(In an interview with Oz The Journal of Creative Disciplines)
Morgan Shorey - Founder and Co-Owner, The List
Morgan Shorey will never forget the day she was handed her boss's photo portfolio to take to a client. She was new to the photography business, and eager to do whatever it took to succeed. "I was handed the portfolio," Shorey notes, "because I was a girl and was dressed best." Not one to miss an opportunity, Shorey ran with her golden moment. Suddenly she was traveling to cities like Washington, D.C., Miami and Memphis, representing the studio. Thanks to her top consultative and selling skills, she became a partner in the studio, helping Arrington Morgan reach the top 5% in the nation in revenue.
By the time she hit 30, she was ready to make her own move. And she had an idea. Over the years, Shorey had bought scads of lists in her search for prospective customers, always thinking she could do better. She set out to discover if she could, creating The List, a well researched roster of folks who buy creative work. "People wondered whether or not there was a market for a $300 customer prospect list. My gut said there was."
Even though Shorey felt confident as a woman in the workplace, it's interesting to note that she created a business card with a very masculine feel, something she really hadn't noticed at first. "I guess I thought if the card was frillier, I'd have to work harder to prove myself," she says. "As it stands now, people think I'm a man until they meet me. To be honest, it felt good to present a strong, masculine identity. By the time clients get to me, they've already got an image in mind so when they discover I'm a woman they say, "oh" and proceed.
Shorey believes there are a few advantages to being a woman in the workplace. "The key to success for us is being able to build relationships instantly so we can get information about who's doing the buying over the phone. I think defenses come down when it's a woman doing the asking."
Shorey also believes in the strength of a woman's intuition. "I think there are two voices people hear," she cites. One is in the head and one is in the stomach. "The head voice might ask whether this prospective employee can type 60 words per minute. The stomach voice asks whether this is someone I can trust. I think men ignore the voice in the stomach. Women are more prone to listen to it. I think that's why I've never had to check references. My gut instincts are typically right on."
Not to say that there haven't been struggles as well. "When you're a business owner and a wife and mother," she adds, "everywhere you go, someone wants a piece of you. 'There's no toner, I need posterboard for a school project, I want dinner.' It's never-ending. Either you build up the mechanisms to make it work or you have to have help."