Spotlight: Idoia

By Idoia Gkikas

Sorry guys, no nicknames. You’ll just have to learn how to pronounce my name.

Idoia Internal

At the age of four, I picked up a pen and scrawled my very first grammatically complete, yet existentially inscrutable sentence:

“I ape Idoia.”

Unfortunately, I’d written it in my passport. My mom wasn’t too thrilled.

Did my early inclination toward writing foreshadow my career? Maybe. Like my mother and grandmother before me, I read voraciously and have rosy memories of my mom taking me to used bookstores to browse dusty stacks. I got a typewriter when I was nine and that opened the floodgates. I wrote short stories and long stories, by typewriter and by hand. There was a constant novel unfurling in my brain. 

As precocious a child as I was, I rebelled wildly in high school, graduating in the bottom 5% of my class. Kids like that either sold drugs or enrolled in community college. I opted for the latter (much to my mother’s relief — sorry about all that, Ma). When it came time to apply to a four-year college, I hastily scanned the list of possible majors and checked the only box that looked even remotely appealing: English.

I attended Cal State Long Beach, then earned a scholarship to the University of Florida to complete my master’s. I had wild dreams of becoming a sought-after college professor or perhaps a high-powered book editor. I wanted to discover the Next Great Novelist. I wanted to shape and inspire creativity. I wanted to sit behind a massive wooden desk surrounded by stacks of manuscripts brimming with publishing potential. I wanted to share my love of reading and books with the world! 

I also wanted to pay the rent. 

So I landed a job as a web editor right out of grad school and realized that the then-nascent digital content sphere was a more viable career path — and a helluva lot more fun than dealing with Ivory Tower types or the collapsing print industry.

En route to my position at Focus Lab, I worked as a managing editor, a marketing coordinator, and the web editor for Florida’s tourism website — a fortuitous position that set me up for nearly a decade of successful freelance work while I stayed home with my four children. Now, as a brand writer, I get to do a little of everything that brings me personal and professional fulfillment — reading, writing, research, and analysis — and I get to do with an inspiring team and company that values creativity, passion, transparency, and humor.