Independent. Hard-working. Unafraid to challenge the status quo. These are just a few of the traits that describe the amazing team of women bringing their own unique vision to Offleash’d. We are so excited to continue our Women in Leadership series and introduce you to Makena Schoene. As Lead Copywriter, Makena creates written content across a variety of channels, from blogs and monthly newsletters to press releases. And when it comes to challenging the conventional, she’s got her own *tail* to tell!
A graduate of Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Makena earned bachelor’s degrees in Marketing and English while competing at the Division 1 level for volleyball. During her time at Drake, Makena honed her craft as an editor with the university’s publishing house, the Drake Community Press, to help publish A Spectrum of Faith: Religions of the World in America’s Heartland.
Upon graduating, she decided to continue her volleyball career overseas, playing professionally for teams in the Czech Republic, Finland, and Switzerland. This time living in Europe gave her the chance to travel the world, inspiring her to create her own blog, Makena Musing, where she chronicled not only her day-to-day life as a professional athlete, but also her experiences as a young woman living on her own in a strange land.
Now, Makena is able to use her passion for writing to share helpful resources and heartwarming stories with the Offleash’d community. But first, we want to share her story with you!
Offleash’d: What drew you to join Offleash’d?
Makena Schoene: I’ve always been a pet person, so when our Chief Operating Officer Terry James approached me about a project he was working on that was designed for animal lovers, I was immediately interested. The concept for Offleash’d was so innovative, and I loved the idea of an app where connections were based on something deeper than the usual superficial prompts. Plus, we all know that profiles featuring pets are always better! 😉
O: Your career path has taken some interesting turns over the years. How has your experience playing professional volleyball prepared you for your role with Offleash’d?
MS: I definitely took the road less traveled! I always knew that I wanted to see the world, and I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to pursue the sport I love at the highest level, even if it meant delaying my foray into the business world. Living overseas, I learned a lot about the world and other cultures – it really puts things in perspective when you are forced outside your comfort zone, far from everything you’ve always known. At Offleash’d, we are always pushing boundaries and working towards a more inclusive space where people from all backgrounds can feel welcome, and that message really resonated with me.
O: Writing has always been your passion; now it has become your full-time job. What do you enjoy most about writing for Offleash’d?
MS: I’ve spent most of my writing career curating a travel and lifestyle blog, inspired by my experience overseas. Now, I have the chance to stretch my writer’s muscles and write for a whole new audience! When you are involved with something from its origin, you have a unique opportunity to set the tone going forward. It’s a lot of responsibility, but also invigorating to be trusted with connecting with the people who make it all possible.
O: What is the greatest lesson you have learned from animals?
MS: My family are pet people; I grew up around cats, dogs, and even horses, working around the barn in exchange for lessons. Every experience I’ve had with animals has taught me the value of hard work and the attention involved in taking care of a living creature. I wholeheartedly believe that all kids can benefit from owning a pet of some kind, not only to teach a sense of responsibility but also about treating others with respect. Bottom line: Animals are good for the soul, probably because they have the purest souls there are.
O: What is one thing you hope other young women who are pursuing their own path can take away from your story?
MS: I hope others see that there is no cookie-cutter way of doing things that will work for everybody. You can try new things and follow your passions and still find a successful career in whatever field you choose to pursue. It can be daunting when you are faced with keeping up with what your peers are doing, but as long as you are working towards creating a life for yourself that makes you happy, then you are already on the right course
Read more about Makena and the rest of the team here, and be on the lookout for more compelling stories and interviews with the amazing people behind Offleash’d!