Deb Brown is the co-founder of SaveYour.Town where she has the pleasure of working with small towns all over the world, traveling, writing, and telling stories to help small town folks create a better future for their towns.
Although Deb has lived in large cities such as Chicago and Dallas, after being born and raised in Webster City, Iowa, she has now moved back to a small town to help fuel her passion for helping small towns around the world.
Here Deb shares more about the other projects she is working on, what has shaped her to become the successful professional she is today, and of course, her experience with coworking.
What are you working on right now?
Helping an animal foundation design their future, working with participants in Leadership Iowa, and writing blog posts about container parks, leading with kindness and taking small steps. I’m also aligning my calendar with small towns who’ve invited me to their communities.
Is there one book that has shaped your life or changed the way you think?
Oh my! One book? Not possible! As the years pass, there’s always another book that creates change. Dinner with Persophone: Travels in Greece enthused my love for Greece and travel in general.
The Outlander Series by Diana Galbadon brought energy to all things Scottish (my heritage) and she tells a fabulous story putting you in the picture. This series helped to shape how I tell stories: with passion and historical background when possible.
Crimes Against Nature made me be more attentive to how I live in this world. Recently Hillbilly Elegy made me realize my work helping to tell the good news stories of small towns is vital.
What’s your favorite quote?
I think, therefore I am by Descartes has been with me since my youth. It reminds me to keep diving into what I’m thinking about to create a better me. Know thyself by Socrates still rings true all these years later. When I follow my heart, it usually leads me on an amazing path.
How do you start off your day?
What is something you think everyone should try at least once in their life?
Oh easy answer: travel to a foreign country alone.
What is one skill or hobby you’ve been meaning to learn but haven’t had time for?
Painting with watercolors. I love how it looks and think ‘I could do that’; yet I don’t.
List 3 simple things in life that make you really happy:
- My great nephews and nieces (and happy kids in general)
- Traveling to small towns and taking lots of pictures and
- Talking to the locals reading good books, the kind you can immerse yourself in the story
Who has made the biggest impact on your life?
My mom. She was a teacher all of her adult life, when a time women worked, had kids and stayed home. She chose to follow the path that made her happiest. She’s been my biggest cheerleader and supported my wacky choices all along.
What is the most rewarding thing you’ve ever done?
Stood in front of a group of strangers and told stories of other small towns that they could take home and try on for size. Seeing their eyes saying ‘we can do this too!’ is the best prize!
What is your favorite coworking space and why?
I travel in a lot of small towns and am still looking for the coworking spaces. I share the story of the coworking space in Pella, Iowa that changed the way people work. Veel Hoeden remained the space to go to for 5 years, and then they closed. The fact that they knew when to close speaks volumes. Even louder is the fact that two young men have since opened a new space in Pella!
The current coworking space I like is The Depot in Des Moines. They are attentive to your needs, quick to answer online and the space rocks!
When people come to you for help, what do they usually want help with?
They think they want help on social media marketing for their business, but what they end up wanting is verification they are doing the right thing.
What’s biggest item on your bucket list at the moment?
Going to Mexico for two weeks in January 2018 – and I’m going. Airline tickets are booked.
How do you maintain a sense of work-life balance?
I think it’s all about life really. There’s no balance, there’s only what is in this moment. Am I working if I visit a small town on my off time and take pictures and talk to the people there? Yes, I am – but I’m also playing. When the line smudges I know I’m on the right path.
Name one skill you think everyone should have or learn?
How to type.
What’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done?
Moved to North Carolina to open and run a bingo parlor with my friend.
Tell us about your first job? Has it shaped where you are today?
Working on the farm for my dad. He gave me the choice of cash or a pig. I took the pig. It turned out to be a smart decision; that pig paid for my first car. It also taught me about immediate gratification versus waiting for bigger rewards. I still like that immediate stuff, but know I can wait and work for the bigger reward.
Do you have a favorite part about coworking?
When you get the opportunity to sit with other like minded people and share ideas.
What is your go to pump up song?