We had the good fortune of connecting with Adrienne Moch and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Adrienne, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I was born in Chicago and raised in its northern suburbs. I didn’t know it at the time, but my family was “house poor.” My parents wanted us kids to go to great schools, so they sacrificed to live where we did. My dad was in the education field; he was a high school teacher when I was born, and worked two other part-time jobs to make ends meet. When my youngest sister started school full time, my mom started working, something that was quite unusual where we lived back then. I share this to demonstrate the kind of values that were instilled in me at an early age, specifically the need to work hard to build a good life for yourself. We earned our allowance — it wasn’t just given to us. And unlike many of our friends, we weren’t handed the keys to a car when we got our driver’s licenses or spoiled in any way. My dad wouldn’t even let me get my license until I got a job. My parents did buy me a 1973 VW Beetle the summer before my junior year of college (1979) for $1,000 — but I paid them back every cent. All these early experiences define the way I think about money. It’s something I need, but my life doesn’t revolve around it — I don’t feel what someone earns in any way reflects who they are as a person. Being rich has never been a goal for me; I want to live a comfortable life and have enough to be able to give back to others who aren’t as fortunate. One other experience I had as a 6th grader seems especially important today. We did a one-week “exchange” with a middle school in Evanston, the only northern suburb at the time that was integrated. I clearly recall that we were so far ahead of these kids, we were unable to use their books. I’ve never forgotten that everyone does not get the same start in life. My father told me a long time ago — when I was frustrated at my one and only corporate job — that I’d probably never be truly happy until I was my own boss. I never even considered working for myself back then. It’s one of my biggest regrets that he did not live long enough to see me become a freelancer. Even though he’s not here anymore, I try to live my life in a way that would make him proud. He went from being a six-year-old immigrant with no English skills to a respected college administrator with a Ph.D. — and his true joys in life were my mother and his three girls. That is wealth to me.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I knew from an early age that I wanted to be a writer. After earning a degree in political science/journalism and honing my craft as an editor on my university newspaper, I began my career as a newspaper reporter. I made a horribly low salary, but what was important to me was doing what I loved. At 25, I was chosen to fill an open position as the editor of a weekly newspaper. That experience showed me I was a good leader — a natural leader, perhaps, since I’d never had any formal training or even taken a business class. After coming to the decision that I didn’t want to remain in journalism for the long term, I accepted my one and only corporate position at an international firm that operated water and wastewater treatment plants. Sounds a bit yucky, eh, but it was really interesting, working in the marketing area with responsibilities that included creating a company newsletter and writing/editing elaborate responses to requests for proposals. A few years into that job, I became frustrated with corporate politics — plus I had the chance to move to the state I’d longed to live in: California. I secured a job in the Bay Area with a small company that produced company newsletters (printed back then) within two weeks after my move. I remember feeling a lot like a reporter again — but the pay and hours were better. About five years later, I was recruited by a San Jose integrated marketing communications agency to join its team. In addition to helping my colleagues with their writing, I quickly learned how to be a standout public relations person. In 2001, I decided to move to San Diego, and I was fortunate that my boss allowed me to work remote. Three years later, after doing a bit of freelance work on the side, I took the brave step of leaving my job to go freelance full time. The rest, as they say, is history. With all that said, I’ll get to the questions. Was it easy? Not really, but I’ve always been driven to do well professionally, and believe that always came through whether I was interviewing for a position or on the job. What sets me apart from others is my genuine love for what I do — and I’m most proud of the fact that I’ve been able to support myself as a freelancer for 16 years. Some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way are that there are no shortcuts to success — you have to work hard — and there is great value in both what you know, and who you know. What I want the world to know about me is that my greatest joy is helping people. I’m fortunate to have a talent many others lack, and I enjoy putting it to work for their benefit.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
This is a tough one for me, since I usually do things on the fly rather than doing elaborate planning. And, I assume we are talking about a world in which COVID-19 is not present. Coronado is probably my favorite place to take folks from out of town; it has the feel of a vacation town. In addition to some great beach walking, there are plenty of good places to eat on Orange Avenue — and visitors always want to check out the Hotel Del Coronado. I actually like to hang out on the other end of Orange Avenue, in the park that offers a wonderful view of downtown San Diego. La Jolla Village is also a great spot for a day, especially for someone who loves to shop (which is not me). Lunch at George’s on the Cove is always nice, and I’ll never say no to a great walk along the water. Del Mar is another of my favorites, especially the little park on the ocean near two great restaurants: Poseidon and Jake’s. Balboa Park has tons of things to do, including lunch or dinner at the Prado. From visiting museums to just people watching, you can easily spend a day there. Catching a Padres game at Petco Park would be a must-do during the season. Although I’m not a big fan of the Gaslamp, most people who visit want to go there, so that could be combined with an afternoon or evening of baseball. There’s a cool restaurant adjacent to the stadium and the trolley line that often has live music — can’t recall its name, but that might be a good spot to check out. In addition to those activities, I’d check out events happening during her stay — maybe something in Little Italy, or a play downtown.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My shoutout has to go to the person who was my biggest cheerleader until the day he died: my dad. The oldest of three girls, I realized at 5 years old — when I had two younger sisters — that if I wanted parental attention, I needed to focus on my father rather than my mother. I was a daddy’s girl from that day forward. His death at 69, when I was 42, left a hole in my heart that will never be filled.