Our offices are filled with a host of wild and wonderful characters. And while they all shine brightly year-round, sometimes—like a man howling at the full moon as lycanthropy courses through his veins—the change in seasons can bring certain traits front and center.
Such is the case with Creative Manager Corey Smith. He’s an invaluable asset no matter which month it is, but when October rolls around… watch out!
Spirit Week Personified
Every October, Pearl hosts an event called Spirit Week. This five-day extravaganza features fun events like a chili cookoff, raffles, fitness events, a costume contest, and a departmental decoration contest—all in service of raising money for the United Way.
While lots of people get into the spirit of the season, Corey takes his passion to the next level. He’s quite the handyman when it comes to building physical props and décor, and he uses Halloween as an avenue to unleash these talents upon the local community.
When I asked him why he finds Halloween so alluring, he flashed his trademark smile and jokingly said, “Because I like to make children cry!”
After a brief chuckle, he continued.
“In all seriousness, I love horror, monster movies, and scary stories. I think The Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean rides at Disney World really fueled my interest in special effects, prop building, and putting together immersive environments.
“As a child, I was mesmerized by the complete experience—the lighting, the sound, the slight fear of feeling as if I was actually in a haunted house or floating in a boat through a cave filled with pirate skeletons. I really enjoy and respect the art of creation, so I love making similar experiences with the same attention to detail.”
That love comes through loud and clear each year as Corey pushes his department’s Halloween decorations to increasingly ambitious levels.
And when it’s all over, you can often hear him talking about next year’s Spirit Week plans… sometimes as early as November!
Shining Through the Dark
With his certified obsession over all things spooky, you might think Corey’s other interests would center around the macabre. But Mr. Smith is an endless supply of surprises.
He has a genuine love for tiki mugs (with a collection that’s over 100 strong), and most days you’ll catch him wearing a Hawaiian shirt.
“I often look like a walking billboard for a Caribbean vacation company,” Corey laughs. “Hawaiian shirts are fun and people who wear them tend to make great company! They’re bright, colorful, and make you smile. Why would I not want to wear them?”
This philosophy carries far beyond his attire and drinkware. It’s rare to ever find Corey wearing anything other than a big smile on his face—even when work demands get taxing. So what keeps him in this perpetual state of joviality?
“Coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.” (Hey, he has to make use of those tiki mugs somehow, right?)
“Really, though, I love that Pearl feels more like a family than just a group of employees. The people here make our company a great place to work. There is a feeling of respect, trust, and a desire to see our coworkers grow and thrive.”
Born to Be Creative
Corey is much more than his job title, but creative manager actually describes his passions quite well.
Always a fountain of unique ideas and bizarre inspiration, Corey finds creativity to be one of the best parts of his job.
“I’m passionate about creativity and leveraging new ideas and approaches in marketing. I’m also driven to help our teams find that creative spark that’s inside each and every one of us, yearning to get out.”
One of the ways Corey puts this into practice is through his daily huddles. These morning sessions usually feature an out-of-the-box exercise or thought-provoking discussion to get his team members’ brains warmed up and ready to take on the workday.
As for his own creative endeavors?
“I’m currently working on an illustrated book called 50 States/50 Monsters. It will feature stylized illustrations of monster legends from around the United States.”
For someone so passionate about design and horror, nothing seems more appropriate.