Moms Who Lead: Lauren McKechnie, Marketing Director at TCCU

Some of you have asked, so here is my own story!

 Tell us about your kids – ages, etc.

I am the mom to one son John Teddy, who is five years old. (And three dogs, who are about as much trouble as human children!)

Are you a native Wichitan/North Texan? If not, how did you come to be a member of our community?

I am originally from Sugar Land, TX (southwest Houston), and moved to Wichita Falls in 2012 after my husband accepted a position with the City Attorney’s office. I can tell you that before moving here, I could not have picked out Wichita Falls on a map, but have really come to love it here and embrace my “new” hometown of almost 10 years.

What do you do in your day job?

I am the Marketing Director for Texoma Community Credit Union. I am responsible for all our advertising promotions, commercials, special events, coordinating our giving to the community and philanthropic efforts, and of course social media, which includes editing the Texoma With Kids blog!

How did you get into that line of work?

I graduated from the University of Texas in Austin with a BS in Advertising, focusing on copywriting. I had Mad Men dreams of writing copy for ads for big brands. When I graduated in 2008, the recession had just begun and advertising jobs were hard to come by for fresh graduates, so I started working in a public relations internship at an advertising agency. I spent five years with the agency in various roles, before moving to Wichita Falls and accepting a position with the American Cancer Society as a Relay For Life Community Manager. After I had my son, I found the opening for Marketing Director at TCCU and jumped at the opportunity to go back into my degree field, and a position with more regular hours conducive to family life.

What sort of skills and traits are helpful to be successful in your job?

Creativity, flexibility, and extroversion (whether innate or learned) are all very important. I was an extremely shy child and young adult, but working in public relations – cold-calling reporters, speaking at events, even going on TV – really forced me to learn and grow. In a communications field you have to be able to do just that – communicate. And not always in your preferred method, (mine was ALWAYS written!) but in every way possible, to be effective.

When you discovered you were pregnant with your first child, were you concerned about how motherhood would affect your career or how you would cope with a demanding job and motherhood?

I became a parent at age 30, so I had the benefit of getting a little bit of work experience under my belt, which was extremely helpful when reevaluating what I wanted my career to look like.

Still, working in a marketing/event planning/communications field means you can have very irregular work hours. At the time I was pregnant, I was working for ACS and my job centered around working with volunteers, so it was anything but 9 to 5. I worried a lot about how a baby would fit into my nights-and-weekends work schedule.

When the position opened at TCCU, Teddy was just five weeks old. My husband was actually the one that found it, and when he shared it with me, I believe my exact words were “Are you insane?!?! Can’t we just focus on one project at a time!!!” and gesturing at the baby.

But then I tried to go to sleep that night and forget about it, and instead tossed and turned for hours, knowing just how perfect it was for me, and for our newly expanded family.

As much as I loved working with volunteers and the mission of ACS, I can say that taking the leap of faith and applying and ultimately accepting the position with TCCU was a total God thing, and exactly what I needed in my life.

TCCU is incredibly family-focused and works with me in so many scenarios. I still get to plan and work the special events I love, and the feeling that I am making a difference, but I also have more regular hours.

What’s a time you can specifically remember having to balance your career and being a parent? How did you handle it?

All of the above. Sometimes your old life doesn’t work with your new life, and that’s okay. Expecting to keep on as you always have after you’ve become a parent will just make you insane.

Neither I nor my husband has family nearby, and not having that support system is its own challenge. There are times I’ve brought my son to work events, there are times my husband and I have been like ships in the night, taking turns solo-parenting.

There are many times I’ve failed in all areas of my life, because “balance” is a lofty goal and we are all just trying to keep the plates spinning. I am fortunate to have an employer that understands the balancing act, and again, works with me to try and maintain that as much as possible.

What does your child think of your job? What do they think you do all day?

He thinks I am responsible for the ads that show between his YouTube videos (which I actually kind of am! I just don’t target his age group. 😉 ) He probably thinks I am a blight on society for interrupting his favorite YouTubers.

I read somewhere that advertisers/PR people and attorneys were two of the most hated professions. Good thing we married each other, right? Lol.

What’s one piece of advice you would give other parents?

I’m not sure there is any part of me that feels qualified to give advice on parenting. But I will say to try your best to dump the word “should” from your vocabulary – “I should be doing that. I should be enjoying this.” I find myself doing that a lot. But I’m doing just fine. You’re doing just fine. Our kids will all turn out just fine.

Would you encourage young girls to have the same career?

Absolutely. I have had so much FUN getting to do what I do. Every day is different, and I love that. In marketing and public relations you get to come up with lots of crazy ideas, and see what sticks. If you’re very lucky (like me), you’ll find an employer that is totally down to try these ideas, and that’s the thing I love most about my job.

What’s your self-care routine? What “hobbies” or me-time activities do you make time for that help you recharge?

I am a firm believer that there’s nothing a long soak in the tub and 3 or 4 episodes of your favorite 90s sitcom won’t fix.

But seriously, when I need to recharge my soul, what really makes a difference for me is my involvement in the Junior League of Wichita Falls. I’ve been a member for 8 years, and the women I’ve met inspire me, make me laugh, and stand alongside me when things are tough. Getting to volunteer and do something meaningful next to some of the most amazing people I know really lifts me up and gives me the motivation to keep going.

What advice would you give to a 10 or 20-year younger version of yourself?

Whew. Don’t be so shy! Everything you want is on the other side of fear. I wish I hadn’t wasted so much time struggling with that particular fear.

What do you do for fun with your kids in Texoma? What local activities/places are a crowd pleaser with your kids? Where would you recommend other parents take their kids for fun?

There are so many fun things to do in Texoma, but the truth is that my family and I are homebodies. Most weekends you’ll find us hanging out on the patio in our backyard, surrounded by our dogs, tossing a ball or swinging Teddy on his swing, and doing all sorts of home-improvement projects. When we want to really mix it up, we go to Urban Air – Teddy LOVES it there.

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