06.14.23 - Makeway Culture
Meet the Maker: Danielle Brooks
An interview with our Project Manager, Danielle Brooks
Role: Project Manager
Hometown: Worcester, MA
Family: Wife, Liz; dog, Scout; and cat, Francine
Hobbies: Gardening, Hiking, Travel, and Art
Danielle Brooks is proof that talented, organized people can thrive in any role.
From working as a middle school music teacher to managing a retail store, and now as a project manager for Makeway, Danielle has excelled with a knack for communication and an eye for detail.
We’re eager to introduce you to Danielle in this Q&A for our recurring Meet the Maker series. Her career journey is a great story in and of itself, and you’ll be fascinated by the 200-year-old farmhouse she calls home… but try to only ask her about spirits/ghosts/energy when she’s away from home and comfortable talking freely 😬👻
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How did you end up at Makeway?
It’s a winding path that involves several industries. I started out as a middle school music teacher and that’s what brought me to Worcester in the first place. I moved here not knowing anybody and just picked the closest city to where I was hired.
I loved teaching, but the situation wasn’t ideal. So I knew after five years that I needed a change; right around that time, I had an opportunity to transition into small business management. I had been working as a freelance illustrator with Worcester Wares, a gift shop centered on hometown pride, for a few years, and they were ready to expand and hire a store manager. I was there for several years and led the store through many changes; multiple locations, adding online shopping, pivoting to online only during the pandemic, and navigating reopening, all while keeping up with the fast-paced retail cycle. It was challenging and exciting for a while, but I reached a point where I felt ready to try something new and allow myself more opportunities for career growth.
And that’s when Makeway came into the picture. I’ve actually known our co-founder Josh Lowery for a long time, and have been following Makeway’s journey since its beginning. When I was ready for a job transition I looked at Makeway’s openings and realized the project manager job was a great fit for me. A lot of the skills I gained teaching and managing a retail store are very transferable to being able to manage people and projects, be organized, and create timelines. All those skills I had utilized in past jobs, just in a different style.
I’ve been at Makeway for a little over a year at this point and am loving it.
What do you like about working at Makeway?
I would say, on the whole, this is the healthiest work environment that I’ve ever been a part of. Everyone is really encouraging to each other, authentic to themselves, and it’s a really accepting and welcoming environment. Not only are the people great and encouraging in general, but Makeway as a company really does prioritize work-life balance. We are encouraged to take our lunch breaks and use our PTO time, and there’s a good feeling of trust. We are all trusted to do our jobs, which I feel is important, especially when you’re in a remote work environment.
Overall, it feels really healthy. That’s the best word for it.
What do you like about the project manager role?
One of the things I really like about the job is that there’s a lot of variety. Through project managing, I get to work with a number of different clients and different types of projects. Everything from Genome Medical, which is genomics counseling, to Guide Beauty, a makeup company. It’s just a really wide range, and the workflow is a nice balance of focused working time and meetings.
What are your favorite project management and collaboration tools?
It’s a lot to keep up with because there are so many spots for communication. But I think to be a successful project manager, attention to detail and organization is such a big thing. You just have to stay vigilant. Asana is the big one for project management; that’s where all of the tasks and timelines live.
But everyone has different working styles, which also makes things interesting. Asana works great for some people, but not for everybody. I enjoy working with different personality types and trying to analyze everyone’s best learning style and working style. That’s part of what I liked about being a teacher. I do really enjoy thinking about how best to support each individual person that I’m working with, so I handle people differently according to their styles that I have intuitively picked up on over time.
“I really enjoy thinking about how best to support each individual person that I’m working with, so I handle people differently according to their styles that I have intuitively picked up on over time.”
What do you do for fun?
We do a lot of gardening when the weather is nice. I really like spending time outside, so anything I can do to be outside, I want to do that. Sometimes when I’m working from home, I’ll sit outside for most of the day. We go for a lot of hikes and walks with the dog. I really love traveling, although right now we’re in a chapter of life where it’s very difficult to travel because we are caring for Liz’s grandfather. But that is definitely a big passion. I also really like art and music. I do some illustration on the side in both a freelance capacity and just for fun.
Can you tell us about the historic home you live in?
Liz is the sixth generation of her family to live here. Her grandfather has been here his whole life and he’s turning 96 later this year. It used to be a working dairy farm, so he was a milkman his whole life here in Worcester. There was only one owner prior to their family, which is crazy considering it was built around 1820. It’s a big old farmhouse and it’s on four acres of land, so as you can imagine it takes a ton of time to keep up with everything. We both really enjoy being here; Liz has lived here for ten years and I’ve been here for five. It’s a really special chapter of life.
We’re so fortunate to have Danielle and she’s made an indelible impact on Makeway in her first year.
Project managers are really the glue that holds the team together, ensuring designers, developers, copywriters, and all others are all on the same page—and we’re in good hands with Danielle at the helm!
Connect with Danielle on LinkedIn or if you’d like to learn more about joining our team, visit our careers page or email us at [email protected]