The Morreale Journey
The Morreale Journey
July 30, 2018
THE MORREALE JOURNEY: Things Happen for a Reason
By: Kim Morreale McAuliffe
As we approach our firm’s 12-year anniversary in August, I found myself reflecting on words my dad often said: “no guts, no glory.” He used this mostly when talking about sports we played as kids but as an entrepreneur himself, I learned that this was his mantra. I started my business 12-years ago from my 900-square foot condo in the South Loop with a laptop, a vision and the confidence to believe it could actually work. I was oblivious as to what this all entailed. I had no clue how to get a business license, why annual reports were necessary or who to talk to about becoming incorporated. Heck, I didn’t even know these things existed. But I was single, without children, and had a strong and supportive network of family and friends. I figured if I was ever going to take the risk, accept the challenge and test my capabilities, this was the time.
When I started off, Morreale was a one-woman band. I found myself having to hustle for work in an extremely competitive industry. Even after building a client list and finding quality work, I had to figure out how to get it all done – by myself. I couldn’t afford to hire anyone full- or even part-time, so I found strategic partners that helped me get the job done. I wanted to grow my firm, but I wasn’t sure how. Now, nearly 12-years later, I can reflect on how I got here, fully understanding the challenges I faced and how I overcame them. Over the years I’ve had several people ask, “how on earth did you start on your own?” and “how did you know it was all going to work out?” The simple answer to those were; “instinct” and “I didn’t.”
The main pillar of any successful professional’s career is a strong network of support; if you’re fortunate enough to have a mentor, you’re golden. From the start, my family raised me to believe that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to. I was a competitive figure skater growing up and taught skating as an adult to pay my way through college. One of the skating parents worked for NBC-5 Chicago and helped me land an internship with Allison Rosati. This was a pivotal moment in my life. It started as an unpaid internship which led to my first job in “ripping scripts” for the morning show.
In my early days as a journalist, Ms. Rosati ignited my love of reporting news and telling the stories of everyday people. She talked through the challenges of balancing work and life and offered advice on how to excel in a profession that is uber-competitive and extremely demanding. I was also fortunate to have a longtime family friend who served as a state senator who introduced me to government service and the appreciation of the important work done in the public sector.
Another key reality of starting a business, is that sometimes, you just have to wing it! Of course, you need plans and a guiding purpose but being too rigid when building a business would have resulted in missed opportunities. Timing was also on my side; I could not do today what I did 12-years ago. Now that I have a family, I could not afford to take the risk. For me, it was the right opportunity at the right time. It’s having the confidence to take a chance and know that everything will be ok even if nothing goes according to plan. And sometimes, (oftentimes) the unplanned course is even better!
One of the greatest, wildcard surprises that stemmed from this non-traditional and unchartered career path was meeting my husband. Now, two beautiful kids later, I can reflect on this journey with full confidence that everything happens for a reason. Even though it was unpredictable, sometimes stressful and often times scary- life is good!
This time last year Morreale had a staff of only five. Today, the Morreale Team we’ve built is 12-strong and growing! As a female-owned business, one of the most amazing qualities of this rapidly expanding firm is that our staff remains 80% female and minority. Each addition to our team brings with them a unique perspective and skill set that makes Morreale the best in the business. With a fulltime Digital and Social Director and Creative Director we now offer clients a comprehensive approach to helping identify and deliver their communications goals. Our team isn’t just looking to check a box. We are creators, strategists, innovators and leaders. We look at each challenge as an opportunity to do things better and a chance to build on our already impressive work.
As Morreale Strategic Communications approaches its 12th year in operation and we settle into our new, 2,000 square foot office in Edison Park, I decided to start this blog. First, to highlight our growing team and showcase our skills and second, to offer our vision of what successful communications strategies look like. I hope you’ll continue to follow my, and our firm’s journey both through this blog and our continued work for our outstanding clients.