Interview by Sarah Shumick
A true creative, Derek DuPont currently serves as Brand Lead for Acceptd. His career path has taken him through radio, events, and the founding of a nonprofit that supports local musicians (he’s also a DJ!) DuPont loves the creative and collaborative energy in Columbus, and enjoys coffee and bourbon at some great local spots. He and his wife, Tessa, started The Wild Path, a creative marketing and events studio that DJ’s weddings, as well as books and coordinates festivals and events.
Give us a snapshot of your career path, including past employers and positions: I’ve had a bit of a whirlwind career path, but it’s always centered around marketing, music and community building. I got my start with CD102.5 as a marketing manager and Event Marketing Strategies as a field marketing supervisor while simultaneously co-founding the Columbus Songwriters Association (501c3) to support local musicians and generate opportunities in the arts. I then joined the Independents’ Day Festival team to direct music for the last couple years of the festival. My path soon lead me back to my alma mater to manage social media for the Ohio State University for a few years, #GoBucks. In 2015 my badass wife, Tessa, and I launched The Wild Path, a creative marketing and events studio that DJ’s weddings and books/coordinates festivals and events on the weekends. And most recently, I joined the all-star team at Acceptd as Brand Lead.
What’s new and exciting at Acceptd? Glad you asked! We just wrapped up a full rebrand and launched an entirely new website, which has been a major project for my team the past few months. Over the next few quarters, we will be announcing new partnerships and services that support our mission to be the #1 centralized resource for the arts industry.
What gets you up in the morning? And what gets you through the workweek? Let’s be honest, I wake up for the coffee. But, once I am caffeinated I get after my mission of fostering meaningful connections, generating wild ideas and bringing them to life. Spending time with Tessa and family, maintaining a consistent work out schedule, reading lots of books and sipping good bourbon typically fuel me through the week, and weekend for that matter.
What are some of your work-life balance challenges? How do you achieve success in spite of the hustle and bustle? I am a believer in staying firm in your work-life boundaries and communicating clearly with coworkers/clients on these boundaries. Since I have taken charge of my own schedule and priorities instead of letting my life be ruled by my email, phone calls and social media, I have achieved a solid work-life balance.
What do you do or where do you go to unwind? Happy hours are my love language. In my opinion, The Pearl has one of the best happy hours in the city. You can find me and Tessa in the window seat with a manhattan, french fries, oysters and wings after a long day … or maybe right now.
When you were a kid, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up? I always wanted to be the stereotypical rockstar. I still haven’t quite put this dream to rest …
Read any good books recently? My favorite book I’ve read this year is Linchpin by Seth Godin. There are thousands of mantra quotes in the book but I’ll just share one. “Artists are people with a genius for finding a new answer, a new connection, or a way of getting things done.” I mean come on, if that doesn’t make you want to go out and get after it!
What are among the top places you’d recommend to someone who is visiting or new to Columbus? Alright, I’ll give a quick “best of” in my opinion.
Best tacos: Cuco’s
Best patio: Land Grant
Best coffee shop: Mission
Best cocktails: Citizens Trust
Best breakfast: Wildflower Cafe
Best gluten-free goods: Cherbourg
Tell us about an initiative(s) or organization(s) you are most passionate about and/or involved with: I am most passionate about the current efforts around neighborhood empowerment and Smart Columbus, and specifically how the two initiatives overlap. We have a huge opportunity as a growing and thriving city to utilize technology to tackle issues around mobility and open up entirely new and equal opportunities for people in every neighborhood.
If someone were to ask you what the “pulse” of Columbus is, what would you tell them? Creativity and collaboration. We truly are a welcoming and empowering city for creative people and creative thinking. There are many organizations that support innovative ideas and our startup scene is at an all-time high. The energy around collaboration and new ideas in our city is contagious and it’s drawing people in from all over.