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Mick Essex

Mick Essex is the regional marketing coordinator for South Louisiana for Vantage Health Plan. He is responsible for marketing and brand management efforts for South Louisiana region and coordinates overall digital media marketing strategy for Vantage and Affinity Health Group as a whole.

Mick moved here with his work but has quickly made his mark in this community as a creative, a giver, a team player and a thoroughly nice guy to be around. He is on the Marketing Committee of The 705, the Co-chair of Healthy Acadiana and is the starter of many interesting conversations.

Mick has recently set up his own side hustle (business), 146 Digital, where he helps other companies with social media — he wanted to help small businesses that don’t have big budgets. You can find out more at 146digital.com Go to the mission page and read the story about how 146 Digital was named — it will tell you a lot about the kind of guy Mick is. After you’ve read his answers of course.

What was your first job? My first job was bagging groceries at the local Piggly Wiggly in Tallulah, Louisiana,  in 1989. I was paid $3.85 an hour and thought I was rich!

Describe a typical day in your life. Without running on too long, I wake between 5:30-6am and begin my day with coffee and reading an ACTUAL book. I work from home so I don’t have typical work hours. I squeeze in meals and a workout in between emails and phone calls, then usually there’s a fun after hours networking event I attend. My evenings are spent working on my side job as a brand management consultant for my new company 146digital. I’m usually in bed by 11:30pm

What advice would you give the younger you? Judgmental people are jealous of what you have (not just materialistic stuff), don’t take it personal. They’re only showing you their insecurities.

What event in your life most shaped who you are now? It’s hard to pick one. I’ve had four definitive moments. My son being born. My wife abandoning us for a life of addiction when he was 4 (she’s doing well now). Moving to Lafayette. And just a few weeks ago, my dad passing away.

What values do you live by? I live my life with a giving spirit. Whether it’s time, money, an ear, a hand… I’ve been so blessed, I can’t imagine, nor do I want to know what my life would look like, if I chose to not give whatever I’m able, to those that are less fortunate than I. Give freely of yourself, without judgement or expectation.

What do you most appreciate? My family. It’s a large one. I have 14 aunts and uncles. As with most large families, we don’t get along all the time, but never once have I questioned their advice, their love and support.

What is your favorite journey? Three years ago I had practically no money for vacation, so I decided my son and I would go on a road trip, and the drive itself would be the vacation. Lame right? One of the best vacations either of us have ever had. We connected on some many levels (most importantly music haha), because our only distraction was one another. It was perfect. Now that’s all he wants to do every summer.

Where is your favorite place to be alone? Running on a country road. I can’t explain it. Between the connection with being quietly in nature, while also gasping for breath…it’s euphoric.

What living figure most inspires you? Gary Vaynerchuk (Gary Vee) Not only is he incredible successful, but his model for life is so inspiring. Be authentic. In everything.

What was the best advice you were ever given? See above. Be authentically me. Without apology. Look, people that don’t like you, will not like you regardless of whether your really authentic or fake, so why waste the energy?

What book would you tell everyone to read?

What is the best thing about where you live? This is an easy one. The people. I’ve only lived here 2 years, but I feel “at home” literally anywhere I go in the city. I will never live anywhere else.

How do you "let the good times roll" ? Downtown Lafayette is the center of my world. I find myself either at the Wurst, or Central Pizza or any of the other 100 places downtown almost seven days a week. There’s such a wonderful energy.

What did you want to be when you grew up? Haha, I see what you’ve done here! I lived on a huge farm in north La growing up. Flat farmland as far as the eye could see. This was before internet (or even cable TV) so I had very little concept of the mountains outside of the off-chance Dad allowed us to watch the show we wanted. It was so beautiful. The views and the creeks and rivers and the wildlife. I wanted to live there (probably Colorado) and guide families on their vacations.

What is your motto? Show unconditional love to everyone daily.

How would you like to be remembered? That I gave more than I took.

What do you say to yourself when you doubt yourself? Look how far I’ve come. I remember times when I had to write hot checks and pray they didn’t hit the bank before I got paid. I’ve watered down ketchup and shampoo to make it last. I’ve been on food stamps. I’ve been as close to having nothing as I ever hope to be. And yet, look how far I’ve come.

What three things are vital to BEing YOU? The ability to be creative (in every way). My alone time (for self-reflection and focus). Physical activity (for endorphin and dopamine release)

Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Hmm…probably “for what it’s worth” or “actually”.

What is your favorite word? Thank you. To hear it and to say it.

What do you collect? I collected baseball cards by the thousands as a kid (my granddad was a pitcher in the Major Leagues for the Chicago Cubs, and I played my whole young life). Now I collect antique books. My biggest prizes currently is a Bible from 1817 that has locations recorded in it from all over the world, and a 1st Edition Gone With The Wind.

What food could you live on for a month? Tacos. Simple.

What would you change about yourself? I had a very poor self-image when I was younger. I was overweight for most of my life and struggled with being comfortable in my own skin. I wish I could’ve changed that perception about myself at a earlier age than 33. Now…I wouldn’t change a single thing about myself.

What literary, movie or cartoon character do you most identify with? If I could “be” someone from a movie or show, it would be Don Draper from "Mad Men." Working in advertising/marketing in the 1960’s in NYC at the introduction of television is a dream scenario. I would love every second of that (minus the alcoholism and infidelity)

Describe yourself in five words. I am who I am.

What is your idea of happiness? The superficial answer is being completely debt free, but I think the underlying answer is simply worry free, or worry less if you will. I know it’s impossible to be free from worry (I have a teenager). I would say I’m about 70% worry free at this stage in life, so I feel like if I could make it to 85% (and stay there), I would be truly content and happy. But I feel like I need that 15% honestly, because it keeps me on my toes!

What is your favorite movie? My favorite movie is "Saving Private Ryan." My favorite movie that I could watch a million times and not get tired of it? Office Space (don’t judge me lol)

What music defines who you are? Oh geez, no way I can boil this question down. The music that speaks to me the most are the rock n roll bands of the late 60’s and 70’s. But is that because it’s what I grew up listening to the most? Hard to say. I feel like all music genres were mostly born during this time, so the short answer would be simply ALL MUSIC from the 60’s and 70’s.

What do you most regret? Not trusting myself sooner in life. They say you go through stages in life, and you do, but I’m the same me inside that I was at 5, 13, 22 and now 43. I’ve always been me, it’s just not always trusted me. And for good reason, at certain stages I wasn’t trustworthy. But I think being hypercritical probably stifled my opportunities at times. However, the decisions I did make, then and now, have brought me to the happiest place I’ve ever been in life. So, maybe…the answer would be No Regrets?

What question do you wish I'd asked? At what age would you like to retire?

What would the answer be? I’d like to retire (or at least not NEED to work) by 55. But I only have 12 years to go now, and it ain’t looking good LOL!