For the past 15 years, I have worked as a writer and strategy consultant for a variety of nonprofit and educational organizations including American Public Media, the University of Minnesota and Saint Paul Public Schools. Together, we have clarified goals, set strategy, and secured over $10 million from major corporate, foundation and government sources to support local and national education, communications and community development initiatives.
I began my career as a graphic designer/art director for Detroit advertising agency, the Ross Roy Group; then, worked as catalogue art director at Conran’s Design Group in New York City; and then, as art director for in-house publications at Tiffany and Company (also in NYC).
Later, as part of my early work in the nonprofit sector, I founded and ran Artworks Children’s Foundation, a pilot project designed to build civic, social and philanthropic awareness in children using their artwork as a medium for involvement in social change.
Artworks Children’s Foundation – “Children helping children through art” – young artists donated their artwork; we gave them Artworks Dollars (backed up by corporate sponsorships) and asked them to select one of five children’s’ charitable causes (food shelf, adoption services, clothing bank, homeless shelter and Project Headstart) to which they would like to donate their $$$.
Artworks kids helped hundreds of children in the Phoenix and Cleveland metropolitan areas in need of food, clothing, shelter, medical and educational support as well as provided scholarships to enrichment activities that were otherwise out of reach.
Galleries of the young artists’ work are on display at Phoenix Children’s Hospital and The Cleveland Clinic. The Artworks organization project also provided funding to youth outreach programs at the Minnesota Children’s Museum and the Walker Art Center.
I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree from the University of Michigan and a Master’s in Counseling (MC) degree from Arizona State University. Professional development activities include coursework in nonprofit management at Case Western Reserve University, and in educational strategy through Project Zero at Harvard University, Graduate School of Education. I have also recently completed a workshop in Facilitation presented by the AIGA at the Minnesota College of Art and Design.
Just for fun, I developed what I call a “vanity app” — an iPhone app based on a personal interest in gemstones/jewels that was sparked during my Tiffany days. Check out the back story on the Big Bling website.
Big Bling app – The Big Bling app features six cuts and colors of big sparkling gemstones that twirl slowly on the iPhone screen.
As a generally tech-challenged person, I worked my way up the deceptively steep learning curve on this entrepreneurial endeavor with the help of an exceptional animator (found him on YouTube — he lives and works in rural Germany) and a very patient developer/programmer to ultimately bring the app into the iTunes Store. The venture was, and continues to be, a phenomenal, multi-faceted learning experience, both in the area of mobile technology, and in the fascinating and exploding dynamics of social media and the Internet.