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Mandy Bray is a writer and mom based in Indianapolis. She calls herself a “word nerd” who’s always worked in some form of communications role. She has worked as the director of copywriting for an agency and as International Communications Manager at IUPUI. She is now a freelance writer for EdTech, marketing, and tech brands, and is coming up on her 10th anniversary of living in Indy. You can usually find her cooking, reading, watching soccer, or chasing after her kids. Over to you now, Mandy!
My Maven Superpower is … Curating recommendations for people. I used to make customized CD mixes for my friends and I still love making playlists, book lists, or itineraries of things to do.
A fun fact about me is … I’ve lived in four countries and four states. My parents worked overseas when I was growing up, so I spent my childhood in Scotland and Germany (plus a study abroad semester in France). I also lived in Tennessee, Colorado, and Texas before moving to Indy in 2013.
The best book I’ve read lately is … “Lessons in Chemistry” by Bonnie Garmus. It’s a witty novel about a female scientist living in the misogynistic 1960s. It’s an unexpected character study with an unexpected plot and it made me laugh out loud, so I recommend it!
My first job was … Babysitting. My first job with a real paycheck was working at the IT help desk at my college.
What’s it like to be a freelancer? … It’s always an adventure! I’ve had to figure out pricing, proposals, accounting, taxes, and how to add value with my own processes. There’s honestly never been a better time to be a freelancer with how remote work tools and culture have improved over the past few years. There are some online communities like Superpath and Peak Freelance (plus local industry groups) that make it less isolating. I love the flexibility and the ability to work at home in sweats or in a coffee shop or coworking space depending on how I feel.
Relying on freelance work as your sole income can be scary, so it’s important to think about how to work up to a full client load. Now that I’m two years in, I actually feel more economically stable as a freelancer. I’ve been laid off before, and it’s pretty awful. This summer, one of my clients laid off my main contact there and halted all freelance projects. This represented just a small percentage of my revenue, and I was able to quickly replace them with a new client.
All in all, freelancing pushes you to show up for yourself day after day and to build the kind of brand and workflows that you want.
The best career advice I can offer is … Your career isn’t who you are. It can help you grow and give you a way to make an impact and take care of yourself or your family, but don’t let it define you. Always invest in relationships, hobbies, and personal development outside of work.
Self-care habit I swear by is … Doing any kind of creative activity. Crocheting, playing piano, baking. I’m not great at any of it, but the process grounds me and resets my mood.
My favorite non-profit to support is … Indy Reads. Literacy is truly the door to unlocking growth in all other areas of a person’s life, and it’s never too late to make progress.
My favorite local restaurant dish is … Shalimar in Broad Ripple is my favorite Indian place in Indianapolis. My comfort food order is Chicken Tikka Masala, samosas, and garlic naan.
The thing I’ve been binging lately is … My husband and I binged the show “Derry Girls” on Netflix. We both laughed a lot, and I loved the ‘90s nostalgia.
A maven you should know is … Olivia Hawbaker.
What’s next for me is … I’ll be focused on growing my freelance business and getting more deeply involved in the Indianapolis community.
Amanda Rooksberry is a fall editorial intern for Indy Maven. She is currently a junior at Butler University as a Theatre and Creative Media & Entertainment double major. She is very excited to be working with Indy Maven!
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