Molly Luetke is the accounts manager at Madhouse. Her portfolio includes the Toledo Opera, the Toledo Museum of Art, and Purdue University. For the past nine years, she has lent her creative input to her team and led award-winning projects, including over 40 American Advertising Federation Awards of Toledo. Luetke invests in her community as a co-organizer of TEDxToledo, a board member of Metroparks Toledo, and by volunteering for The Arts Commission.

Can you describe your perspective about your work?

My approach to my professional life has always been people-focused as opposed to success-focused which means that I’ll never make the most money or be the most successful person in the world. But that’s not what I value. I’m probably never going to be the big, huge level CEO with the big ideas and the big vision, but I get things done, I’ll follow up, and I’m going to show up.

How are you creative?

I take improv classes. I’m a huge fan of the outdoors. I try to go on long walks or runs like every weekend and a couple times during the week. I like taking photos of what I’m seeing. I’m trying to compile some of my favorite places and favorite photos that I’ve taken and align that with some of my favorite poetry excerpts to create a way to document places. I feel most in touch with myself when I’m in the outdoors. There’s like never been an instance where I couldn’t find a Mary Oliver poem that feels like it’s speaking to me. I think it’s a form of meditation.

Can you describe your career high and how you got there?

From a career standpoint, I said yes to things a lot early on. As soon as I was out of college, I said yes to volunteer for things. I said yes to new job experiences that came my way that I wasn’t sure about, and I took the risk anyway. I find that when you keep saying yes, more opportunities keep being presented to you. I’m not naive, I say that from a place of privilege as well. I do think that by not really knowing where it’s going but saying yes and being curious led me. Some things on paper, like awards, seem they should be things that I should feel very proud about, but for me, it’s more about following my internal voice. We spend so much of our time with coworkers and working. I feel like I love them. I’m in a place where I like what I do, and I like to go to work every day.

What are you currently working on?

The Toledo Opera is bringing a new show this early spring called Blue about a Black family. The father is a police officer, but the son is feeling a bit resistant—going to protests and speaking out against the treatment of the Black community from police officers— which is tricky because his father is a police officer.

What inspires you?

I love people. I get energy from people. I think people are endlessly fascinating. I get inspired by people who clearly have an unwavering purpose, a passion. They aren’t worried about offending people or what people will think. They’re going to go for it relentlessly and with so much intention. I try to be very diplomatic, but I’m a people pleaser, so watching people move throughout the world that way is inspiring to me—leading with courage instead of making decisions out of fear. I need to continue to strive to get to that point.

Do you have any rituals or self-care you developed during the pandemic?

I think I’m an up and down, hot and cold person, and I always wish that I felt more balanced. I like to cook for myself, but I think I feel like I’m doing something good if I am cooking and I’m able to listen to a podcast or music. Like, I’m going to stay home tonight and cook dinner for myself and be home alone as opposed to like meet people out for a drink after work. Being alone with intention and purpose—it’s needed to sort of re-energized and refreshed.

How did you choose how to invest yourself within your community?

If I’m going to live here, I’m going to invest in it, and I want to stick around. It is a responsibility. Hopefully, I’m providing help to these organizations, and it’s a way to meet new people. As adults, we stop forging new friendships, but if I meet a person who I like, I go out of my way to try. I don’t think that friendships should stop happening. Being involved in a variety of organizations allows you to meet new people that could potentially become friends. Frankly, it’s pretty it’s fun for me.