As one of the founders of Stevie & Fern, a boutique agency specializing in brand strategies in St. Petersburg and named after two cats, Thomas Paterek is in the business of telling stories. He loves finding unique ways to shine the spotlight on his clients, which run the gamut from small local nonprofits to startups to established global brands, and being able to do it from a city he loves is just icing on the cake. He's looking forward to seeing what the future holds as we emerge from the pandemic. He's certain there will be plenty of great stories to tell.
Years in St. Pete
Organizations involved in
I’m involved in a lot of organizations. My top three favorite are the Surfrider Foundation – I’m the current chair and I’ve been working with them going on almost 20 years at this point since I was in college. Another amazing organization I’ve had the opportunity to work with is CASA, which provides services to victims of domestic violence. The third would be Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties.
What gets you out of bed every day?
Other than my dog, Kojak the boxer who likes to stare at me for about 20 minutes before i get up, I would say an innate curiosity on how the day is going to unfold. I put myself in a position to surround myself with really great people I can communicate and solve problems with every day.
Why St. Pete?
When I moved here, St. Pete was on the cusp of becoming a challenger city, and when I say a challenger city, I mean all the places that everyone in major metropolitan areas are leaving at this very moment to live more fulfilling, authentic lives with closer-knit communities, more small business support and a really good sense of daily life – St. Pete really represents all those things that are really important to me.
What is one habit that you keep?
One weird habit is that I’ve had for about four or five years is pulling tarot cards. In times when things can be confusing, unclear or uncertain i really enjoy pulling a tarot card from a tarot card deck and sitting down in silence and understanding what the universe is providing in the moment.
Who are some people that influence you?
Anyone with a sense of curiosity influences me, but one person i think is an incredible human being and is really inspiring not only as a business professional but also as a community activist is Deana Hawk from Black Crow Coffee. The way she treats her employees, her customers and the environment – all these things a lot of people like to talk about, but she walks the walk so she’s very inspiring and extremely humble. You won’t ever hear her shouting about it, and to me that shows a true successful person.
What is one piece of insight - a book, methodology, practice - that you would share with our readers?
I like to create mantras for myself in certain spaces of my life. My most recent is a Deepak Chopra quote which is “in our willingness to give that which we seek, we keep the abundance of the universe circulating in our lives.”
What is one thing you wish you knew about your work 3 years ago?
That it is a really good decision to create a virtual workspace because you’ll be hitting a pandemic in three years. Don’t have a ton of overhead, keep yourself as lean as possible, build a beautiful workspace that you enjoy and are inspired to work in so that when shit hits the fan, you’re going to be OK.
Surviving 2020. After that, telling some really amazing stories of what’s happened in the last year and how as dark as it might have felt for a lot of those moments, to see how much we’ve all learned and grown in this transitional time in human existence, and how we all became better because of it.