Written by Hannah Saulters | Photographed by Sarah Watson
At a recent event, someone called Lynsie Armstrong, the director of marketing at Highland Village, a “social architect.”
It is a term she has adopted with pride, joking she is going to add it to her business card one of these days. Fitting, indeed.
Armstrong has made creating community the cornerstone of her approach to marketing the newly redesigned Highland Village, from a vibrant content marketing strategy across social media platforms, particularly Instagram, and crafting events series, like Bend and Brew workout sessions and monthly trivia nights, that attract an eclectic range of guests.
“I spent a whole decade trying to get out of Jackson, but what keeps me here is the community,” she says. “I am for once really content to be here, to get to do really interesting stuff in the city and make it cool alongside people I really respect and care about.”
Not that she ever turns down a road-trip to Nashville or New Orleans (her dog, Nola, is named for the Crescent City); a show or a meal in a different setting are her favorite ways of finding inspiration for new projects at home.
The 33-year-old began working at Highland Village as an independent contractor in 2017, after stints working in elementary and higher education, freelance wedding planning and communications. Resolving to leave a dead-end job, Armstrong planned to consult full-time. On her first day of self-employment, Jake and Christie Franklin of Deep South Pops invited her to meet Masa Liles, Highland Village’s General Manager. She was hired on the spot.
A former theatre major, Armstrong’s approach to work and her personal life rings with enthusiasm and a classic improv approach of “Yes, and…” Her mind and her mouth move a mile-a-minute as she rattles off her ideas for creating more cohesion within the walls of Highland Village, as well as greater Jackson.
She notes concisely that Highland Village is still fighting the stigma of being exclusively for an older, more affluent clientele. By hosting unique events throughout the shopping center and consulting local, young professionals (whom she refers to as her “knights of the round table”) Armstrong has successfully created a brand that looks beyond the bounds of retail to fostering community in a fractured climate.
“I’d love to see the city’s modern-minded activists playing well with the Junior League of Jackson, instead of getting stuck in our silos,” she reflects. “The space has such a rich history and I think that element of nostalgia appeals to older, more affluent Jacksonians, but also to my generation. My goal is for Highland Village to become a platform for a diversity of organizations and creatives to showcase all that they’re capable of.”
For all the energy and excitement Armstrong brings to the table, these qualities are rooted in thoughtfulness and intentionality. Whether it’s working through a branding exercise for Highland Village or cleaning out her closet, Armstrong brings a conscientiousness to her endeavors, often informed by a word of the year. Last year’s was “celebration.” For 2019, it’s “adventure.” Who knows what it will bring, but the city of Jackson is lucky to be along for the ride.
“I always say when it comes to HV, the world is pretty much my oyster,” Armstrong says. “There is so much opportunity here. And with that there is so much opportunity in the city.”