I am proud to know a strong female presence in the local marketing scene. One of Bakersfield’s biggest advocates, she’s not even from here. Hailing from Salt Lake City, Miranda Whitworth “could move back any time” (her words), but she chooses to stay in this place.

I am especially encouraged by women leaning into their professional careers in such a positive way. Miranda recently transitioned to a position as manager of communications and public relations for Kern Medical and is also president of the North of the River Chamber of Commerce, sits on the board for the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and serves on the Village Fest committee. She is a powerhouse mom; she exudes confidence. I interviewed her about everything from career ups and downs, to thoughts on being a working mother and her involvement with the new "Be in Bakersfield" campaign.

AS: What advice would you have for other working moms? You make it look easy.

MW: Don’t compare your parenting style to anyone else’s. You know what will work for your family and you know what you need to do to maintain your sanity or contribute, in your way, to the household. If it’s working outside the home, then work! Also, save your sick days for your kid’s sick days. It’s easier to work sick than find a sitter at 7:30 a.m.

AS: Your son is such a cool kid. Describe him in a few words.

MW: Zach has this crazy street style and sense of humor. I’m not sure if I didn’t pay enough attention to what he was watching on YouTube or if he’s been spending too much time with my partner (and soon to be husband) Matt Munoz. But he’s got the hats, the shoes and the jokes, that’s for sure.

AS: What’s your favorite thing about being a mom?

MW: I love the love! He’s not always going to be wanting to cuddle in bed and tell me endlessly on a Saturday how much he loves me, but I’ll take it while I can. Kids just love their parents and parents just love their kids. It’s really the best thing on the planet.

AS: How would you describe your job?

MW: My job is fast-paced, creative, detail oriented and totally rewarding. It’s easy to be a cheerleader for an organization that’s making the world a better place, and thankfully, my marketing jobs have always been with companies who are truly doing the right thing.

AS: Why did you recently make the move to Kern Medical?

MW: I always say that leaving TV for Kern Federal Credit Union saved my life, and it did. I spent five years building the marketing department and I have never worked with a better group of people. But it was time to challenge myself again, go somewhere out of my comfort zone, learn and grow.

AS: Do you enjoy living in Bakersfield?

MW: I live in Bakersfield because I choose to live here. I was born in Salt Lake; I could move back any time. My dad is Swedish, I could live overseas. Bakersfield has always been good to me, I’ve always been successful here and I’m so dialed into everything good that’s going on there is no reason so leave.

AS: Have you always liked living here?

MW: I’ve had my hard times here. I got divorced, I lost a home in the housing bust, I lost my dream job in radio when I was 28 and thought my life was over. I didn’t enjoy things a whole lot during those times. But that’s life, not Bakersfield.

AS: Why do you like living on the east side?

MW: Alta Vista is like the Oleander of the east side without the unpredictable pockets. It’s got all the charm of Westchester without the prices. Your neighbors will watch out for you but they won’t call the cops if your music is too loud. And it’s four minutes to downtown so if you miss the nightlife, an Uber is $6.

AS: You were recently part of the launch for "Be in Bakersfield," a grassroots marketing campaign promoting Bakersfield to the creative class. You were filmed describing your Bakersfield story. You said, “Be present in Bakersfield.” What did you mean by that?

MW: I think it’s time to stop liking Bakersfield because it’s easy to live here but hang out somewhere else. “Two hours from everything” is a marketing slogan that should be put to rest as all it does is lead people to believe that their best bet for the weekend is in someone else’s backyard. Spend your money here, spend your time here, be present here.

AS: Why are you excited to be part of this campaign?

MW: There’s a shift in advertising that’s been happening in larger markets that’s finally making its way to Bakersfield. The tone, the aesthetic, the digital tools, those aspects and more were present in the campaign and I really believed the project would put Bakersfield in a light that’s not only on trend but also forward thinking.

AS: What are your thoughts about the #MeToo movement? Does it encourage you? Do you think it has impacted sexism in the workplace for women?

MW: The movement is having a lot of impact in the professional and academic space, and that is great. But my concern is for the safety of women in the personal space. Domestic violence, human trafficking, violent transphobia, the high rate of victimization of women of color; these are all issues that the #MeToo movement has yet to truly impact. Even the lackluster laws regarding stalking are a sign there’s a big disconnect between women’s safety and the criminal code. According to the CDC, more than half of women murdered in the U.S. are killed by a current or former romantic partner. That’s a big job for #MeToo to tackle.

AS: And just for fun…

What is your greatest extravagance?

MW: The everyday extravagance is food and beverage. Quality eats, top shelf liquor, good wine that’s really become a major line item in my budget unfortunately. But if you want to get real, some people go to Europe, some go to Hawaii, Matt and I buy VIP Music Festival tickets and go “Jurassic Park Style,” spare no expense!

AS: What is your most treasured possession?

MW: I love my house. I saved all of my money, planned and schemed for years, bought it all by myself. It really is my dream home and to do that as a single mom was extremely rewarding.

AS: What is your favorite annual event in Bakersfield?

MW: Village Fest, and not because I’m on the committee. It’s always been the best.

AS: What’s your favorite new restaurant in town?

MW: New? Don’t laugh, but Grandma’s Tamales on Bernard has improved my neighborhood’s quality of life greatly. You can’t front on their Torta Cubana and their fresh juices.

AS: What’s your absolute favorite meal in Bakersfield?

MW: Depends. If it’s Saturday afternoon, you can’t go wrong with a bottle of wine, a truffle Sacchetti, and a large Giovanna’s salad at Luigi’s. But if it’s 2 a.m. I must have crispy tripas tacos and a quesadilla al pastor from Aldo’s on Union.

AS: Where do you take outsiders in Bakersfield when they’re visiting town?

MW: Breakfast at 24th Street Cafe, high-end vintage scouting at Vanderlei Art Gallery, wining at Imbibe, dining at K.C Steakhouse.

AS: One word to describe your current state of mind?

MW: Emboldened

AS: What’s your motto?

MW: Do all things with sincerity and for the right reasons.

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Meet me at the Tower? Local marketing guru, Mike Willis, walked over to The Tower Craft Bar & Grill recently with some fellow residents from 17th Place Townhomes. The Tower’s chef came from D.C., and I hear he’s great. I’ll be visiting soon for a meal on the patio - one of the prettiest in town, in my humble opinion.

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Second Saturday: Rumor has it that the monthly event in Eastchester will expand into the evening hours. It’s always fun to see the new map with events and participating businesses. Follow them on Instagram, @bakersfieldsecondsaturday.

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Comeback Cities: I’ve already ordered my copy of the new book (released May 8), Our Towns: A 100,000-mile Journey into the Heart of America, by Deborah and James Fallowses. Since 2013, the couple has traveled through smaller-town America, reporting on civic and economic re-invention taking place in towns outside the view of national media. The book chronicles their trip in a single engine plane and covers exciting developments happening in another Central Valley town, Fresno.

 

Anna Smith writes a weekly column about Bakersfield. She can be reached at anna@sagebakersfield.com. The opinions expressed are her own.

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