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IM Creative Leaders Talk Being In Love and In Business As a Gay Couple

  October 31, 2017  |    #Make Money

Leading IM Creative Successfully

IM Creative was named one of the fastest-growing privately-held companies by Inc. magazine in both 2015 and 2016. Today Scott Ihrig and Shannon Morrison talk about working together as a gay couple, the risk/reward proposition of owning a business and their take on digital versus analog life.

Who is IM Creative?

‘Being together matters.’ This is the philosophy upon which IM Creative was founded. It also applies to the strong relationship between CEO and founder Scott and Chief Creative Officer Shannon, whose complementary skill makes them fabulous partners in both life and business.

Scott and Shannon explain how having a successful company allows them to support the causes they believe in and the importance of retirement planning in the LGBTQ community. Listen and learn how IM Creative’s company values inform their business decisions and the daily habits that help Scott and Shannon improve personally and professionally.

Listen to Queer Money™ with IM Creative:

Scott spent two years as a lawyer before shifting to a career producing shows for the Radio City Rockettes. In 2000, he stopped working for other people and founded Ihrig Productions. Shannon studied theatre and psychology at Yale and then went to grad school at NYU where he earned an MFA in Musical Theatre Writing. Shannon spent three years as an associate with Hal Luftig, working on Broadway productions like Legally Blonde, Movin’ Out and Thoroughly Modern Millie.

In 2007, Scott and Shannon met through an online dating site. Six months into their relationship, Scott was producing a corporate event for a pharmaceutical company and Shannon came along as a production assistant. They quickly realized that Shannon’s theatre background and creativity was a big value-add for the company that balanced Scott’s business acumen and ability to execute on ideas.

Together they rebranded the company as IM Creative and have since expanded to include offices in New York, San Francisco, Charlotte and Columbus, Ohio. Their risk has paid off, and their experience and knowledge will benefit you.

Topics Covered with IM Creative

How Scott and Shannon met

  • Nine years ago through online dating site
  • Both in NYC

Scott and Shannon’s decision to work together as IM Creative

  • Shannon had just left work with Broadway producer
  • Scott and uncle running Ihrig Productions
  • Shannon came along as production assistant for corporate event
  • Discovered complementary skill sets

Scott’s take on working together as a couple at IM Creative

  • Model seemed normal (his parents ran businesses together)
  • No work/life balance, just life

Shannon’s take on working together as a couple at IM Creative

  • Not particularly risk-averse
  • Appreciated Scott’s ability to communicate

How the episodic nature of the business made the transition to work together easier

  • Dipped toes in water (one project at a time)
  • Luxury to reflect after each event
  • Great connection from outset

The necessity of sacrifice in building a business such as IM Creative

  • Conscious of spending every day
  • ‘Choices don’t just affect us’
  • Responsible for 20 employees

The reward in compensation for the risk of running a business

  • Financial reward of doing well
  • Opportunity to live interesting life as successful entrepreneurs
  • Freedom to step away when necessary for personal reasons (e.g.: death of parent)

On being one of the fastest-growing privately-owned companies

  • Able to do things for community
  • Support causes, open doors to activists
  • Put money in ‘responsible places’

The importance of retirement planning for the LGBTQ community

  • Don’t have traditional ‘next generation’
  • Need more money to support in retirement

Digital vs. analog life

  • Engaging with others affords us experience beyond our own
  • Digital world limits those experiences (e.g.: in line at the bank)
  • Improvisational nature of pitch meetings increases authenticity

How Scott and Shannon seek to live their company values

  • Client focus, creativity, collaboration, excellence and authenticity
  • Informs employee reviews, hiring
  • Use to guide actions
  • Articulate to staff, clients (common culture)
  • Come with financial cost
  • Win future clients, opportunities

Shannon’s daily habits for personal, professional improvement

  • Break one rule per day
  • Not beholden to barriers

Scott’s daily habits for personal, professional improvement

  • Time, space for reflection
  • 90 minutes/day of CEO Time (i.e.: read, go on a walk)

Connect with Scott and Shannon of IM Creative


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