On Mutts, Malts, and More: A Big small Talk With Donald Erceg, We Love Our Pets Co-Founder

depicIn today’s Big small Talk, a sequel to our previous post, we’re  catching up with Donald Erceg, co-founder of We Love Our Petsa new online community we’re honored to be helping launch this fall. Donald first dreamed up the idea on his deck with a bag of peanuts in hand during a daily visit from a collection of crows,  jays, sparrows, and squirrels. We’re excited to share a bit more of his story, and preview the new community, which is officially launches in October.  Continue reading

Navigating the Waters of Home Improvement: a Big small Talk with Mary True

mary-tongueWith the long days of summer coming to a close,  we’re taking a moment to reflect on both the great projects and partnerships that have been keeping us busy this season, and some new adventures ahead. Today, we bring another Big small Talk to our blog with a few thoughts from  Mary Tongue, principal of Mary True, a new consulting service that builds on her existing general contracting business. Mary was also the sponsor for our workshop held earlier this month, Gearing Up for the Giving Season. Thank you, Mary, for your generosity and your support of many terrific causes in our community! Continue reading

Big small Talk: The Dee Dee Jackson Foundation

ddjf_logoThis summer, we’ve been proud to dedicate our blog to community story-sharing series, which celebrates the work of nonprofit organizations who are  inspiring us to learn more, do more, and engage more—both locally and across the country. Today we are thrilled to catch up with a new organization we have gotten to know this year, The Dee Dee Jackson Foundation.

The Dee Dee Jackson Foundation was a founded by Taj, Taryll, and TJ Jackson,  along with Henri Hebert, an executive producer/showrunner, and a former ABC executive, Lillian Lim, while they were filming a docu-series for Lifetime, The Jacksons: Next Generation. I was introduced to this inspiring team by Henri, whom I met more than a decade ago through our work with Step Up Women’s Network. Thank you, Henri and team, for taking the time to talk with us today! Continue reading

Bringing Books to Local Families: A Big small Talk with First Book Portland

blue-line-speech-bubbleIt’s no secret we love sharing nonprofit stories on our blog, and finding ways to connect great causes with individuals and businesses in our community who can help them continue to grow. Today, we’re excited to talk with Stacy Owen and Nicole Sligh, volunteer Co-Chairs for First Book Portland.  I’ve been admiring their work for several years now, ever since my eyes were opened up to the critical role that early access to books plays in so many aspects of child development—both when my daughters were younger and through my experience serving as a Delegate for Parenting Magazines’ Mom Congress on Education in 2011–2012.  When I learned of the major disparity in the ratio of children to books in neighborhoods across the US, I knew this was an issue I needed to get behind. Since then, I’ve kept my eyes and ears out for organizations who are doing great work in this area. And so, today, I’m proud to feature First Book Portland as our cause partner for our August 3 workshop, Gearing Up for the Giving Season.  Thanks, Stacy and Nicole for taking a few moments to talk with us! Continue reading

No-Regrets Denim? Done! A Big small Talk with Qcut

Photo by Kathryn Elsesser

Happy April, all! We’re kicking off the month with a new Big small Talk with one of our very favorite new local brand experiences, Qcut, a denim company that makes jeans in 400 sizes. Qcut recently launched their Portland pop-up fit shop, which I visited last month. Wow! I had originally read about the concept during their Kickstarter campaign,  and in a few articles I’d perused on The Verge and in a fascinating read in The Atlantic on the convergence of fashion and technology.  Considering the many pairs of jeans so many of us purchase over the years—and pretty quickly move past—I became even more intrigued. Qcut’s goal is to “hit a sweet spot between bespoke and mass produced,” offering custom fit denim made on-demand. Today, we hear more from Qcut’s founder, Crystal Beasley. Thanks, Crystal! 
Continue reading

Mentoring Lessons from My Marking Path, Part 4: Show Up and Pay Attention!

Kristin-LuckAs we round out our celebration of National Mentoring Month,  I’m saluting Kristin Luck today, someone who has inspired me, personally and professionally, since we first met in 2008. At the time, I was working in a research firm in Los Angeles and was invited to attend a local networking event hosted by Women in Research, an organization she founded whose mission is to encourage the establishment of empowering and nurturing relationships among women in market research. Truth be told, I almost didn’t show up. Between crushing work deadlines, twin toddlers at home, and the distraction of planning my move to Portland, I certainly had enough excuses not to.  A friend even asked me why I would bother to attend networking events in a city I was about to leave. For me, the answer was simple: because life is a lot more fulfilling with a diverse community of friends, peers, and colleagues to learn from and grow with, and because building up my network of people I can turn to—and who can turn to me—matters to me.

So, I showed up, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.   Continue reading

Thank You, Mentors! 5 Lessons from Leaders I Love

Helping HandsAs our celebration of National Mentoring Month continues, I was thrilled to continue the conversation with Alexa Brandt  with some of the other amazing women I met through my Board experience with Step Up Women’s Network—and who have since become friends, colleagues, and trusted advisers to me in different ways over the years. Here’s what they shared about a few mentor-inspired lessons of their own. Continue reading

Mentoring Lessons from My Marketing Path, Part 3: Pay It Forward

Happy Thank Your Mentor Day, all! As we continue celebrating of National Mentoring Month with stories of mentor-inspired lessons that have helped shape my path both professionally and personally, I know that one of  the most powerful and formative experiences for me was joining my first nonheart doodleprofit Board. I got involved with Step Up Women’s Network, a nonprofit membership organization whose mission is to propel girls from under-resourced communities to fulfill their potential by empowering them to become confident, college-bound, career-focused, in late 2001.  I had recently moved to Los Angeles and was settling into a new job, and eager to explore ways to give back. What a phenomenal experience! I was honored to join the Board in 2002, where I served as EVP until 2008, when we moved to Portland, Oregon.

A true highlight of thAlexae experience was helping to hire and manage the organization’s first staff members, including Alexa Brandt, our first Program Manager. From our very first interview, I was inspired by Alexa’s passion, warmth, wit, and unstoppable energy. In her role at Step Up, we witnessed these qualities translate into incredible impact for the communities of girls and young women we served.  And while I was (more than a few) years beyond Alexa in my own professional path, I learned so much from her through our collaborations. Though we both left Los Angeles for new chapters in our lives several years ago, we keep up the connection thanks to the power of social media.  And so, I’m thrilled to catch up with her on the power of mentoring, through her eyes, today. Thank you, Alexa! Continue reading

Mentoring Lessons From My Marketing Path, Part 2: No Gut, No Glory!

chat-bubblesHappy National Mentoring Month, all! As I shared in our previous post,  we’re sharing some mentor-inspired stories, lessons learned, and resources this month from the many mentors who have inspired my path along the way. Today’s mentor-inspired lesson is one I actually knew, but lost sight of: trust your gut. Luckily, I got a powerful reminder of it just when I needed to hear it most.

wendy-kentI have Wendy Kent, Founder of Kent Employment Solutions, to thank for this one. We met in late 2014, as I was beginning to consider my next steps after transitioning out of a nonprofit management role. At the time, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by the various options ahead of me given the diversity of roles and sectors I have worked in over the years. From our first conversation, I was struck by Wendy’s honesty, and her direct, no-nonsense approach. I especially appreciated that she cut through the clutter of typical small-talk almost immediately and got right to the heart of some critical questions I needed to ask of myself before I could move forward.

kes-blueAs I began to consider her questions, I realized that listening to my gut would guide me a lot faster than fighting it—so, I did. Pretty quickly, realized how much I wanted to return to my core marketing and communications roots, and that there was literally nothing stopping me from doing so by re-launching Big Small Brands, which I had shut down back in 2012. When I met with Wendy to get her perspective on this idea, she beat me to the punch by suggesting it first. It was a relief to know that my inner voice was aligned with what others saw in me, too. I suppose, at times, your gut needs a sidekick. Thank you, Wendy, for doing just that, and for sharing these thoughts below! Continue reading