Ease your student supervision speed bumps.

Mary Doodles, a Doer Ready to Live Like Forrest Gump

This post begins the first of a year-long series, seeking out interviews with twenty people I am referring to as The Doers.  Webster dictionary defines a doer as a go-getter, achiever, dynamo.  I am adding to this definition as a person who passionately pursues purpose, while staying true to their authentic selves.
In the Doers Series I explore each Doers life, showcasing the highs and lows that make them relatable.  I will shine light on individuals that inspire me and I believe will inspire you too.  Twenty questions asked, along with a little of my own research and reflection on their personal and professional journey.
Mary Doodles My first interview was also the first name I wrote down the afternoon I came up with the series.  I have known Mary Gutfleish for six years.  My first impression of her was the kind of woman I want with me on a road trip.
The Doer Series posts will be longer, so I have added page breaks.  I really hope you’ll settle in with me (and Mary) for entire segment.  For those needing some more convincing, you’ll learn from Mary to

  • Say Yes More
  • Surround Yourself with Positive People
  • Live like Forest Gump
  • Find Projects that Feel Like Flying a Kite
  • Don’t Take Yourself So Seriously

Built within her fabric is the eagerness for adventure, along with the kindness of care to have a real conversation both light-hearted and deep in nature.  The more I have gotten to know her, the more I am drawn to her positivity, eagerness for life and willingness to evolve.
I adore this woman.
This interview series let me tell her in person.  The interview also gave me a further glimpse into her life, how she has overcome challenges, and ways she harnesses her talents by saying YES.
Her innate talent is what has recently brought her success.  Known to many through her online persona as Mary Doodles.  Those whom consider themselves avid followers are called ‘Doodlebugs.’  It just doesn’t get more adorable than that.
Below is one of her favorite (and successful) online creations.

In the world of online content, millions of minutes of videos are uploaded daily.  The trend (and hope) with those starting out creating videos is to produce consistent and quality videos.  Mary followed this from day one.  It is paying off.
I remember we went to our first VidCon together three years ago (a YouTuber conference where fans and talent mix in performance/meet & greet fashion).  It was here that Mary told me her plans to start a channel that she could showcase her artwork.
From there it has taken off.

Mary Doodles YouTube channel currently has 119,119 subscribers (found here), where she produces original content.  She also just started another channel called marydoodlestwo (found here), using more of a vlogging form of video production.
Before starting her channels, she began working on Epic Rap Battles of History as the costume director.  Just another outlet for her oozing levels of creativity.  Catching the YouTube bug, she starting her own YouTube channel and began creating a doodle series, along with Epic Rap Battles fan art.  The video below is the creation process Mary went through for one prop used to kick off Epic Rap Battles season two.

As the Epic Rap Battles channel grew, so did her own.  The challenge to keep up with both was tough.  Now she is focusing only on her channels.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Mary to ask a few questions, both silly and serious.  I choose to meet with Mary because I admire how she stays true to herself, cultivates her talents and, in my eyes, is a great example of an authentic human being.
I also have found, especially through the interview, she doesn’t take life or herself too personally.  Throughout the interview I found myself laughing with Mary as if we were at a fifth grade sleepover, minus the braces, Girl Talk game and boy band crushes.
Please read on, by clicking page ‘2’ below!

About Josie

I’m Dr. Josie Ahlquist—a digital engagement and leadership consultant, researcher, educator, and author. I’m passionate about helping people and organizations find purposeful ways to connect, engage, and tell their unique story. I provide consulting, executive coaching, and training for campuses, companies, and organizations that want to learn how to humanize technology tools and build effective and authentic online communities.

My blog and podcast have been recognized by EdTech Magazine, Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle of Higher Education. My book, Digital Leadership in Higher Education, was published in 2020 and was listed as a #1 new release for college and university student life. I have been growing my consultancy since 2013 and am based in Los Angeles. When I’m not helping clients lead online, you might find me training for a triathlon, spoiling my nieces and nephews, or exploring with my husband and our rescue dogs in our new RV called Lady Hawk.

I’d love to connect! Find me on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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Rebekah Tilley

Assistant Vice President, University of Iowa Center for Advancement

Rebekah Tilley is the assistant vice president of communication and marketing for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement (UICA). In that role she supports fundraising and alumni engagement efforts for the university, including its CASE Gold winning Iowa Magazine, and serves UICA in a variety of strategic communication efforts.

Previously she was the director of strategic communication for the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business, and the director of communication for the University of Kentucky College of Law. She is a Kentucky native and a proud alum of the University of Kentucky.

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