Hillaree Durso is the content extraordinaire (a.k.a. Content Director) for the Frances Roy team. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts, majoring in Public Relations.
She met Shantelle while interning at the Okaloosa County CVB during her last semester of college. We like to call this fate. Hillaree says, “I immediately knew I wanted to work for her in the future. I was in the middle of my internship and Shantelle was leaving the CVB to move on to another venture so I walked into her office and said, ‘I don’t know where you are going or what you are doing, but I know I want to work for you.’ Two years later I received a phone call that she was starting her own agency, and I became her first employee hired onto the FRA team. I’ve never looked back.”
To create unique and compelling content for our clients, Hillaree gains inspiration from a variety of sources. She says, “I listen to podcasts, read books and stay up to date with brands that do content well (Nike, Chipotle, Create & Cultivate just to name a few), and I also watch what is trending and anticipate what may be coming down the pipeline in the future.”
On the biggest challenge in her role, she says, “What many may not realize is that it takes a deep understanding of each client’s brand, tone of voice and tons of research on the back end, which then results to what the consumer reads in a magazine and/or sees across social platforms.”
Her favorite project that she has worked on so far is the Navarre Beach photoshoot. She says, “From start to finish, this project pushed me professionally in a great way. I was able to lead our FRA team as well as every talented person involved in making sure it was a successful outcome for Navarre Beach and Santa Rosa County Tourism. I felt creatively in my element, able to produce visually what our client expressed they wanted. There are many more projects that I have loved working on, but this is at the top of the list for sure!”
We know creating fresh content day after day can be difficult, but have no fear! Hillaree has so graciously provided advice on how to avoid the creative wall. “Collaborate. Ask questions and get feedback from your peers to get ideas flowing. If you are not able to collaborate with an entire team, collaborate with a mentor, friend or even a family member. You never know what someone with a different perspective will bring to the table. If you have a job where you are able to work in different locations, I would suggest getting out of the office. Allow yourself a day to work from a coffee shop or from the beach. A change of scenery can do wonders for someone that may be in a rut creatively.”
She says, “This position has pushed me outside my comfort zone, which has led to personal growth as well. However, my absolute favorite part about my position is being able to lead and help others on our team grow to their highest potential. I love that the FRA team cheers one another on and encourages you to express your creativity. I think working with a team you trust and feel comfortable to communicate with is important as well. At the photoshoot I mentioned above, the photographer made a comment that stuck with me. She said, ‘You and Shantelle work really great together, it is like you know what the other needs before the other knows they need it. It is great to be around a team that works like that.’ To me that is a testament to working a long side team members you trust, which, in turn, you end up producing the best work possible for your client.”
We have to agree that at the foundation of what we do at Frances Roy, synergy and collaboration are key!
To close, Hillaree leaves us with one of her favorite quotes from Simon Sinek: “Life changes for the better when we realize we don’t have to know everything and we don’t have to pretend that we do.” She adds, “So lead with a positive attitude, listen, take notes, collaborate and believe in yourself. This type of mindset will open new doors and opportunities you never thought were possible.”
Thanks for taking time to share, Hillaree! We love your passion, drive and dedication to our amazing clients.