Creativity isn't something I possess. It possesses me.
As a child growing up outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I had several legit attempts at novels. I taught myself to sing by wearing out my mother's cassette tapes. (Remember those?) The toy companies wanted money to consider my board games - which was their loss. As a fourth grader, I took first place in my school's Cultural Arts Program, beating out the fifth and sixth graders in the visual arts category. By high school, I had moved on from drawing Disney characters to comic book heroines.
After high school, I enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh to major in Creative Writing. Yet life intervened and I dropped out after only one semester. It wasn't until several years later, in 2004, that I returned to college. Married and living in West Virginia at the time, I enrolled at Fairmont State University to pursue a degree in Business Administration. (I had been working in retail management, so it seemed logical.) However, I quickly realized that such an avenue wasn’t for me!
Committed to obtaining a four-year degree, and relegated to the area due to my (now) ex-husband's job, I literally flipped through the college catalog to see what other majors interested me. I came across Graphics Technology and, as I had been dabbling in web design and it appealed to my long-lost creative side, I changed my major and never looked back.
Prior to graduation, I acquired my first freelance client, author and speaker Cindi McMenamin. (Note: I continued to serve as her web and graphic designer for over a decade.) After graduation, I continued to foster my freelance business while also volunteering my talents at my church.
In 2013, after relocating solo back to Pittsburgh, I became the Webmaster for the Allegheny County Department of Human Services. Fourteen months later, I moved on to the county's Division of Computer Services, where I currently serve as the Web Manager & Creative Director.
In 2015, I relaunched my freelance business to target the DIY design needs of entrepreneurs and small business owners. The number of small businesses is increasing by leaps and bounds and there is a very real - almost desperate - need for the type of resources, services, and help my business provides. However, my motivation isn't simply to fill a need. I'm a natural encourager! I have a passion for helping people launch successful websites, branding strategies, and marketing plans - areas that I, myself, am passionate about and enjoy infusing with creativity and business sense.
When I’m not working, I take advantage of Pittsburgh's many cultural and recreational offerings (as I live downtown). This includes the city's various art museums, the ballet, and even a ballgame now and then. I also enjoy riding bikes on the beautiful river trails.
Oh, and I still sing!
Snag affordable, lifetime deals to various online programs and software.
Fantastic podcast by Katie Krimitsos! She interviews business women from around the globe, offering up the real stories behind their successes.
Create a custom PayPal link for invoices. (I then usually shorten it via Goo.gl.)
Brief books for people who make websites.
Jessica is a self-proclaimed "letterer, illustrator, and crazy cat lady." I find her work, speaking, and advice to be extremely inspirational.
Unique beauty tools and accessories that are pure genius and a real lifesaver - especially as a professional.
Free music from new, upcoming, or indie artists. Tip the ones you love!
Stands for "you need a budget." Great budgeting software; I've used it for years.
Yearly web design conference.
Pittsburgh web design & development community.
Seriously! You should!