We had the good fortune of connecting with Tracy Southers Parker, APR Owner of WordPlay PR & Marketing and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tracy Southers Parker, APR, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I don’t know if I chose a creative career or instead, it chose me. I believe everyone has a special gift and I’m fortunate to have discovered mine at a young age. It was during a creative writing class in junior high school that I realized I was very good at putting thoughts on paper and constructing stories. At that point, I knew writing would be part of my future. During high school, I relished writing term papers and compared assembling pieces of information like putting together a puzzle. Entering college, I had no hesitation declaring my major in journalism with a concentration in public relations, which allows me to write creatively and inspire people to action. After graduating, I held several corporate positions in marketing/PR and opened my own agency in 2008. I jokingly tell people I’m one of those rare individuals who has a career in my field of study. During the past 25+ years, writing has remained my greatest professional strength and although there have been twists and turns, it’s a path I’ve never left. I’m grateful to have always known what I wanted to do as some people never figure this out.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I opened WordPlay in 2008 and I’m extremely proud to still be rocking and rolling 12 years later! After working in corporate marketing/PR departments for 15 years, I was ready to take the leap, but not certain I was cut out to be an entrepreneur. It turns out I am! I’ve learned two important lessons along the way: 1. The importance of outsourcing tasks and delegating projects to others. The saying is true: If you want to grow, you must work ON the business and not IN the business. 2. Business is cyclical and when things slow down, don’t freak out! I’ve learned to use the time to work on my own marketing, a big project…or take a few days off. A milestone was becoming a certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) in 2015. This provided new business opportunities and access to female business owners throughout the country. Although I’ve been doing this a long time, every media hit earned for a client is just as exciting as the first one! Clients hire me not only for my rolodex, but also for my 28 years of experience, ability to see the big picture and not overlook the details. I’m very proud of the WordPlay team and grateful to have a diverse portfolio of local businesses and organizations to call clients.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would start in the city I live and work: Grapevine! We would spend a day (or two) on historic Main Street visiting the shops, wineries and restaurants. My favorites are Willhoite’s, Sloan & Williams and Esparza’s. A stop at the new Hotel Vin on Main Street would also be on the itinerary, along with a boat ride on Grapevine Lake and stroll through the botanical gardens. Next, we’d head to the train station in Grapevine and board the TEXRail to Cowtown! Lunch at Del Frisco’s Grille in Sundance Square and a peek inside beautiful Bass Hall before heading to the Kimbell Art Museum. A visit is not complete without going to the Fort Worth Stockyards to see all of the new developments, and of course, legendary Billy Bob’s. The last stop would be Southlake Town Square for retail therapy and a mambo taxi at Mi Cocina. Gotta have Tex-Mex and margaritas while you’re in Texas!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to give a shoutout to the three organizations I currently serve on the board of directors:
Metroport Meals on Wheels provides hot lunches to seniors via home delivery and senior centers in portions of Tarrant, Denton and Wise Counties. This organization is near and dear to my heart because my grandmother was a recipient of a similar program in another state.
Grapevine Colleyville Education Foundation does a tremendous amount of work behind the scenes to provide grants to teachers and scholarships to students within the Grapevine Colleyville ISD.
Me Squared Cancer Foundation was founded by my dear friend, Mimi Tran, while she herself was undergoing treatment for breast cancer. It’s mission is to help newly diagnosed adult cancer patients in Dallas-Fort Worth.