Kent Callison's passion for parketing is as personal as it is playful.
Posted on August 16, 2022
As the director of marketing and community engagement for IMPACT Parks, Kent Callison relishes his role as the chief storyteller for a team that builds stronger communities and brighter futures, one park at a time.
Q: Kent, what's the best part of having a job telling people about the power of parks?
A: Most people think of a park as a place you go to spend a couple of hours on the weekend, where you take your kids to let off steam.
In my job, I have the privilege of finding ways to show them the bigger picture of what a park is. It's a shared space where people who would otherwise never meet come together -- people from different social circles, people with diverse backgrounds and beliefs, and people of different abilities.
Parks create this unique opportunity to write a new chapter in the story of your community and make a space where everyone is equal. In a park, people experience their similarities instead of their differences.
I love that story, and I love telling it.
Q: Who do you think about when you tell those stories?
A: We have three daughters, and our oldest, Abigail, has Down syndrome. The first time she played on an accessible playground, it was one built by PlayCore, the parent company of IMPACT Parks. I didn't know it at the time -- I didn't even work here then -- but I was getting a crash course on the transformative power of parks.
On that playground, she could play with her peers as an equal. I'll never forget how happy she was and how she was able to find a new level of independence. Nearly 20 years later, I still think about that experience whenever I share a story about a new park or playground.
Q: How did you end up in the parketing business?
A: I've always worked in marketing, but my move into parketing happened about 12 years ago. The president of GameTime, another PlayCore company, contacted me about joining the team.
He was passionate about their work and how they make life better for kids and families. I was intrigued by how he led with mission instead of top-line/bottom-line. He was equally passionate about the business side of things, too, but always in the context of the larger mission. I wanted to be part of an organization that is purpose-driven and mission-focused.
Q: IMPACT Parks is serious about measuring change. What does that really mean?
A: There are many tangible, measurable ways to see and feel the difference parks make. For example, you increase property values every time you add a park. You create a multiplier for various economic and individual health indicators -- more jobs, business revenue, active residents, engaged parents, shared experiences, and cohesive families.
Parks touch on what people care about most regarding health and wellness and create places of equity.
We want to see so many parks in this country that everyone could walk to one from their house. That mission keeps me going. I get paid to help make it happen, but I'd do this work even if they weren't paying me.
Q: Wow! That's inspiring, but you know your boss will probably read this, right?
A: OK, maybe don't put that last part in there.
Q: I like it, though. What if I just put it at the end?
A: Ha. OK, why not?
To work with Kent and his crew to craft your plan to transform your community through the power of parks, contact us at Impact Parks.