It’s time to get to know North Star!
Each month, we’ll introduce you to one of our awesome team members. Today, you’ll meet Maggie Grimason, our Editorial + Development Manager. Maggie came to North Star in December 2018, joining the team as a writer before being promoted to her current role. During her time with North Star, she’s worked with a wide variety of clients on everything from brand copy and strategy to grant research and blog posts.
A native of northwestern Indiana, Maggie has lived in Albuquerque since 2012, where she’s frequently out hiking one of the state’s fantastic trails and enjoying many other aspects of its culture, nature, and tranquility. She also serves as an editor and contributor to several arts and culture magazines in the area.
Q: What drew you to North Star?
Maggie: It’s so funny. I was looking for something that would offer me more flexibility in my work, but use a lot of the same skills that I had been developing for years. And I think what really spoke to me was the tone of the job posting, which really suited the way I liked to work, my lifestyle, and all of these things. I felt instantly not just that it would be a really good position for me and my professional skill set, but also that I would vibe with the management.
Q: What was your initial impression of Jessi and Marie?
Maggie: I adored them, mostly because we started talking about sci-fi. I don’t do it anymore, but for so many years I had facilitated a sci-fi reading club in Albuquerque. So immediately we started talking about how they met, their fantasy writing project, their shared love of Animorphs and stuff like that. So I pretty instantly felt like we had a lot of stuff in common and that it was just like, ‘oh, okay. There’s potential.’ We could be friends if we met in a bar or coffee shop.
Q: When did you realize that they were doing things right? Building a business that could be sustainable and profitable and could grow?
Maggie: Probably what really underlines that to me is the way they valued and communicated with me. I also see that in the way they communicate with clients, you know, and everybody else on the team. It made me think, ‘this is like a very human operation.’
I think people appreciate that. There’s a higher level of trust. You just know that if you need something, you can ask for it. And you know they have a strong value for the people they choose to work with. Which I think goes a really long way in terms of doing something right, and doing it well, and also doing it in a way that’s mutually respectful.
Q: During the course of your time with North Star, how has your role changed?
Maggie: I have slowly been able to take on more communications with clients directly, more editing as opposed to more writing, and the opportunity to do some research-oriented stuff, whether that’s for clients or behind-the-scenes at North Star in a way that directs some of the values of the company.
Q: And what have you learned about yourself through those changes?
Maggie: I feel like I definitely learned how to refine the way I manage my time, the way I manage my energy and my schedule, and also have the ability to say ‘no’ when I need to. It’s really nice to feel like you have the permission to do that, you know? And just greater confidence when it comes to interfacing with clients in lots of different fields, or even different parts of the world.
Q: Is there anything you’ve done at North Star that you hadn’t done before?
Maggie: A lot of sales copy was new to me. I have a ton of writing experience, but not necessarily in this field. So a lot of that stuff, especially when it comes to strategy, was new to me. And I’ve gotten the opportunity to learn it here.
Q: And what about the reverse — what skills do you feel like you’ve brought to the table that North Star didn’t previously have?
Maggie: I know that Jessi and Marie certainly have these skill sets, but working with some non-profits that we had. I think that’s something that maybe is a little bit out of the general sphere that I’ve been able to help with. Research is a strong suit of mine.
Q: Was there a certain project where you really felt you left your mark?
Maggie: Definitely, there’s been clients where I felt like I was given a lot of free reign. Like ‘oh, we need this kind of ongoing copy that directly goes out to everyone on our listserv.’ There’s been a lot of opportunity to really shape the voice of a company in that way, through storytelling and carefully choosing topics that I think are meaningful.
Also, my journalism experience has made it easy and comfortable for me to really talk to and connect with people. In my other lives, I always say when I’m interviewing people, I love to talk; I hate transcribing stuff, but I could talk to people all day. So I think that ability to go meet people where they are, learn their values, and find the most powerful voice that might be underneath some of the more brand-oriented language.
Q: What have you noticed about the threads that tend to tie North Star’s clients together?
Maggie: Maybe this seems obvious, but everyone that I’ve worked with at North Star is really kind, and there is a lot of heart behind their businesses. A lot of people have this vision of what a business owner is. Very profit-driven and stuff like that. Naturally, yes, people want to make a profit, but there is something that is much, much warmer, I think, about a lot of the clients that I’ve worked at North Star, that I really appreciate. You can tell that their values and the way they want to shape the world, the things they care about seeing happen in the world, are really at the heart of their business.
Q: What do you think has changed the most about North Star in your time here?
Maggie: Personally, it’s become a bigger part of my life. I’ve certainly prioritized this work as opposed to my other work. So that’s been huge. And I think something that’s really cool about the growth of North Star is that there are more opportunities to work on projects that I myself am moved by, because there is a breadth of clients and a lot of different writers and editors working. So you do have the opportunity to put yourself in areas that suit your skill sets and your interests. I think that’s a really important and cool thing.
Q: Where do you hope to see North Star go in the next few years?
Maggie: Something that I’ve missed is doing some of the work that happened in the past with non-profits. I would like to see that happen more. But beyond that, I think that the continued trajectory that the business is on has been really positive. Having more people on board that are like-minded, and the way we can all connect and figure out the best ways to collaborate is really meaningful.
Q: What do you like to do when you’re not working?
Maggie: I have my own personal writing projects that are always in different stages of completion or frustration or whatever. I have played music for a long time. I love to hike. I continue to work with a small nonprofit that works with birds of prey; that kind of interest in wildlife and the outdoors and ecology here in New Mexico is pretty big.
I’m in my craft room right now. There’s a sewing machine over here, I have my watercolors here. Stuff like that I’m really into. And then, you know, a continued love affair with my plants. I’ve been into plants way before plant decor was a big trend.
Get to Know Maggie: Rapid Fire Edition
If you were a bird of prey, you would be…
An American Kestrel. They’re North America’s smallest falcon. So they’re adorable, but scrappy. Super territorial and really agile and much fiercer than their size would let you know right off the bat.
Most memorable hike?
The first time I hiked La Luz, the highest point in the nearest mountain range, the Sandias.
Plant that started your plant obsession?
My mom got me a Monstera the first time she visited me in Albuquerque. It was pretty small then, and now it is massively large. Like in a 60 pound pot. It takes up a huge part of my bedroom; it’s hung from the ceiling and different parts. I even have a tattoo of that plant because it was so important to me.
Album you could listen to on repeat for 24 hours without getting sick of it?
Helado Negro. He’s a favorite of mine. He sings in English and Spanish. I’ve been studying Spanish for some years, and I could listen to his album Double Youth over and over again, because it’s not just really good music. It’s also great language practice.
Perfect dinner on a Friday night?
Vegan pizza and an IPA.
Learn more about the rest of the North Star team with our Get to Know North Star series. Up next: Lead Content Writer Josh Verlin.