We had the good fortune of connecting with Courtney Drake-McDonough and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Courtney, how do you think about risk?
If you asked some of my family-members, they’d say I’m not a risk taker. That’s not really true. I’m not a “danger” taker! I don’t get a thrill out of doing something that’s morally-, legally-, or life-threatening. In fact, I avoid those things at all costs. But taking some risks that don’t fall under those three categories are what advance your life forward. And I do take a lot of those in a variety of ways. I’ve taken risks with meeting people to make friends or connect in business. Shy by nature, I’m taking a risk of being rejected every time I reach out. But 9 times out of 10, that risk is well-received and ends up being really rewarding. In my career, every day I take risks in so many ways – approaching people for work, to advertise with me, to be responsible for other people’s hard work as I publish their articles, and as I interview them for podcasts, knowing they are putting themselves out there with me (their risk) so that I can deliver a podcast that helps them introduce themselves to the world. Overall, everything that isn’t totally comfortable is a risk for me. But if I didn’t take daily risks, I’d be standing still, accomplishing nothing, never growing, never advancing, and never knowing what I could have done.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I flip-flopped through several majors in college until one day I got an assignment in Creative Writing class to write about a piece of music and a food. I wrote a love story about a Croque Monsieur Sandwich and a certain piece by Mozart. The article was so much fun to write and I got an A+. That ignited the writing bug in me! The written word has been part of what I’ve done ever since, whether it was brief and catchy writing advertising copy, promotional writing press releases, or more journalistic writing for newspapers, magazines and websites. Writing thrills me. The writing and editing have come easily to me, actually. Having the responsibility of being a publisher is far less about power and much more about making sure I’m providing excellent media vehicles for my writing, my writers’ articles, my podcast guests, and my advertisers. What sets me apart, I think, is that I purposely go through life a little clueless because that’s how I maintain my sense of wonder. With that constant wonder in me about everything, I can write from a viewpoint of being excited to learn about what I’m writing about. Being clueless has served me well!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Given that I write about food, arts, culture, and travel, this is like asking me which of my kids is my favorite! I’d start at Stanley Marketplace for a wandering meal, getting different courses from different places and do a little shopping too. All independent businesses, under one roof, it’s a great way to get some real Colorado flavor. We’d go for a walk in City Park because it’s so impressive that there’s all this beautiful nature, the lake, and the critters but also the Pavilion (hopefully there’d be a concert going), the Denver Zoo, and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science all in one place. Another day, we’d hop on bikes and ride the trail downtown and just go as far as we could before wearing out. The subterranean path, with nature on one level, with high-rises above, is so unique. While downtown, we’d cruise around and see as many murals as we could, taking pictures in front of them so my friend could show people back home how creative and artsy Denver is. Of course, we’d have to go to the mountains for a day. Maybe Breckenridge, Frisco, or Vail. Each has a different vibe. Food-wise, I’d make sure we had gotten a mix of somewhere a little fancy, someplace with a great patio, a strip mall/mom and pop joint, and a food truck to show off Denver’s range.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Do I have to choose only one? My husband has been extremely encouraging of everything I’ve done. My friend, Chris Englert, is my example of how to be confident, bold, and make your life happen. And the book “You Are a Badass” has been life-changing in helping me get out of my own way, face my fears, and move ahead to create the life I want, which is a work in progress.
Website: https://ingoodtastedenver.com/ and https://www.realfoodtraveler.com/
All photos are by me.