New Year, New Career, pt 1

You may remember me mentioning back in my intro post that I was working on obtaining my Real Estate license. Well, after long delays of background checks, admin mix-ups, and holiday slowdowns I can finally and proudly say that I am a licensed Real Estate agent in the state of Nebraska. I have applied for and plan to obtain the Realtor designation, as well - coming soon.


Certificate showing State of Nebraska Real Estate Commission, Real Estate License to Catherine A Hirsch
Ain't she pretty?

How'd we get here?

First, a little about my background. My career has taken me from marketing & advertising, to entertainment, to some mix of the two. I hold a BSBA in Marketing (with a strong emphasis in Management) from Creighton University here in Omaha, Nebraska. I've also been a performer for as long as I can remember, starting in dance and moving into acting (oh, the joy of musical theatre - you can do both!).


Cathy dressed in vaudeville costume, singing from a swing on a stage above the heads of other actors
Flying high, about to graduate college and in "Ragtime" as Evelyn Nesbit.

After college, I took on an entertainment internship at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida where I did mostly character performing throughout the resort. That's a whole different topic but it opened my eyes to how businesses, including the most recognizable brands in the world, are run.


Costumed characters Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee pose before a carousel at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.
It. Happened.

When I moved back to Omaha, I worked a brief stint for TD Ameritrade handling their Estate accounts. While this was far from my dream job, it did give me valuable knowledge regarding the finance world.


Shortly thereafter I landed what I consider to be my first "real job" working in advertising at the Omaha World-Herald. Like many career paths, I began as an assistant and quickly moved up to an Account Executive. This was in 2007/2008 - I don't know if you remember much about this time but it was a doozy. At the beginning, pretty much every household took the newspaper and sales were booming. Then the market crashed, major advertisers and small businesses alike pulled their dollars. Circulation numbers also took a huge hit as the demand for local news had just begun to find its demand online. Compound that with the fact that my husband had a brief, but scary encounter with cancer and chemotherapy and I was in a world of stress. After about 3 years it was time to move on.


Woman at diner with her head down, asleep at the table with newspapers strewn about.
My awesome assistant, going through law school at night and helping me during the day.

However, 2008 was also the year I recognized a hole in the local theatrical entertainment scene and so a friend and I co-founded the group which still stands today as my production company, The Candy Project. More on that in another post but people thought we were a little looney to start this business during the market upheaval and uncertainty and I point to it as proof that with a little ingenuity, a small business cannot only survive but flourish during uncertain times.


Cathy, a woman and two men stand under an umbrella with logo that reads "The Candy Project" with jelly beans raining down on them.
My first attempt using Photoshop. Don't worry - I got better.

I have spent the past decade in various and evolving positions at The Knot wedding magazine starting as Advertising Coordinator, moving to Client Relations Manager and various other titles. This was a position that took me all across the country as I became an expert in online and print media working with small and mid-sized businesses as their resource for ways to better their advertising in the wedding industry. I spent the last couple of years specializing in the regional magazines (the ones that were specific to a certain state or area and included local vendors and "real wedding" spreads) which I really enjoyed. Unfortunately, when COVID-19 hit, we experienced a fallout quite similar to what I had experienced at the Omaha-World Herald 12 years prior. Weddings came to a screeching halt, small businesses lost income and pulled advertising, circulation took a major hit as planning slowed and consumers weren't visiting magazine stands inside of stores and grocers. The company made the decision to drop these print magazines and focus on digital going forward. It was an excruciatingly sad day as our entire department was laid off in an abrupt Zoom meeting where most of the department were some of the company's - and certainly the Omaha office's - most seasoned employees.


Cathy stands on a beach with palm trees and ocean in the background. In the foreground are large marquee style letters that say ALOHA and are covered in flowers.
At a market event in Hawaii. This did not suck.

Have you ever had the world melting down around you and find yourself in need of a career change and have to ask yourself "now what"? I have! This is the second time, actually... So! Why real estate? Well, this post has gone on far too long so I'll need to follow up with a second. See you in Part 2!



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