"Seeing through my rose-colored glasses, I see a future in which businesses bringing in interns, offering tours and job shadowing is the norm – an everyday part of being in business. In which high school interns return to that business and secure a summer job. In which students graduate high school prepared to go to work in an occupation of their choice, and take pride in that choice, or prepared to excel in college."
Nancy Lockwood leads by example. She has been involved in INNOVATE TK's mission from the beginning and has made sure The Lockwood Agency keeps its doors open to young people in our community. It's clear that she has personal investment in making sure students know they have options. And, she sees providing work-based learning as an "everyday part of the business."
We're excited to feature her as this month's ITK Champion. Enjoy!
You're the owner of The Lockwood Agency - how did the idea for your business come about?
I actually didn’t intend to own my own business but after the loss of my boss, the owner, in an auto accident, I was faced with stepping into an ownership role or see the agency close and have everyone unemployed. I was fortunate to inherit a stable of great clients and a solid reputation in the community.
What is something you’ve learned as a business owner that you think young aspiring entrepreneurs would benefit from?
Where do I begin answering that one?! Learn from others and never stop learning… it keeps us humble and our feet firmly planted on the ground. Know what you’re good at and don’t underestimate the value of your expertise. Give back through volunteer service. Not only is it good for your soul, it’s good for business.
What is your favorite part of your work?
On the business side, it is hugely gratifying to see a client’s goals met, whether it’s through great turnout for an event, positive media coverage, increased traffic to their web site or more engagement in social media with prospective customers. On the employer side, I am encouraged when I see staff members grow and gain confidence in their abilities. In my role as executive director of the Visalia Economic Development Corporation, I have the opportunity to play a part in bringing in new employers and supporting our existing employers with the end goal of jobs created and retained. It’s an exciting challenge.
Before entering the world of public relations and advertising, you were a professional journalist for eight years. What was that experience like and how do you use those skills in your current work?
I probably couldn’t have chosen a better launch pad for my career than a degree in journalism. The course work required was diverse – opening my eyes to areas of study I never would have considered – and the training taught me the value of an inquisitive nature. Asking questions, taking good notes, and writing an accurate article that captures the reader’s attention is critical to success in PR and media relations. I still write news releases in the “official” news writing style, but in this field I also get to enjoy creative writing for advertising and conversational writing for social media. What I didn’t experience as a journalist, that I can in the marketing world, is how much I enjoy working with graphic designers and finding the perfect blend of word and picture.
If you could meet anyone for lunch, who would it be and why?
My father. He’s been gone for 10 years now, and I’d like to hear his take on the world today, and enjoy his sense of humor again. I’d also want to learn more about his World War II experience, if he’d be willing to talk about it after the passage of time. Also in the running would be Jesus, Paul the Apostle and John Lennon. An odd mix, I know!
What is your vision for college and career readiness for our region? How do you see your role in it?
Seeing through my rose-colored glasses, I see a future in which businesses bringing in interns, offering tours and job shadowing is the norm – an everyday part of being in business. In which high school interns return to that business and secure a summer job. In which students graduate high school prepared to go to work in an occupation of their choice, and take pride in that choice, or prepared to excel in college. Whether it’s air conditioning repair, maintenance of high-tech robotics or brain surgery – our students will know the options and have a clear pathway and encouragers to get them there. My role is to be a link in the chain, providing information and contacts and lead by example. We have now had three students work with us, and each has been exemplary.