The last few blogs, being question and answer sessions, have been pretty easy to write, since the majority of the work has actually been done for me by the subjects themselves. I’m helped by how wonderfully cooperative my coworkers are–for instance, Rachel Stickney wasn’t afraid to share her feelings about her parents and to divulge her organizational tips; David Benedetto showed his trusting nature by revealing his embarrassing first concert and cracked us all up with his divinely droll favorite joke, and now Kacie Stillings (Marler), our new development director, gets her turn telling us the candid truth in response to a lot of nosy questions. (She also reserves the right to refuse to tell us some of the information we are most interested in…perhaps the readers of this blog can get those answers out of her?) Some of her responses were no-brainers to anyone who has made her acquaintance at the station: for instance, with her long dancer’s legs and graceful posture, it’s obvious that she would also teach ballet classes in her spare time. I’ve got to admit that I’m dying to know the joke too risque to share with the blog, since she is so naturally funny at work I assume it must be HILARIOUS. Kacie’s also a girl after my own heart when it comes to relishing all aspects of life–I think the description of her perfect meal would be heaven on earth for everyone who lives to eat. Did I also mention that in addition to being gorgeous, she’s smart as a whip? Seriously, if she weren’t so likable, we’d all hate her. Okay, enough with the preamble! Here is Kacie in her own words:
1. Where did you grow up? I grew up in Mobile, AL, which I can appreciate now but was not very fond of at the time. Luckily, when I was 11, my parents bought a beach house toward the end of the Fort Morgan peninsula in Gulf Shores. We stayed there for as long as we could in the summers and any weekend when we had the chance. I like to think that I did more actual “growing up” there.
2. What’s your favorite childhood memory? When I was about 9, my parents got a kitten that was supposed to be for me and my brother to share. I promptly decided that the front half of the kitten was mine, and I staked my claim by kissing it on the head. I told my brother that if he wanted the back half, then he had to kiss it or his ownership had no claim.
3. Do you have any phobias? What are they? I get extreme anxiety when I have to get a shot or get blood drawn. There’s something about the idea of being injected with a foreign substance that particularly gets to me. I usually faint.
4. What is your greatest extravagance? Depends when you’re asking. Today, in the future, in the past? In the past, I’d say that it would be when my husband and I went on a 10 week around-the-world honeymoon. Today, I would say it’s contemplating buying sushi from Whole Foods for lunch, even though I’ve already got some reasonable choices in the fridge. In the future, I’d say it’s trying to get back into horseback riding lessons.
5. Who are your heroes in real life? My biggest hero is my friend Sarah Venning who passed away in 2007, two days before her 26th birthday. She is the first friend who really taught me what friendship should be about: having a sense of responsibility for one another, trusting one another, and being more than just someone you spend time with. Every friendship I’ve ever had since her has been different because of her influence.
6. Where did you work before WRBH? How did you get here? I moved to New Orleans in 2002 to go to Loyola and tried out about 5 different majors, none of which helped me figure out what I wanted to do. After Hurricane Katrina, I was so inspired by all of the community groups who were rebuilding the city. One of the main things I noticed was that all of these passionate people, who knew how to develop great programs that provided real solutions, had very little knowledge of how to find funding or actually run a nonprofit. So I immediately transferred to UNO and started learning how to do just that. I worked with a few start-ups before being hired by MotherShip Foundation, which produces the Bayou Boogaloo, in 2009. Jared Zeller, MotherShip’s Executive Director, used to work for WRBH, and he recommended me as a grant writer when he left here in 2012. So I’ve been doing that for a couple of years as an independent contractor and jumped on the opportunity for a part-time gig here when it became available. I definitely would not be here or have the experience I have without Jared. He was risky enough to give a job to a grad student with only a little past experience, and I’m forever grateful to him for that.
7. What is your idea of a perfect meal? I like to eat somewhat like a European. I want to have an aperitif with some light tapas to start the evening off right. Then it’s great when you can take a little walk to a different restaurant for dinner. And I like dinner best when it’s with a lot of people, so that you can order dishes family style, sharing as much as possible off of the menu, taking hours to eat. Wine is a must. If you take enough time to eat and drink, then it’s feasible to have enough room left for dessert, which I love washing down with a digestif. Amaro is my favorite. In terms of the food itself, I’m a pescetarian, I’m allergic to soy, and I’m a firm believer that GMOs are linked to cancer. So, fresh, local, organic veggies mixed with some fresh-caught seafood is generally how I like to live.
10. Do you have any hidden talents? I guess most of my talents are only hidden part of the time. For instance, I’m a ballet teacher, so lots of the people I’m around on a daily basis don’t know that I dance or have never seen me dance, but then there’s an entire other side of my social circle that’s fully aware of it. Other than that, my husband thinks that I can sing and that I’m a great artist (Thanks, baby!). And I can say the alphabet backwards incredibly fast.
11. Have you ever had a nickname? Kacie Cakes is my favorite nick name. When I was a kid, my parents called me Mess.
12. Do you have any pet peeves? I’m a little OCD about organization and everything having a place. If I organize something, I always try to explain the system to anyone else who has to use it, but inevitably, other people are not as OCD about it, so they just put things where ever. Then no one can find the thing when they’re looking for it months later.
13. What do you most dislike in other people? Arrogance.
14. What is your favorite joke? NSFW.
15. How would you describe yourself in three words? (don’t be shy!)Kind, Wanderlust, Skeptical.
16. What brings you the most joy? Traveling with my husband.
17. If you could only take three things to a desert island, what would they be? My husband, our vizsla, Archie, and a female vizsla so that we could live happily ever after on a vizsla puppy island.
18. Picture yourself in ten years. Where are you and what are you doing? In ten years I hope that I’m still working with nonprofits, but making more money. If I could manifest anything, I’d love to somehow be able to afford traveling as much as possible, being able to stay in different places for at least a month at a time. I hope that I’m still living in New Orleans, but if I’m living anywhere else, I hope that it’s a place where I’m able to hike up a mountain and go surfing all in the same day.
19. You have a magic wand that can change one thing about yourself. What do you change? It’s a close tie between having perfectly toned thighs or a better memory.
20. Now, can you tell us something we don’t know about you? Many things, but for the purposes of a blog, we’ll keep it that way.