December 12, 2016
An Interview with Communications Strategist Holly McCall
I've known of today's bitch for years, but we didn't meet and became friends until the 2015 Nashville Metro election. Holly came up to me at a fundraiser and said, "You're The Blonde Mule. I want to get to know you." to which I responded, "You're Holly McCall. I want to get to know YOU." We've been friends ever since.
Holly is the kind of person you want on your team. In addition to her kindness and warmth, she has a genuine curiosity about people and she's a born leader. Do you know the guts it took to run as a female Democrat in Williamson County this year? But that's the thing about Holly, she steps up and does what needs to be done, and she does the hell out of it. Meet today's bitch, Holly McCall!
What is your job title and where do you work?
I started my own strategic communications firm last year, Morrigan Strategies, but I also just completed running for the State House of Representatives -- which is much like running a small business.
When did you first learn about this field of work?
I don’t remember when I wasn’t aware of politics. My mother was appointed to fill a vacancy on the school board in our home town when I was ten, and was elected six times after that, so I became familiar with the process early on.
How did you know it was what you wanted to do?
I didn’t! I always knew I wanted to make a difference somehow, but only recently have I gotten so disgusted with the lack of meaningful work going on at the Legislature, I decided to stop complaining and do something.
What was your path that lead you to the job you have now?
It’s been a circuitous route, but everything I’ve done professionally - working in campaigns, as a non-profit fundraiser, and as a reporter - has prepared me for this. When I was young, I thought I might run for office. Then I changed my mind, but here I am, back where I started -- and it’s been great.
Favorite piece of advice, business or otherwise?
Don’t be so afraid of failure you don’t attempt new things.
Failure you learned from or that helped you improve the way you work?
When I was managing my first campaign at 27, I thought people expected me to know everything. As I’ve matured, I realize I would have been better off asking questions and not worrying about appearing insecure. Thus, I now ask questions constantly.
What would you do with 2 more hours a day?
Work out more and read more.
What is your greatest success (or something you’re most proud of) in your professional life?
My work as communications and community relations director on the Music City Center construction project. We had a great team of people who were united in the mission to get the job done on time, on budget, and with as much benefit to the community as we could enact.
What’s the first app or website you open when you wake up in the morning?
How do you decompress at the end of the work day?
I work out. Usually it’s running, but in the summer after knocking on doors for six hours a day, I swam. It’s better than therapy and serves like putting my brain through a washing machine. I truly do not understand what people who do not run do to feel as good as I do after running.
What’s the hardest thing about your job that isn’t obvious?
No one can be the candidate but me. No matter how supportive family or friends are, the pressure to be good natured in public, informed on issues, the pressure to raise money and pay staff, the negative things people think or say about you -- that all falls on the candidate. Every decision about the campaign ultimately comes back to me.
What is one thing everyone gets wrong about what you do?
That it’s glamorous. It’s not. Enjoyable, yes, but it’s nothing like campaigns on TV: you knock on a lot of doors, you get sweaty, and you do most of it yourself without a big staff of handlers.
Lastly, and most important, what is your favorite TV show and what is your favorite snack?
It’s not fun, I know, but I literally don’t have a favorite TV show. I can’t think of one! But I can mow down a bag of Hershey’s kisses.
All photos courtesy of Holly McCall
P.S. Meet last week's bitch: Stay-At-Home Mom, Shannon Miller!
P.P.S. Full list of My Bitches here.