We’re shining July’s spotlight on Morgan Gallas, associate content strategist and self-professed “Mom of the Party.”
This month, we’re featuring a Yakkety Yak employee who brings curiosity and authenticity to her work every day—at a makeshift standing desk on the console table in her entryway.
As an associate content strategist, Morgan drafts social media copy, newsletters and blogs and helps keep her team organized. Her clients, known fondly at Yakkety Yak as “the brain suite,” include the American Migraine Foundation, the American Brain Foundation and the American Headache Society. We hopped on a video chat with Morgan to talk about her current inspirations and what makes her such an essential part of the Yak Pak.
How long have you been working at Yakkety Yak?
I started in February of 2019, so almost a year and a half.
What keeps you at Yakkety Yak?
The people. Everyone welcomes you with open arms. When I first started, we were doing a lot of hanging out and grabbing lunches, and I quickly felt like a part of the team. I actually experienced a death in the family early into working here, but I didn’t want time off—I wanted to throw myself into my work. So everyone I worked with gave me nonsense jobs for a week. I remember doing a lot of research on fun brands to pass the time. It was nice to show up with a tragedy and have that be turned around by the team.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
Everyone has a sense of humor. I can walk over to literally anyone on the team, and they’ll make me crack a smile. I also love Chris [Mueller, Yakkety Yak Senior Digital Analyst]’s taste in music. Chris loves punk rock, too, and has been sort of an older brother to me, sharing the roots of the music I like.
What has been your favorite project at Yakkety Yak so far?
Probably the coolest thing—if I’m ever gonna brag about my job—was writing content for actor Emilia Clarke’s personal social and for her foundation, SameYou. I also wrote a post for hockey legend Sidney Crosby, which was posted on both the Pittsburgh Penguins’ page and the NHL Players Association’s page. Emilia and Sidney were both honorees at Commitment to Cures, the American Brain Foundation’s annual fundraising event. She was on Game of Thrones! He is in the NHL! Go sports!
Which Yakkety Yak core value resonates with you most: curious, passionate, accountable, authentic or committed?
I teeter-totter between curious and authentic. One of the quotes I align with most is, “Be a lifelong learner.” You have to be curious to be a lifelong learner or else you’re close-minded and hard-headed. And authenticity is important to me. I went to school for PR, and one of the cornerstones of PR is transparency, which aligns well with authenticity.
Can you represent a typical workday in 3 photos, screenshots, or memes?
Before working here, what was the most interesting or unusual job you ever had?
Gosh, I’ve got the weirdest job history, but my most interesting job was probably interning for PriceWeber, an advertising agency in Louisville. We got to work with Hershey’s Chocolate on their trade show booth. They were coming out with an oreo bar covered in chocolate, and they sent us a crate of chocolate bars. For National S’mores Day, we got to set up a campfire. Once, Korvel Champagne did a photoshoot in the parking lot. It was so cool to see Dan Dry in action—he’s a world-class photographer who took an iconic photo of Muhammad Ali.
If you weren’t working in this field, what would you be doing?
I’d like to one day go into political communication. Sharing people’s messages and storytelling is what makes communications so interesting to me. Doing it through a candidate or elected official would make a difference in the world in a way I’m not sure I’m capable of doing on my own.
What’s the last good book you read?
I always find myself coming back to the same book: “Words I Wish I Wrote” by Robert Fulghum. It’s a book of quotes. Anytime I’m at a roadblock or I need to make an important decision, I look at the chapter list and find what I need. Do I need laughter? Do I need praxis? When I interviewed at Yakkety Yak, I took that book with me in my backpack so if someone asked me for a quote that aligned with my life, I’d be able to pull a good quote. That book helps me dig deeper and not leave things at the surface.
What’s been your guilty pleasure while working from home?
Cooking! Heather [Budimulia, Yakkety Yak Content Strategist] and I have dedicated ourselves to cutting down our food waste. Meal-planning has been a big part of quarantine and something I’ve taken a lot of pleasure in, but maybe it’s not a guilty pleasure—I feel pretty proud of it!
My best dessert yet: double-chocolate graham crackers. It’s so easy. You melt chocolate chips with a little bit of butter over dark chocolate graham crackers and put them in the freezer. The crunch of the cracker with the chocolate is so perfect.
What’s your current favorite video on the internet?
This DIY Mario Kart video featuring a treadmill and a laundry basket.
What’s one surprising thing about you?
I feel like I come off as a Goody Two-shoes, but I have tattoos of a knife, a hatchet, a bee and teeth. I didn’t intend for them to have the theme of pain, but they do!
What three phrases would your best friend use to describe you?
She’d say I’m quick-witted, a pain in the ass and the “mom of the party.” Anytime we do anything together, I’m always asking if she’s fed or thirsty or if I can get her anything, and she’s like, “You’re at my house.”
What words do you live by? Do you have a personal mantra?
“You can count the seeds in an apple, but you can’t count the apples in a seed.” I know how many metaphorical seeds are in me, but how many things more can I give from the things I already have? It’s nice to know there’s more to me than meets the eye.
What’s a nonprofit or community organization that you’d like to spotlight, before we go?
Block Club Chicago! If you care about local journalism—which you should—it’s a great nonprofit to support. They work hard to tell stories about Chicago that larger news organizations won’t cover. One of their best news stories right now is about a dude in Lincoln Park who owns a house right on the park and grew hedges to fence the public out and create his own private backyard. However, he couldn’t prove his right to the public land, so people camped out in his yard. I love stories about Chicagoans’ stubbornness and grit and willingness to make change.