MIKALA HARDEN,
CREATIVE DIRECTOR.

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Designer's Desk

I believe in hand-crafted, meaningful creative.

MY PHILOSOPHY

As the Founder and Creative Director of Say Hey There, an Omaha-based creative studio, I believe that the best way to market a organization, connect with potential advocates, and spread awareness is through a brand strategy focused on compelling content, community engagement, and special campaigns. I help clients harness the power behind all these factors working together to unleash authentic storytelling and rally community.

 

MY STORY BEGINS WITH A PEN.

My background is rooted in writing. As a high school student, I received awards for fictional stories and had the opportunity to earn college credit for creative writing. My career began by penning human interest stories and white papers as a feature writer and Associate Editor for a healthcare newsletter with a readership of 16,000+. Later, as the Internal Communications Coordinator, I created the corporate newsletter with a readership of 800+ and developed strategies for improving communication and efficiency between departments.


Eager to enter the creative domain, I accepted a position as the Lead Creative Writer at a branding agency, producing everything from website copy to video scripts. In addition, I advocated for and developed the social media program which quickly grew to be an essential part of the overall agency revenue stream. I then evolved into a role as Content Strategist, which better reflected my ability to direct creative and strategy on all things content-related and contribute to brand development from a leadership perspective.


With a natural eye for design and UX, in-depth knowledge of brand strategy, and desire to lead, I founded Say Hey There in the summer of 2014.

 
Workspace

SKILLS

BRANDING

It's About Storytelling

To me, strategy and authenticity are essential when it comes to building the elements of a brand. My approach is to clarify the purpose, mission, and values of an organization, find modern, effective ways to communicate that with the world, develop certain standards to be used consistently across all messaging; and connect with people in a meaningful way.

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Image by Luca Onniboni

CONTENT STRATEGY

Smart Organization

Modern creative should be enjoyable. Clickable. Social. It should be relevant, authentic, simple, tell a story, and engage. I am passionate about content development and enjoy collaborating with organizations on promoting programs, initiatives, special events, and campaigns.

DIGITAL SAVVY

Web • Social • Video

I feel at home when daydreaming over a cappuccino about online creative. I enjoy helping clients create a modern, user-friendly, compelling online presence via social media and beyond. My favorite products are: Google Workspace, MailChimp, WordPress, Asana, and Gain.

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REFERENCES

When I first met with Mikala, she knew exactly what we needed to bring our brand to life. She asked questions that drove to our company’s essence and message—what we wanted to share with the world—and crafted our brand from there. Mikala and her team at Say Hey There created our online presence and streamlined our communication process with clients and amongst our staff, and helped us present our story and our services consistently across platforms. We simply could not be more pleased with our decision to partner with Say Hey There in making our brand a reality.

David White

It has been wonderful to partner directly with Mikala for over five years! She always stays up-to-date on the current treads, presents innovative and creative ways to keep costs within budget, and assists with strategic planning that allows continued growth. Her marketing, branding, and design skills allow her to easily assist with any needs that may arise. Mikala’s hard work ethic, high integrity, and desire to always do what is right, make her an extremely reliable and valuable asset to our organization. Over time, Mikala has helped grow our social media presence and general brand awareness through her support of our internal marketing team. It’s been my pleasure to partner with Say Hey There over the years and work directly with Mikala on a variety of long-term and one-time projects. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our organization. I would recommend Say Hey There to any business seeking outstanding marketing and branding assistance.

Chelsey Haas

Since our website re-design and new marketing rollout in September of 2014, we could not be more impressed with Mikala and the job she does. She has exceeded our every expectation and would recommend her and the job she does to anyone looking for a long term relationship with an expert in her field. Mikala has become a very important part of our Foundation and is 100% immersed in our success. Say Hey There will be the best marketing decision you will make.

Jim Hanson, Jr.

I know that I can always trust Mikala not only to do a job, but to go above and beyond to do it extremely well. I can highly recommend Mikala for any position, but especially those where communication, writing, creativity, and responsibility are involved. Her outstanding skills, ability to relate in a positive manner with others, and her willingness to see to every detail ensure that she will succeed in any endeavor.

Jill Reeves

 

EDUCATION & COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP

BA IN LEADERSHIP, BELLEVUE UNIVERSITY

Today’s organizations seek people who are confident leaders and can successfully apply effective leadership practices to achieve results. Bellevue University's Bachelor's degree in Leadership prepares students to effectively lead people and handle leadership challenges in a variety of interpersonal, group, and organizational settings.

PROFESSIONAL SPEAKING & EVENTS

I have spoken about branding and storytelling at events hosted by the Omaha chapters of IABC (International Association of Business Communicators) and AAF (American Advertising Federation). I enjoy attending Social Media Week in New York and SXSW in Austin. In May of 2018, I was featured in the Omaha Chamber's We Don't Coast blog.

ARTS & MUSIC

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards enhances our community by planning and producing an annual awards event that uniquely recognizes the performing arts, live arts, and live music of the Omaha area. The OEAAs host music, poetry, and visual arts showcases in addition to a nominee reveal party to thrust Omaha’s legendary and up-and-coming artists into the spotlight. 

I spent 6 years on the Board of Directors of the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards on the music committee, served as President, and stay involved to this day as the organization’s marketing sponsor. 

As a music journalist, I have been supportive of Omaha’s hip hop scene since 2013, running a blog and having my work published in The Reader

VOLUNTEERISM

I have been involved with, have volunteered for, and/or donated services in-kind to the following causes or events: the First Responders Foundation, Wear Yellow Nebraska, Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo, Student Celebration Day, and MAHA.

 

INTERESTS

True to my identity as an INFJ and virgo, I enjoy self care, journaling, yoga and meditation, and curling up with a good book on a rainy day. I'm happiest when I'm surrounded my family: Herb (partner), Louis (son), and Liliana (daughter). We love to travel, broaden our horizons, and explore the great outdoors!

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"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely of places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it."

Roald Dahl