments I could’ve relished better and times when I had accomplished so much but was unaware of what it looked like from the outside. I’m a fixer, a tinkerer, and a natural editor so I tend to point out what could be improved. On one hand, it’s my strongest talent, but it also has kept me from recognizing that. . . oh yeah, I’ve arrived—a few times. So, where I am destined for next is still TBD, but I’m going to enjoy the process. What I do know is that each day can present a detour, a serendipitous finding, a newfound creative challenge or meeting of a person who shifts everything and that it’s best to have both patience and an awareness of the present.
** Meanwhile, that hippie father that declared he'd never leave the Southwest? He's now a writer and a tour guide in Japan at almost 70 years old. Surprise endings (or beginnings) do happen.
TSP: Would you say your openness to what’s ahead is inherent or learned?
EG: Both. My life has been filled with a wide cast of characters who have planned nothing and everything with a range of results and many paths to happiness. Much of my acceptance of change is surely learned from these examples, but I would say that inherently I have always been open to what’s ahead. My first words were “hi” and “why”.
TSP: How do you plan to step towards those goals?
EG: Being that my goals are to continue learning and to create happy connectivity, I'm going to continue to say hello to strangers, take on any endeavors that come my way, and grow and help the communities I participate in prosper—whether it’s professionally, as a volunteer for animal rescues, or as the founder of The Boffin Society, A/Part Together and ILOVECREATIVES.
TSP: This may seem paradoxical, but how has your spirit of helping others prosper helped you prosper?
EG: Well, if you are helpful and kind and make friends wherever you go, then there will always be someone to visit, no?
TSP: As a person who loves the written word, do you have a favorite book in your bag?
EG: It sits nicely on the shelf, but I did recently pick up Mrs. Oliver Harriman’s Book of Etiquette from 1942 and do intend to read it. The first line reads, “All people with kindly instincts inherently have good manners.” Now, wouldn’t that be nice if that were true?
TSP: So Eva, how can we, the TSP community, help you get to where you want to go?
EG: Join The Boffin Society and come say hello. I look forward to meeting any and all who do!