If you’re a cut-to-the-chase kind of researcher, check out my Linked In Profile or read testimonials from a sampling of clients and colleagues to learn more about my experience. If you have a few moments to spare, here’s a bit more.
it all started with some skittles…
I suppose I was wired to be an entrepreneur from an early age. I started my first business in Middle School, selling Skittles out of my sixth grade school locker. The following year, I was the only certified Red Cross babysitter on the block with professional business cards. Fast forward several decades to when—shortly after my move from California to Oregon, and after more than a decade of agency, corporate, and nonprofit leadership roles—I launched Big Small Brands on my birthday in February 2010. The path that got me where I am today has had a few incredible pit stops, no doubt.
The first few chapters of my career story taught me some important lessons I still carry with me today. Among them…
Embrace opportunities, whether you’re ready for them or not. My first post-college job was temping in the publicity department for J. Crew Group in NYC—a dream job for any recent grad, which I landed somewhat by accident while hunting for a job that would (sigh…) put my History degree to good use. When my boss got fired, I had no idea what to do, but knew I wanted to keep the job. So, I started picking up her phone when it rang and pretending I knew what to do when people asked for help. Eventually, I figured most of it out, and of course made a ton of mistakes along the way. I was soon leading media outreach, product placement, and catalog promotions, but when I started to realize that the part of my job that fired me up the most were the philanthropic partnerships we were beginning to set up for our new network of retail stores, I knew it was time for a change.
Trust your gut. As tough as it was to consider leaving the security of a promising new career path, it just didn’t feel like “me.” So, in a move that made no sense to several close colleagues and friends, I left the world of fashion PR for nonprofit marketing. In my role as Campaign Director for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s brand new Team In Training Program, I was charged with helping grow a local, grassroots racing team into a national signature campaign. Here, I learned firsthand the power of cause marketing, corporate and individual philanthropy, and networking for good. As a relative newcomer to the nonprofit world, I was was lucky to have incredible bosses and mentors who helped guide my growth, as well as a personal connection to the cause I was championing, which inspired my work each day. I also ran my first (and, so far, last) marathon and got my first glimpse of what it means to be part of an innovative nonprofit leadership team—an experience that inspired me to join my first Board and to make a commitment that I would keep social good at the core of what I do, whenever I could.
Take leaps. In 1997, I was invited to join a team of early internet marketers at Citysearch, now a division of IAC/Interactive Corps, to help small business customers make the most of their first internet marketing presence. I was sightly terrified about the idea; I’d never really used the internet before, and it would be a pay cut from the nonprofit job I loved and was thriving in. But I had never seen so much passion for an idea as I did with the team who interviewed me, or a work culture that felt like home to me from the moment I walked in the door. So I took a leap and gave it a shot. Over the next few years, my roles included managing regional promotions, leading customer retention, and building revenue-generating partnerships with sister properties such as Ticketmaster, Match.com, and Evite. I then joined the the team at Edmunds.com team as Director of Product Marketing, overseeing lead generation, advertising, and media partner products for automotive brand clients and partners. These roles taught me a lot about delivering innovative customer experiences with limited staff and helping emerging organizations create compelling and engaging online experiences when they are big on ideas, but short on resources.
- Keep learning. While I truly loved the pace and passion of the dotcom sector, I was ready to expand my marketing muscles, to explore new sectors and solutions. So, I joined a global strategic branding firm, Siegel+Gale, as VP Business Development, where I led West Coast sales for brand strategy, identity, interactive media, and brand alignment services. I later joined the Kelton Global team as EVP Marketing & Business Development. These roles gave me experience across all areas of the branding and business development spectrum, and exposure to the ins-and-outs of nearly every business category under the sun. And I racked up a ton of frequent flier miles along the way.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! Big Small Brands IS BORN!
Shortly after my daughters were born, I knew it was time for a radical change, so we moved our family from California to Portland, Oregon, in 2009. Seeking a new challenge—and a lot less time in airport terminals—I took the leap and launched Big Small Brands on my birthday in 2010 with a clear and simple vision: help brands, businesses, and nonprofits evolve, innovate, and accelerate their growth.
From the get-go, I made a commitment to support nonprofit and community-minded brands in a variety of ways; over the years, this has included a mix of hands-on volunteering, pro-bono and preferred rate client engagements, and allocating a portion of client revenues to support early-stage nonprofits as they create and grow their brands. I also incorporate cause marketing elements into a lot of the work I do with corporate clients, and I often help match nonprofits with corporate brands seeking to grow their community engagement and philanthropic efforts. Since then, I have had the honor of supporting diverse causes and roles, such as:
- Founding Member, The Women’s Foundation of Oregon (2015)
- Inaugural Member, The Portland Ten, celebrating local social change-makers (2014 – Present)
- Executive Director, Schoolhouse Supplies (2012 – 2014)
- Inaugural Champion, United Nations Foundation’s Shot@Life Campaign (2012 – 2013)
- Founding Member, The Mission List, a community using social media for social good (2012)
- Portland Business Journal, Orchid Award Winner (2012)
- Oregon Delegate and National Mentor for Parenting Magazine‘s Mom Congress on Education and Learning (2011 – 2012)
- Family Engagement Volunteer, Healthy Child, Healthy World (2008 – 2011)
And more! Read a bit about my commitment to helping great causes connect, engage and grow.
Thanks for listening. I’d love to hear your story, too. Drop me a line to get in touch!