We’re thrilled to end 2018 on a high note by adding a new member to our Status Forward family. Leah Quintal brings a wealth of digital marketing experience to our team. From search engine optimization to content strategy, Leah has a track record of making the internet “easy” for clients across diverse industries. Here’s a little Q&A to share a glimpse into Leah’s world.
SF: Where are you from? What’s your background?
LQ: I’m from a small town in western New York near the Finger Lakes. I originally moved to Asheville for school at Warren Wilson College. At the time, I didn’t even know Asheville was in the mountains! I was interested in schools with alternative approaches to education, applied to several around the country (without visiting), and decided to go wherever I was offered the most money. Best decision ever.
At Warren Wilson, I pursued both English and environmental science. After school, I spent time at the US Fish and Wildlife Service and then returned to Asheville to pursue a solar energy initiative in Haiti. I’ve always been an environmentalist and interested in conservation work. But ultimately what I learned is that conservation doesn’t work unless you know how to reach out to and engage with your audiences and stakeholders online. That realization is what ultimately led me to pursue SEO and digital marketing.
SF: What’s something about SEO you feel is widely misunderstood?
LQ: I think many people have a pretty limited understanding of what SEO includes. SEO is no longer a simple keyword game. True SEO-driven strategies consider site engagement metrics, which may be improved by design or well-crafted calls to action. They consider quality digital partnerships that build inbound links and referral traffic. They consider competition and the likelihood of earning organic traffic (because sometimes SEO won’t be the right investment). Most importantly, true SEO strategy considers and works towards your end game. That means learning what success looks like for your business or organization, and then reverse engineering to get there.
SF: What’s the one thing that made you most want to become part of Status Forward?
LQ: The Status Forward team is super great to work with, and I’ve had the chance to do so both through WordCamp Asheville participation and prior client project collaboration.
I am thrilled to join a team that is equally technically-savvy and creatively talented. Plus, Status Forward is dedicated to results, which means not just a pretty website, but one that can accomplish client goals. That is a true differentiator in the web dev/design field.
SF: Describe a recent adventure you’ve been on:
LQ: My sister came to visit and also invited several of her grad school colleagues. Everyone was outdoorsy, and most hadn’t been to the Asheville area before. I knew I had to take them on an iconic hike. We didn’t have a whole lot of time, so I figured it’d be nice to go to Max Patch and also have a picnic. The thing is, it was definitely going to storm. I explained to the group that Max Patch is a bald, and it was entirely possible that we would need to seek shelter and flee the mountain top if it started lightening. Everyone was still game! We had a wonderful time and bonded while sheltering from a storm in the woods. It was a great way to connect with new friends. And like it does, the storm passed, and we still managed to have a lovely picnic.
SF: How does immersing yourself in nature affect you?
LQ: Nature is my therapy.
SF: If you could go on a 3-day celebrity camping trip, which 3 would you invite and why?
LQ: I really struggle with these types of questions, so I’m going to try to not overanalyze. So first off, what camping trip wouldn’t be made better with any other than Sir David Attenborough! Cheers. Then, because camping trips with people you don’t know could be awkward, it’s probably best to invite some comedians. I’d ask Ilana Glazer and Hannah Gadsby. Two accents, two comedians, and two nature-lovers. Can you set it up?