Anna Lee Koutz was a sports editor for three weekly newspapers when she graduated from college, but now she coordinates communications for one of Quincy's largest employers.
"I liked the corporate world and the creativity that comes with it," she said. "You do the same thing pretty much every day as a journalist. I went to games, wrote my story, took my pictures. It was the same thing everyday."
Koutz is now the corporate communications coordinator for Titan International.
"Communications gives me the chance to use my writing skills, but also my planning skills and my creativity more so than what journalism did," she said.
One of the favorite parts of her job is working locally.
"I love getting to meet with nonprofits," Koutz said. "I get to work with the donations that we make, so I meet a lot of great people, who are out there doing great things."
Family: The greatest family back in my home state, Michigan, and the greatest friends and church family a girl could ask for here in Quincy.
Education: Bachelor of science in communication arts, minor in psychology from Hannibal-LaGrange College (Alpha Chi Honor Society); bachelor of religious studies from Central Christian College of the Bible.
Community involvement: Member of The Crossing; Stage46 fifth/sixth-grade girls small group leader; Cornerstone: Foundations for Families Board of Directors; KHQA One Class at a Time Advisory Board; and Chamber of Commerce Women's Networking Group.
What is your job, what do you do and what do you like best about it? I'm the corporate communications coordinator for Titan International. I'm active in our public relations, marketing, advertising, event planning and many more tasks that I couldn't possibly list. That's what I like best. I'm never bored. And I work with a great team that helps me succeed at my job.
What is a typical workweek like? "Typical" isn't really the best adjective for my job. One week this past month I was suited up meeting with editors at a media summit in New York; the previous week I was on a farm for a video shoot. This week I'm creating product brochures and working on ad placements. "Typically" I'm doing something different every day.
What was your first job, and what do you remember about it? My first job was painting houses in the summer with my dad. It was physically demanding and my dad was a stickler for details. I remember hot, long days, hard work and the pride of earning my pay. But even more than that I remember great times alongside my dad and learning what it means to have a great work ethic. I won't lie though. I didn't hesitate to turn in my resignation when a job opened up as a teller at the air-conditioned bank. My dad also taught me the importance of seizing opportunities.
How do you balance everything? The honest answer would probably be I don't. But I'm learning! I have a lot of wonderful mentors that are helping me hone the craft. I schedule everything -- my time at work, my time with friends, my workouts. So in an effort for balance, I now schedule downtime for myself, too.
Which person has influenced you the most and why? My parents. They are amazing servants of God that give and give and give to their family, friends and community. They taught me what it means to work hard but love harder.
Have you ever failed at something? How did you recover? Yes, but crazy enough, I wish I could say I've failed more. Risk taking is not in my blood and more often than not, I made the safest choice out of a fear of failure rather than pushing myself. Our fear of failure often makes us miss out on great opportunities. If I could go back, I'd encourage that young woman just starting out to believe in herself, trust the process and give it a shot. I'd remind her that with failure comes growth and tell her that it isn't always about how you act but how you react. If you fail, react with grace; take a deep breath, shake it off and try again.
What does success mean to you? Positively impacting the lives around me.
What is your favorite stress buster/leisure time diversion? Playing volleyball and game nights with my friends.
What is the biggest need in your community? Mentorship. I've encountered several young people that have a desire to excel but don't have the know-how or guidance to help them progress. We all have nuggets of life lessons we should be passing along.
What gives you reason for optimism in your community? In my short time in Quincy, I've met so many amazing people that honestly want to help those around them; such beautiful hearts that have a passion to serve. That passion is contagious and it's exciting to see the ripple effect just one person can have on a community.
If you could go back in time and give advice to yourself when you were in high school, what would it be? Believe in yourself. Heed the advice of those who have "been there, done that" because it will save you a lot of grief.
If you weren't working for Titan International, what would you be doing? Freelance writing. I'm intrigued by the freedom, the voice and the creative license freelancing gives a person. However, I'm currently more intrigued by the security of the paycheck and benefits Titan offers.
If you could add a few more hours to the day, how would you spend them? Relaxing at home. I have the most beautiful apartment with a balcony off my kitchen. I would love to just sit out there a couple hours a day reading and writing or listening to music. I've lived there a year now and I think I've enjoyed the view a mere three times.
Do you live by any mantra or saying? "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me." Galatians 2:20
Career aspirations aside, name one thing you definitely want to accomplish in your lifetime. I hope to write a book that inspires just one person to change her life and then the lives of those around her. There's power in one.