How I Got Where I Am Today...

I was the typical kid when it came to art and drawing - stick figures, random unicorns, rainbows and butterflies - nothing that would really show any natural artistic talent.  However, in 8th grade, I took an art class that heightened my artistic skills and the way I thought about drawing.  Our main project that year was a black and white pencil drawing, a self portrait.  Much to my surprise, when I finished, it was pretty spectacular (if I do say so myself!).  Throughout the self portrait project*, my art teacher would say over and over "Draw what you see, not what you know.".  For some reason, his words really hit home with me and made complete sense.    After my self portrait success, I took art class each following year, as well as photography.  In my 11th grade year, a representative from an art school in Pittsburgh came to visit us to promote their graphic design program.  At that time I never realized how many career choices there were in the art field.  Coming from a small town, rural community in Knox, PA, you just didn't hear about those types of careers.  The education and experience she was offering was a direct hit, I was hooked, I wanted to become a graphic designer!

*check out my self portrait, shown above, and in the "MY WORK" tab

My career journey...

After graduating from art school, I began my career at a local newspaper company, in the creative department, designing ads.  Working in that environment really gave me a greater understanding of applying my education to my work; from the beginning stages of the creative process to the completed print process.  After several years at the paper, I decided it was time to further my work experience.

My next career move was to a print shop, where I was their sole graphic designer.  I eventually learned how to do everything in the shop, except to run the press myself.  I did everything from designing to cutting down large skids of paper, even delivering finished products.  In the six years that I worked there, I expereinced the ins and outs of the design and print industry as well as how to work one-on-one with customers.  I learned how important it is to really listen to your customer to ensure you give them a product they are pleased with.  In business, your reputation to treat your customers right and to give them a quality product are two of the most important tools to being successful.

When I decided it was time for me to move forward with my career, I tried my hand at sales.  From radio advertising sales to sales for the print industry, I was determined to give it my all.  I was successful in sales because I listened to my clients and followed through with what I promised to give them.  I was more driven by my clients happiness and success than sales goal charts and spreadsheets. However, I didn't like pressure of being more concerned with hitting sales goals than with both my clients best interest and my own happiness.   Soon I came to realize that sales was not for me.   I burnt myself out.  I was grumpy!  My own husband and children even told me so! 

What’s more important - your goal, or others’ opinions of your goal?
— I found this inside a fourtune cookie during the time I was contemplating leaving the sales world. Coincidence?

My career epiphany...

In the late fall of 2014, I had some soul searching to do.  I almost felt like a little kid again wondering what I was going to be when I grew up!  Should I continue my design career or just hang it up and get a typical 9-5 desk job?  I knew that would never make me truly happy.  With the support of my family, friends, and a few freelance clients that I've had for years, I made the decision to get back to graphic design and to go out on my own.  They gave me the confidence and push I needed to just go for it!  I am doing what I feel is right within me, to get back to working one-on-one with businesses and organizations to help them put forth a more professional image and to be a valuable and trusted resource.

Blessed is the man who has found his work
— I found this quote inside a fourtune cookie as well, right before I made my decision to go out on my own. Fate?