I’ve always found joy dreaming up ideas, conveying the meaning behind something, and sharing others’ stories with the world. I got my start early, writing and making magazines for the neighbors and documenting family trips.
My career has been shaped by mentors and late night learning. At college I soaked up photography, psychology, communications and graphic design. Focusing on just one would have been a betrayal to what I wanted, like choosing just one freshly baked donut from an overfilled display case. So, I inhaled dark room chemicals, glued my butt to the computer lab chair, and hung out with my lab rat Smalls (whom I later adopted). I began second shooting weddings with Ben, an admissions office employee, who showed me unique ways to digitally edit photos and inspired me to earn income doing something I loved.
While whipping up lattes and perpetually burning my arms on a small sandwich and pizza oven, I met Mark Bird–a design teacher who also had his own agency right next door. I'd make him a pizza and we'd talk briefly about design. I started going over and seeing what projects he was up to, which led to mopping the floors, cleaning the toilet, and a design mentorship. He gave me crash courses in Quark, showed me mock-up tricks like how to side stitch a booklet using a phone book, and taught me to pay scrupulous attention to detail.
In the middle of building my portfolio and slinging sandwiches, I got married to my best friend, Brad, and planned a move across the country to Seattle. Mark helped me create a print campaign to market myself to Seattle area agencies; I researched, wrote and mailed a series of postcards on our road trip from MI to WA, then followed up multiple times with over 100 agencies. Mark was the catapult of my career.
Because of the postcards, Mirko & Julie, the owners of Copperfin, graciously offered to view my portfolio, and there began my first full time career in graphic design. Copperfin and the clients became family to me, and I still think of them this way. I got to work on so many unique projects, with one of my favorites being Zoolights at the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma each holiday season. At Copperfin, I grew into an art director by day, while working nights and weekends on my own photography business.
Another move, this time to Lynden, WA, a Canadian border town, brought me into full time agency ownership out of a tiny closet turned home office. But hey, it had a window! I became a mom in Lynden, and I also did some of my very best work in that 100 sq feet of space, proving to myself that I was capable of big things.
A few years ago, we moved cross country again. A new office space in downtown Leesburg, VA is a dream fulfilled, and gives me the ability to leave the stresses of home and chores behind, meet clients in a comfortable space, and collaborate with local businesses.
While I miss the PNW, I'm loving exploring all that the Right Coast has to offer: hiking the Appalachian Trail, camping in the rolling hills of PA, taking my daughters' Girl Scout troop on adventures, and learning more about our Nation's history in DC.
Over the course of my career I've had the privilege of working across a diverse range of industries, each with different needs. But my mission always remains the same–creating and becoming the voice, the design, and the biggest champion of each brand.