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Morning Person of the Day: Tara Abbott

Meet Tara Abbott, recruitment and marketing manager for the South Carolina Clinical and Translational Research Institute at the Medical University of South Carolina’s and 20x CreativeMornings/Charleston attendee!

What is your first and/or most meaningful CreativeMornings experience?

My favorite CM to date would probably be the one on Language back in Jan 2016. The speaker was Maestro Ken Lam of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and he gave a presentation titled, “The Sound of Language.” As a former dancer, who still believes she communicates most authentically through movement/visually, I felt particularly inspired by and connected to this presentation that focused on the impact one can make with wordless messages. He also had a full and successful career as a lawyer when he realized a part of himself was still unfulfilled and found a way to get educated in the art of conducting. What a mind-blowing reminder that it’s never too late to follow a dream, even if you’ve already found what others would deem your “success.” I can still hear the final words of his presentation to this day: “You can never be totally ready for anything. But where there is a will and a passion…there is a way.”

Describe the work that you do and the impact you’re trying to make.

I work for the Medical University of South Carolina as their recruitment manager for their research resource center. In other words, I use my marketing and health communication background from college and grad school to help research investigators across the campus recruit volunteers for the studies they’re conducting. Being a former dancer, I love that I get the opportunity to use my creative side to develop and design messages that can improve the health and wellbeing of the community. I’ve always had a passion for science and healthcare, but I knew that I’d have to find a unique way to enter that field so that I’d still have a way of indulging in my artistic side. I think, in this career, I have found the best of both worlds! At the end of the day I want to help and heal others and if I can make people aware and excited about research opportunities that may do that, than I consider my work fulfilling and impactful.

What inspires your creativity?

The creativity and uniqueness of others. In my job, it is easy to get lost in the world of science, which can often be very black and white. While I enjoy that world, I try to spend most my time outside of work in what I like to call my “creative world.” I take dance class, go to gallery openings, spend a Wednesday night at the theater, attend a poetry reading, take a long walk on the nature paths behind my house, or enjoy a morning with the CreativeMornings crowd! I whole-heartedly believe that its exposing yourself to the creativity and expression of others that makes you a more well-rounded person and keeps you always thinking outside the box. The artistic side of your brain has to be exercised (especially in a a marketing and communications role), or your ideas and problem-solving skills will grow stale. There’s so much about others and the world around you to be inspired by. When you stop talking, and just observe, it’s crazy to see what will get the creative juices flowing!

What would you consider your superpower? Why and how do you use it for good?

Silliness. No doubt, my silliness is my superpower. As a performer, you cant be afraid to put yourself out there, even when that sometimes means making a fool of yourself. I hold this silliness dear for two reasons:

1) It makes me braver than I sometimes want to be. It gives me the strength to create and present the off-the-wall marketing proposal at work. It gives me the courage to go into communities and environments that like well outside my comfort zone, and gain the understanding and trust of others, which helps me design more effective and creative health messages.

2) It makes people smile. I don’t think there’s anything more important. I volunteer with an incredible organization, Courageous Kidz, which is a safe haven for children with cancer. Despite having so many medical needs, at the end of the day, they just want to laugh. They just want to be kids. If dressing up in silly costumes with them, starting a line dance in the middle of a parking lot, or making a fool of myself trying to ride a mechanical bull brings a smile to even just one of their faces, it is worth it. In that context, there is no more important a superpower.

Tell me something about yourself that I can’t find on Google.

My fiancé and I recently adopted a dog that we named Bill Murray (we call him Murray). We live in Charleston and so the actor is a fairly regular presence in our community. We named him strategically so that those times we see the real Bill Murray, we can remind him that we are the ones who named our dog after him. :P

Blog image by Elizabeth Ervin.

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