Born and raised in Southeastern Michigan, Tina Essmaker is a partner at Wayward Wild (W/W), an NYC-based creative studio that publishes original content for the web, print, and film, and is also cofounder and Editor in Chief of The Great Discontent (TGD), a print and online magazine featuring candid, inspiring interviews with creators. Prior to pursuing creative work, Tina earned a Bachelor of Social Work from Wayne State University in Detroit and spent twelve years working with runaway and homeless youth. After moving to New York in April 2012, she transitioned into freelance copywriting and community management before taking the leap to focus on publishing full-time.
What do you do best?
Yes, I’m an editor and writer—and I love it—but at heart, I’m a connector. I enjoy meeting new people and making introductions. I have a mental Rolodex of names, and I often think about who I can introduce—helping connect people who have similar passions and interests is very satisfying.
What makes you the best?
I’m more competitive with myself than I am with others. I think we’re all good at something—and I’m trying to be the best at what I’m good at.
How will you become the best?
Doing the hard work every day. It takes time, practice, and patience.
What are your aspirations: business & personal?
I don’t separate my personal and business aspirations. For me, they are one and the same. I aspire to be someone who cares deeply about the people in my life and the work that I do.
What fascinates you?
I'm fascinated by new experiences, traveling to new places, meeting new people, talking about new ideas, and learning. What doesn't fascinate me: routine.
“Run to the roar.” A mentor once said this to me, and it has stuck with me. It’s true: our imagined fears are usually bigger than reality. Run toward what scares you.
Everyone. I interview people for a living, and I’m intrigued by people’s stories. I think that everyone has something to say, if we’re willing to listen. But, if you’re asking about specific people who inspire me, there are a few: Veronika Scott, founder of Detroit-based nonprofit, The Empowerment Plan; Cheryl Strayed, the author of Wild; writer, director, and creator of the Amazon original series Transparent, Jill Soloway; and Roxane Gay, writer and author of Bad Feminist. Basically, badass women.
I have perpetual wanderlust. Even though I live in New York, which has so much to offer in terms of food, culture—and everything!—I can’t refuse an opportunity to travel. A favorite place I’ve visited is Thailand, and a place I really want to go to is Germany, especially Berlin.
The one thing I use on a day-to-day basis that I can’t leave home without is my Liebeskind Berlin bag, which I call my “business bag.” It is extremely functional, but great-looking, and it holds everything, including my MacBook Air, which I also can’t live without!
Learning! I joke that I would be a perpetual student if I had the time and money. I like asking questions—I’m very curious—and I enjoy having dialogue with others about what I’m learning or discovering.