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Daily Inspiration: Meet Kara Ottinger

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kara Ottinger.

Hi Kara, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I attended a conference once where the speaker asked us to tell our “story” but said, “I don’t want the complete rundown of where you started and ended up today, I want something more profound… tell me about a turning point in your career journey.” So, that is where I will start today. My turning point was when I was working in a costume shop as an Assistant Manager. I loved that place, Rose Costumes in Denton, TX, I recommend a visit there any time you are in town. Much like Lucy in Disguise in Austin except even more magical if you can picture it. I started editing their website, taking studio and stage costume photography to showcase the store online, working on their advertisements and social media and I loved every minute of it. I still loved the customer service and creative freedom aspect of the job but loved the ability to be creative from working online even more. To create visual representations of things and bring them to life to get people interested in the store was exciting.

From there, I realized if I wanted to go somewhere else with this, I needed to branch out, so I did. I started marketing and web training, applying for jobs I didn’t think I would get with the little background I had in marketing but knew I had a passion for it. My B.F.A. with a focus in photography is from The University of North Texas and I always heard great things about working for the University. I knew once I walked out of my first interview for the Communication Studies department there that I found my people. I loved the feel of the bustling campus, working with the professors and students, the thirst for knowledge, all of it. When I realized I could help people find resources they needed and be creative in marketing it brought everything full circle for me. I could utilize my degree in ways I didn’t even think were possible. People joke about having an Arts degree and going nowhere with it, but if you truly love what you do… we as artists find a way to make it into anything we desire.

I am now a Sr. Web Developer at UNT for the Division of Student Affairs. I train students and staff how to edit websites and have creative freedom to design sites in a way that I can help students find the resources they need on campus. I have a passion for UX design and making it accessible for all while not compromising design. I still dabble in photography on the side with Family and Senior sessions from time to time, and I still have a love for fashion photography. Maybe one day, I’ll retire and be able to own my own studio with a costume/vintage shop downstairs. Somewhere close to the beach where I can sip margaritas and watch the waves roll in.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Everyone has ups and downs in any career path. I think one lesson I’ve learned is that knowing your worth is very important. When I interview with a job, I look at it as I am interviewing them as well. I want to enjoy the job, the atmosphere, the people I work with, and want my superiors to value their employees. It has taken me a while to find a place that has it all.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I think of myself as a “Creative”, to be adaptable, flexible, and dabble in it all! Professionally I am a Web Developer/Designer, Photographer, Graphic Designer, working in Advertising, Marketing & Social Media. I am currently focusing on UX design, analytics, and digital accessibility.

Can you talk to us a bit about happiness and what makes you happy?
My family, friends, and traveling make me the happiest. Some of my best memories are when they all combine. My husband and kids are the most important thing to me. Having friends who seem like family are invaluable. Traveling to any destination with family and friends, usually, a sunny beach is the best.

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