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Q&A with Calla Nelson

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Who inspires you?
I feel very fortunate to have amazing mentors in both my personal and professional life. I can’t choose just one person who inspires me, but those that have made a lasting impact aren’t afraid to set and go after ambitious goals, try new things and be okay with learning from failures or setbacks and approach every situation with integrity and compassion.

What was your first job?
My first official job – outside of babysitting – was as a legal assistant at a family law practice. I worked there for two years in high school drafting legal documents related to divorce proceedings. It was a great foundation for the world we live in today, as I could work whenever was convenient for my schedule and it forced me to learn how to get work done on my own time and within deadline.

Name two things you consider yourself to be really good at.
This question is extremely broad, so within the context of work the two biggest assets I bring to my clients are:

  1. Strategic vision: Gone with the rinse and repeat PR programs! I like to really understand my client’s business goals and help them create a customized program with an earned, owned and paid approach that speaks to their key audiences and moves them through the funnel from awareness to conversion.
  2. Story mining: I not only get to know my clients but also their industry. I am constantly reading headlines and articles to identify ways to insert my client into the conversation or find new angles that set them apart from their competitors.

What show are you watching on Netflix right now?
It always surprises people, but I don’t own a TV. While I can binge watch a show with the best of them, I am not currently watching a series. I am watching the Summer Olympics and excited for my University of Minnesota Gopher sports to be back in action this fall!

Where is your favorite place to travel?
Pompeii still tops my list of favorite places to travel – I loved exploring the ancient ruins, but I also think I could live in Barcelona – the culture, food and wine didn’t disappoint!

What are three things on your bucket list?

  1. Travel more around South America. I specifically want to hike Patagonia and climb Machu Picchu.
  2. Visit Africa. Kilimanjaro and a safari sound like fun!
  3. Run a marathon. I feel like as a distance runner, I need to check this off the list at some point and it will probably make the regular 15 mile runs that I log have more purpose!

What recent successes are you most proud of and why?
Like everyone else, this last year and a half provided me a lot of extra time to try new things. Professionally, I was excited to grow my skillset with website copy, design and development. During COVID, I helped two friends with their websites from start to finish for their new businesses which have taken off with great success!

Personally, I also completed my first triathlon. I had no experience open water swimming prior to COVID and spent many hours in the pool and bay training to prepare. I find that we don’t often step out of our comfort zone or pick up new skills as an adult, so taking this on was a really rewarding and humbling experience.

What do you love most about Beyond Fifteen?
Beyond Fifteen really taps into the strengths of each team member and supports us in areas we want to grow.