Name: Brenda Gray
Job Title and Description: Underwriting Marketing Manager. I reach out to businesses and organizations for support in exchange for on-air recognition through announcements and other sponsorships.
What did your journey to this job look like?
I have been in marketing and media in some form or other for over 25 years. Since moving to Western North Carolina I had been a freelancer working in graphic design, photography and feature writing for magazines. With a son going to college and being newly single, I decided to search for something full time and more stable. I applied for every marketing job I could find in the area. Nothing felt right — until I saw the listing for this position, and I thought, “That is my job.” Somehow, I just knew I would be here, and here I am!
Do you have a musician that is your favorite or that you think others should know about?
My favorite changes about every time I hear something new on WNCW, but I really, really love The Honeycutters. I have albums that I refer to as “crush” albums, because when I first get them, I can’t stop playing them. Both of The Honeycutters’ albums were like that for me. One band I think others should know about is Letters to Abigail. I am biased, as they are personal friends of mine, but they are an emerging
band in the area and just put out their first CD (for which I did the art), and I really enjoy introducing people to their music. They have a fiercely loyal fan base that is growing all the time. And I guess we couldn’t have a discussion about favorites without mentioning Patty Griffin. About 10 years ago, a musician working in the store where my son was taking guitar lessons introduced me to her and her music is what got me back into music and introduced me to Americana.
What makes working at WNCW special?
I have been a fan of WNCW since before I even moved to the area. My brother (in Atlanta!) introduced me to it online. When we decided to move the area, knowing that WNCW would be my local station mad me giddy! I became a member while still living in Columbia, SC. When they played Patty Griffin and The Clash in the same hour, I knew that this was not like any other station anywhere. Now, to be able to spend my career keep this great musical asset going, gives me great satisfaction.
What part of your career makes you feel the most inspired?
I think collaboration inspires me the most. That daily interaction with other bright and creative people was something I missed while working freelance.
Do you have any advice as a woman for a woman? What’s the best advice you’ve received from another woman?
You know, I really don’t think of myself as a woman this or a woman that, I just do what I do and I am who I am. I think that any woman that tries to act like a man to get ahead in business is selling herself short. The best advice that I received from a woman, was from the owner and founder of a retail company for which I was the marketing director for several years. She always encouraged women to feed their souls first, and everything else would follow. When she found out that I had an interest in writing, she encouraged me to explore that aspect of myself. She gave me books and recommended workshops to fuel that desire. She truly believed that opening up yourself to all that you are makes you more valuable in all that you do—your work included.
Interviews and Photos by Sarajane Case. Sarajane Case is a freelance photographer (specializing in portraits of women) and blogger: www.sarajaneblog.com and www.the20somethings.com. In her free time she enjoys writing or laughing over great coffee and good bourbon.