Here we are, one year into my journey at Rainbows United as Marketing Specialist. My name is Isaac Penner, and for the past 12 months I have been the man behind the screen for what you see with the Rainbows’ corporate brand. Rainbows has created an impeccable place for me to express my creativity while simultaneously impacting the lives of those in need for the better. What an honor and blessing it has been to be able to meld these two facets of my life into one role.
I come from a marketing background, graduating just recently from Friends University with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing as well as a bachelor’s in Business Administration. Having previously worked for a large marketing firm as a web development project manager, I have long dabbled in the world of web design and graphic design. Now at Rainbows, I get to exercise nearly every avenue of my marketing mind to help create content and promote the Rainbows’ brand. I have my hands on social media, promotional graphics, shooting and editing videos sharing family stories, web design and development, email chain design, analytics, as well as photography. Being able to branch out to the ends of the marketing spectrum has pushed and challenged me to excel in many fields that I am somewhat new to. This keeps me thinking, learning, and moving forward in my day-to-day life.
Having started with Rainbows in October of 2019, my “normal” office style life was short-lived before COVID-19 hit in March 2020. Along with quite literally every other working member of society, my professional life was flipped upside down. Moving our fundraising events to an online platform may sound quick and easy on the surface, but the amount of work that our team had to do to make this a successful conversion amazed and impressed me. The marketing world was forced to jump 10 years into the future, seemingly overnight.
While the pandemic has countless negative unforeseen consequences, the silver lining is that it has helped us learn how to connect with one another from our homes in a way that mimics human contact. Finding ways to engage with new and returning audiences is a challenge that I find intriguing and thought provoking. While this has not been easy, Rainbows has risen to the occasion, having kept full staff, and adapting to the ever-changing world seamlessly and elegantly. I am proud to be a member of the Marketing and Communications team that helps make this possible.
A huge reason why I love my job is the day to day responsibility fluctuations. Not once have I done the same thing two days in a row. This fits my work style quite well. Having been working remote for the past 8 months, my creativity is conducted from my living room. Roughly once a week I will pack up my gear and venture to either Kids’ Point or Kids’ Cove to do some sort of photo/video shoot. The rest of these days are usually spent editing and putting finishing touches on videos.
Other days are spent in graphic design software creating graphics to use on social media, or for print materials that are sent out to families and donors. I also work to keep our website up-to-date and functioning properly. My favorite part of my job is working directly with children either doing photography or videography. Seeing faces light up when I walk in with a camera MAKES MY DAY. Being able to capture what I get to experience firsthand, and create content that shares the experience with the world, is a unique and rewarding task.
In my free time, I have a plethora of hobbies that keep me busy. I play trumpet in a few local bands that perform around the downtown Wichita area (pre-COVID). I am a huge jazz nut, and enjoy listening and playing standards from the greats like Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker and Ella Fitzgerald. I am also an avid hiker. Six to seven times a year (typically during summer months) I travel to Colorado on the weekends to climb mountains. My goal is to climb all 58 fourteeners (mountains that are above 14,000 feet in elevation) before I turn 30.
I am the youngest brother in a family of 4. My brother lives in Vermont and is an ecologist for a carbon offset provider. My father is a science teacher and my mother is a dietitian.
Read Isaac’s story here.