Spark or Sputter Out?

Good storytelling can be the spark that ignites an idea and fuels its trajectory. On the flip side, lackluster communications can be the blustering gust of wind or the lack of oxygen that extinguishes it. Whether you know exactly what you need and just don’t have the time or expertise to execute it, or are facing down a nebulous problem and need help mapping its edges and finding a way through it, I might be your match.

A Cultivated Career

It all started back when I was trying to sell handmade greeting cards riddled with misspellings to my bemused older relatives. But seriously, I’ve been compelled to write since before I had a strong handle on how many bars a capital E had. I love not just because I love the act of writing, but also because it allows me to connect with people the way nothing else does. Interviewing subjects, discovering patterns, arriving at the moral of the story or getting feedback on a piece–all of it illuminates corners of the human experience that would otherwise would be shrouded in shadow. Writing both satiates and feeds my curiosity.
Writing both satiates and feeds my curiosity.
This curiosity and this compulsion led me to study journalism in college (with a healthy side portions of graphic design, business and psychology courses. These just happened to be interests of mine, but by lucky coincidence, they also intersect nicely to define one’s point of view, to express it and to influence others.) After graduating Summa cum Laude from Ohio University’s journalism school at possibly the worst possible time to do so, I followed my heart to a small city in South Carolina and found my career footing in nonprofit health care. It wasn’t quite what I had fantasized about doing during those late nights of laying out the college newspaper or preparing campaign proposals in my public relations classes, but it turned out to be the perfect fit for my far-reaching interests and curious nature. When I moved home to Cleveland a few years later with a new husband in tow, I brought the idealism that sprouted in South Carolina, and it served me well as I continued my work in the nonprofit and public service space. I also continued to moonlight as a freelancer with my former employer to support the organization’s communications goals during a period of breakneck growth. Over the course of the past decade, I got to work on some amazing projects both in my full-time role and as a freelancer. I co-wrote a grant that earned a community health center $5.5 million in capital funding to build a clinic for public housing residents (and a few years later co-wrote another federal grant that secured $2 million in funding to test rape kits and prosecute cold cases.) I planned and helped perfect fundraising and community outreach events that drew hundreds of attendees. I developed employee communications materials to help engage and unite teams, handled media relations for sensitive events that made national news, developed training manuals and press kits and slide decks. I designed vehicle wraps and brochures. I wrote 140-character Tweets and thousand-word articles. While I grew into my career, it sometimes felt convoluted and perhaps a little haphazard, but looking back now I see that I was cultivating a valuable perspective and skills I can use to confidently guide organizations through widely varied challenges.

The Big Idea

When the birth of my first child coincided with a move onto my grandparents’ old farmstead, I decided it was the right time in my life to devote exclusively to freelance work (Oh, and laundry. And animal husbandry. And cutting grass.) When I made this transition, I had the continued good fortune of finding most of my clients within the ranks of my former employers, so while I’ve been freelancing for years, I didn’t have to do much to market myself. It has recently occurred to me, though, that this isn’t just a “break” in between full-time employment. I’m continuing to work (harder than ever), continuing to grow my skills, and deriving deep satisfaction from the projects I take on. While I don’t restrict my work exclusively to nonprofit organizations, I do carry a soft spot in my heart (and the skillset to back it up) for mission-driven work, and I can so relate to being fired up, stretched thin and in need of a trustworthy partner.
I can so relate to being fired up, stretched thin and in need of a trustworthy partner.
Freelancing fits my entrepreneurial spirit and my rabid appetite for problem-solving and creative expression, project planning and strategy execution. It also spares me the long commutes and gives me more time to clear my head and get my feet dirty. Some of my best ideas arrive while I’m gathering chicken eggs or painstakingly lighting my hive smoker. I am a firm believer that we need to make room in our days for inspiration. So I launched this site for three main reasons:
  • To introduce myself to potential clients
  • To help nonprofits and mission-driven organizations understand and navigate common communications challenges
  • To connect with other freelancers, especially other working moms
I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting projects, and I’d love to hear about yours.