“I believe that human beings are born first and given passports later. I’m really thankful for my journey.”―Alfonso Cuaron, screenwriter, director, etc.
A professor told me it was foolish to get a journalism degree, and much better to get another degree so I’d have something to write about, so I switched my major to economics and joined the staff of The Minnesota Daily. I wrote a couple movie reviews, but my main beat was student government. Once a week or so, I took the negatives of the pages out to Shakopee Valley Printing around midnight, sometimes later. I learned a lot on those drives from my good friend Larry King.
Writing, Journalism, Deadlines, Interviewing, Editing, Diplomacy
I interned at the Metro Monitor, a now-defunct newspaper of the Metropolitan council. My beat: transportation. We were pushing light rail so long ago that I laughed when it finally happened. Really, it was that long ago.
“If I’m left high and dry at the end of this journey, just taking it is a great feeling.”―Olivia Wilde, actress, activist, etc.
Erickson Associates was a small nonprofit that supported environmental groups. I wrote an article on a waterfall newly protected as a park, planned membership events, attended board meetings and even had one overnight session watch-dogging for the Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts when the wetlands protection act was passed. Walking home from the capital as the sun was coming, it seemed my life was perfect.
Articles, Volunteer engagement, Newsletters, Logo development, Board meetings, Lobbying, Event planning, Membership building
I was ready for something new, and perhaps idealism was fading just a bit. I worked at Colle & McVoy advertising in traffic, then account management on such glamorous accounts as Smith Beecham Animal Health—cows and pigs, and Supersweet feed for horses. My favorite memory? The time a prize raw pork chop was delivered via FedEx at 7 a.m. then lost—it was my job to find it and get it to the creative team for a photo shoot in less than 10 minutes. Done!
Agency experience, Teamwork, Motivating others, Account management, Problem solving, Proactivity
What about the exciting world of TV ads and, well, stuff other people recognize? Goal achieved: My first account at Campbell Mithun was Depend Undergarments. I did get to talk to June Allyson on the phone, and that was pure glamour no doubt. Later, I migrated to Healthy Choice, then new products and things were going well. I loved competitive analyses, guiding and presenting creative work, and working with clients to bring their vision to life.
Presenting, Competitive analyses, Budget management, Team management, Account supervision
Something exponential happens when you have the second baby, especially with two working parents. Perhaps the idealism swept back in, and these tiny beings didn’t seem like they should be carted back and forth daily to day care, or fall asleep at restaurants past their bedtimes. It was simply too much. My husband wouldn’t quit so I did. (Yes, we are still together, but I assure you it became a bit bumpy cutting our income in half.)
Prioritizing, Multi-tasking, Parenting, Baking, Cooking, Yoga
A couple days at home and my kids were my whole world. I taught them to bake bread (which generally amounted to them throwing flour around or trying to eat it), I cooked the healthiest food known to human kind, joined a CSA, and somehow learned of a preschool with a goat, bunnies, and porridge for snack. When Land O’ Lakes and Minnesota Public Radio asked me for help with brand marketing and sales collateral, respectively, I threw myself back into work, part time, found a good babysitter, and was happier than ever to have more balance in my life.
Copywriting, Presentation development, Business management, Corporate marketing, Branding, Sales collateral, Social media
Slowly, steadily, I returned to my journalistic roots, and, combining writing with brand marketing skills, I was able to transform brands through new stories, new language, and more. Essentially, I worked to bring brands to life for customers and employees. I wrote an e-newsletter, ethos statements, presentations, videos, and blogged twice a month on baking and cooking topics for the Land O’Lakes Test Kitchens. After 11+ years writing for Land O’Lakes, Capella University, Minnesota Waldorf School, and others, I realized I had indeed, again, become a writer. Cool.
Web content, Employee branding, Event planning, Development, Brand identity direction, E-newsletters, Blogging, Video
I don’t mean spoiled in terms of money, I just knew that they were approaching college and had to learn more about getting along on their own, i.e., without “mom.” Getting places, buying things, feeding themselves. They were both in high school, so I decided it was time to give them space and give mom time to focus on a long term adventure.
“My journey continues, because I’ve, you know, conquered a lot. And I know how to conquer the rest.”―Mary J. Blige, singer, songwriter, etc.
Life takes many turns, and this was a big one. I was attracted to the complex world of transportation and logistics and joined the writing team as Content Manager at C.H. Robinson, a $13.5B global company. Suddenly, I was writing about everything from flatbed trucks to supply chains, and soon I was managing an amazingly talented team of 5 designers and 3 writers. After 2 years, however, I was drawn back to the consulting life, yearning for the opportunity to choose my projects, use my full range of skills, and challenge myself. OK, I also needed more vitamin D and missed the flexibility of consulting.
Leadership, Management, Creative direction, Editing, Mentoring, Campaign development, Strategic planning, Content management, Content strategy
As of July 3, 2015, I am officially an LLC and back to work on content strategy, planning and writing, in all media and across all channels. In fact, creating new ways to build from and reuse content is a passion of mine. If something’s worth saying, it should be able to live in more than one place, reach more than one audience, and approach a topic from different angles. Yes, I’ve come all the way home to journalism, via advertising, corporate marketing, and freelancing. And it feels pretty good. Plus I can take a walk around the park anytime I need a little inspiration—research shows it generates creativity!