- James was reading Shakespeare at age 12 and is a big fan of Mark Twain. He loves finding ways to modernize Old English.
- He was the backup rider for Traveler, USC’s mascot, from 2006-2014 and his bodyguard in all public appearances.
- Mr. White has only ever sustained injuries on the left side of his body.
Meet Account Supervisor James White. We’re pretty sure that’s just an alias, but we’ll let you be the judge.
Q: You are currently transforming a 1940s-brick bungalow into a smart home, complete with a DIY Tesla Powerwall. How does your fascination with innovative technology and the challenge of DIY translate into your approach to a client’s marketing goals?
A: Like many kids growing up, I would pull things apart to try and understand how they worked. When I was able to figure something out, the success was very rewarding and in some cases, it meant that I could repair my things, rather than having to replace them, which I couldn’t always afford to do. This hobby evolved into more and more complex projects, culminating (so far) in the work I’ve been doing on my house.
The same sort of drive exists in my work life. Discovering and understanding how a platform, or technology works—even if it’s just the basics—means I can get “into the weeds” and provide clients with very detailed explanations of the technologies or systems underpinning their marketing strategies. This enables smoother communication and a more agile working relationship.
Q: Speaking of communication, tell us about your love for esoteric vocabulary. Does it ever come in handy with certain clients or is it more of a party trick?
A: I was homeschooled for much of my childhood and my favorite subject was always vocabulary. The discovery of new words to describe things more precisely was really exhilarating. I’d always try to combine every vocabulary word from a given week’s assignments into a single sentence that made sense – odd, I know, but I relished the challenge. In my day-to-day work, this love of diction may not be an obvious “asset” to clients, but it does help me to be precise and efficient in my communications, which is generally appreciated.
Q: Moving on from technology and word-play, you can also add Hippotherapy Volunteer to your list of skills. Tell us about that.
My route to Hippotherapy Volunteer was circuitous. As a young Boy Scout, I was constantly involved in community service projects, which were always very rewarding. When it came time to do my Eagle project, I ended up (quite by chance) designing a dust-control misting system to help a local Hippotherapy center keep their horses calm during the hot summer months. Years later, I became deeply involved in the equestrian community while at USC and ended up working a brief stint as a horse trainer after graduation. It just so happened that the stables where I worked were right across from the Hippotherapy center. I randomly went back to check on my misting system and ended up in a volunteer position, working with the patients.
The experience was incredible and constantly serves to remind me that everyone, disabled or not, has something they are struggling with every day. It also helps me to strive for empathy and kindness in my everyday interactions.
Q: Sounds like an incredible experience. Speaking of incredible experiences, your list of thrill seeking activities include skydiving, martial arts, snow & water skiing, wakeboarding, motocross and tumbling—are you sure you’re not really James Bond instead of James White?
A: I can neither confirm nor deny these allegations without the express written permission of the US Government.
Haha. Just kidding. (Or am I?)
I’ve always been a bit of an adrenaline junky and I love to overcome challenges, so I suppose it’s natural to be drawn to activities that offer both adrenaline and a challenge. For better, or worse, I also hate the feeling of being anxious or afraid, so I tend to be counterphobic. Skydiving is a prime example of that tendency. I am absolutely terrified of heights and thought that by becoming a skydiver, I could eventually rid myself of that fear. Well, here I am five years into it and I can still barely stand on a ladder, but I love throwing myself out of airplanes. *sigh*