Katty Douraghy | The Massive Changes in Creative and Digital and How Businesses Get Through Grief and Loss
Smart Business Revolution

Katty Douraghy is an entrepreneur, author, podcast host, and the President of Artisan Creative, a staffing and recruiting agency focused on digital, creative, and marketing talent and based in Los Angeles. She is a forum and retreat facilitator at Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), where she works closely with entrepreneurs to help them become better versions of themselves. 

Katty recently published her memoir, The Butterfly Years: A Journey Through Grief Toward Hope, detailing her personal journey through grief. She is on a mission to demystify grief and create a space where people can talk about loss, grief, and death without feeling judged or rushed. Katty was raised in San Francisco, London, and Tehran. 

In this episode of the Smart Business Revolution Podcast, John Corcoran interviews Katty Douraghy, the President of Artisan Creative, about how her experience with loss and grief inspired her to write The Butterfly Years. She also talks about the lessons she learned in the process, how she now helps others going through loss and grief, and how she has grown Artisan Creative.

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Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:

  • Katty Douraghy talks about her loss and grief and how that inspired her to write a memoir
  • Katty’s experience working with her husband, how they balanced their personal and professional lives, and how she took over running the company
  • How Katty helps people and groups who have suffered loss
  • How Artisan Creative was started and the type of positions they help recruit
  • The changes Katty has seen in her industry over the last 20 years
  • Has the growth of freelance talent marketplaces influenced Katty’s work? 
  • The challenges Katty faces in her work, how she finds creative people to recruit, and how increased demand for creative work has impacted Artisan Creative
  • Katty talks about the peers she respects and shares her contact details

Resources Mentioned In This Episode

Sponsor: Rise25

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Cofounders Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran credit podcasting as being the best thing they have ever done for their businesses. Podcasting connected them with the founders/CEOs of P90xAtariEinstein BagelsMattelRx BarsYPO, EO, Lending Tree, Freshdesk,  and many more.  

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Rise25 Cofounders, Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran, have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.

Episode Transcript

Intro 0:01

Welcome to the revolution, the Smart Business Revolution Podcast where we ask today’s most successful entrepreneurs to share the tools and strategies they use to build relationships and connections to grow their revenue. Now, your host for the revolution, John Corcoran.

John Corcoran 0:40

All right. Welcome, everyone. John Corcoran here, the host of this show. And I’m so excited every week I get to have great conversations with interesting CEOs, founders and entrepreneurs of all kinds of different companies. Check out the back catalogue because there’s so many great conversations in there. I recently released my interview with the co-founder of Netflix, you’ve probably heard of that company, YPO, EO, Activision Blizzard, LendingTree, OpenTable, check out some of those in the archives. There’s some great episodes there. I’m also the Co-founder of Rise25, where we help connect b2b business owners to their ideal prospects. And before I introduce today’s guest, a quick shout out to Chris Krimitsos, host of Podfest Expo. Check out Podfest Expo. He’s doing great things in the podcast space.

But my guest is Katty Douraghy. She’s an entrepreneur and author, podcast host and the president of artists and creative it’s a staffing and recruiting agency based in Los Angeles focused on digital creative and marketing talent. And we connected also through the eo community where she is a forum and retreat facilitator working closely with entrepreneurs become better versions of themselves. She recently published her memoir, the butterfly yours detailing your personal journey through grief towards hope carries on a mission to demystify grief. And to create a space where we can talk about loss, grief and death without feeling judged, nor feel we have to rush through to get over it. categories, we all have a story to share. And then our greatest journey is through self discovery. She was raised in San Francisco, London, and Tehran. And she brings a multicultural perspective to all of her interactions. So we’re gonna get into that in a second and also talk about how businesses can cope through grief because it’s something that she had to experience herself. Before we get into that this episode is brought to you by rise 25, where we help b2b businesses to get clients referrals and strategic partnerships, but done for you podcasts and content marketing. If you have any curiosity about starting a podcast, give us a call or shoot us an email support at rise25Media calm and happy to help. Alright, Katie, such a pleasure to have you here today. And you released your memoir recently, which was about a lot of loss that you experienced in a short period of time, first, catch us up with what you experienced. And then I’m really curious to know about how you help other companies that suffer a sudden loss but need to keep on moving forward. You can’t just hang up the business because one person passes away. So tell us about your personal experience. 

Katty Douraghy 3:16

So first, thanks, John. Thanks for having me here. Yeah, you know, it’s interesting, because I feel, you know, whenever I talk about this, this is not my core business has, it has nothing to do with my business. However, it has everything to do with life, right. And when I first experienced loss, it was right at the time when I had just taken over our business. Within a few months of both my parents and my stepmother passing away, they all died within four months of each other. And then I take over my business at the same time, and trying to navigate, you know, trying to be the positive front and the positive face to everyone and to clients and to talent. And yet inside I was just so rot. And it was an interesting journey to try to figure out how to navigate loss. And what I really came to realize is that besides, at least in the Western society, you know, we have a hard time talking about grief. And we certainly have a hard time talking about death, although it’s something that unfortunately touches us all. And that’s gonna where the seed was planted to be able to create an opportunity and a space where people could talk about grief and loss and not feel as if, okay, it’s time, you know, times three days you have more than just enough let’s get back to work, because it just doesn’t work that way. And that’s really kind of what the impetus of it was. And I’m just thrilled that the book was published. It took me three years to write it because It also is such a difficult topic to write, I had to relive everything in order to bring it back to on paper. So

John Corcoran 5:07

not many people want to do that that must have been wrenching just to go through it again, for the purpose of getting it down on paper.

Katty Douraghy 5:17

It was and it wasn’t, it was writing it and reliving it, there were many times when my husband would come into my office, and I would be like typing away just with tears coming down. But on the other side, it was very cathartic as well, I really look at it as an opportunity to finish some unfinished conversations, and to be able to really share what was in my heart. And realize that back then, when it first happened in 2011, I really didn’t feel comfortable to share, and certainly didn’t. And this is where it’s self-judgment comes into play. I really didn’t feel as if anyone wanted to hear it again. And again. And again. I’d said it once. But then I kind of didn’t really want to talk about it again, because others I could see I could see it was too much information for so many other people. It’s just an uncomfortable topic. Yeah. So I just made it my mission to demystify it. As you as you said in the intro, yeah, that let’s talk about it.

John Corcoran 6:22

You, your husband started ours and creative. And in 2012, he stepped away and you stepped in as president, not an easy job under any circumstances. With you, as you look back at it now, knowing what you know, now, would you have done things differently when you went through that loss? And when you were a newly installed president? Are there any choices he would have done differently? Or that you would advise someone in similar circumstances now?

Katty Douraghy 6:53

No, actually, I think taking over the business and just diving in headfirst really was my salvation, in that I was so busy. And I had such a purpose to make sure that I was handling this transition smoothly, not only for our clients, but more importantly, from my own employees, that our internal team that it was super helpful to have it. And one of the big lessons that I learned when I was going through loss, is to just say yes to everything, you know, we have this one life to live and the opportunities at hand. And this was a huge opportunity. From a career perspective. For me, I had worked at the company for at the time, close to 12 years. And I had been running and kind of do, I’ve had more pretty much every single hat, from HR, to recruiting to sales to you name it. And I had been dimensioned director for a number of years before I took it over, though. No, it was, it came at the perfect time, even though at the time, it probably didn’t seem it. But now in retrospect, it was a brilliant, brilliant opportunity.

John Corcoran 8:10

What was it like going from running the business? Probably from its infancy, I imagine with your husband there and then for him stepping away and not being there as actively as he was.

Katty Douraghy 8:25

It was interesting, I’ll step back a little bit to when I first started working for the company, you know, I had my own career and retail and had managed a big, you know, several big departments and a larger department store and I had a big budget that I was responsible for. So when I first came to work with Jamie, my husband, that was an interesting thing, that was an interesting thing to be able to really separate where the work relationship and where the personal relationship is. And I don’t know how many of your audience members here work with their partners or with their spouse. But that was a huge lesson I had to I remember I had to actually physically know I would step into as if I would step into the elevator for example. And in my mind, say, okay, no more work, no more home talk. Now it’s work talk and then the reverse in the evenings. Okay, no more work talk. Now it’s home talk, and how to really put boundaries and barriers in place so that work life and life and it’s all meld into one. And when we first did the transition. I felt such a sense of responsibility and such with so much gratitude for this opportunity. I wanted to make sure that I handled this if this baby properly. The in the first year I remember kept going to Jamie and saying hey, I’m trying to do this. I’m making this decision. What do you think is Cool. Until one day, he said, You know what, there’s a reason I stepped out and you’ve stepped in, you know, just run with it. And I think I just needed to hear that validation. And, you know, just a recognition that I was doing it the right way. Before I felt as if I could really take flight.

John Corcoran 10:17

Right? Yeah, you’re fortunate because certainly, many business owners kind of don’t want to give up the reins or maybe second guessing things that the person who takes over from them is doing.

Katty Douraghy 10:32

Yeah, for sure. And I think that when it comes to partnership, any kind of family relationship, right, whether it’s siblings working together, or a parent and the child working together, or in this case, spouses working together, there is such a such an important conversation to have. Because it’s easy to mix our rules with each other, right? If someone has a challenge with an RFP, for example, and they’re questioning something it’s hard to not confused, like, is that my brother talking to me? Or is that my spouse talking to? So to be able to really have clear defined conversations and boundaries and roles is something that I highly recommend to anyone who’s working with a best friend, a family member? Because it can get very, very the waters can get muddy?