Born and raised in Northern Michigan, my love for the environment grew from playing in the forests, beaches and rivers so unique to this area. At the University of Michigan, I discovered that I could combine my passion for environmental and social justice with my talents and love for art and design – to use what I’m good at for good.
In 2006, I helped form The Change, a brand strategy agency for “good-for-the-world” businesses and organizations, and was design director for 7 years. You can see more examples of my design work with The Change here. I continue to partner with my family at The Change as a design consultant to this day. Some clients I designed for with The Change include Canaan Fair Trade, Larry’s Beans, Fair Trade Resource Network, Not For Sale Campaign, Burt’s Bees, Trade As One, World Bicycle Relief, Jada Pinkett’s “Don’t Sell Bodies”, and many more.
Through much of my work, I have had the honor of sharing in the experiences and stories of people from around the world by meeting with farmers and activists on Fair Trade delegations to East Timor, Chiapas, Mexico, Ethiopia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Palestine. The more I travel, the more I realize that we are all the same -that we all need to eat, sleep, laugh, cry, love and be loved. I’ve learned that the true source of our joy and truth comes from relationships with each other. For me, that is the whole point of social/environmental justice: people. life.
I am also a life coach (I know, I hate the word too:) because my mission in life is to inspire and challenge others to come alive, use what they are good at for good, and find ways to live a fulfilled life in every aspect- including business.
My home is Traverse City, a town on the Bay in Norther Michigan that is overflowing with ideas, community, nature, culture, local food and arts. My husband Aaron creates films for good that express and support the missions of non-profits and other entities. stonehutstudios.com
“If my life were a flipbook, and some days it seems like it is, you’d see themes of learning, playing, building community and hard work. Early on you’d flip to a page showing a young kid swimming against the currents of the Susquehanna river or collecting bugs along its banks. With a few more flips the water changes to city and the kid to a young woman on a bike, cruising the streets of Philadelphia. This bike carried me to Temple University where I earned a degree in journalism, and to a desk as assistant editor at Friends Journal, a magazine serving a radical readership of Quakers out to change the world.
If you keep flipping, the assistant becomes an associate editor; the education morphs from university to laptop; the bike remains. Building from my experience in graphic design, page layout, and content development at the magazine, I started my own design business and found it demanding and creative and also allowed me the freedom to work with people and projects I found fulfilling.
The theme of taking risks to live honestly shows up frequently in the book: a choice to pursue the field of journalism with the desire to help tell the stories of those who don’t have a voice; a decision to foster and adopt children; and a choice to slow down my family’s life by moving to Northern Michigan all flip by in the book. Then, when the opportunity to join creative forces with Chelsea flips by I stand thankful, humbled by her trust in me, and the mountains we can move together.
The pages are blank going forward, but I’m sure you’ll see water, close community, honest risks and good design. The bike remains. ”
AARON DENNIS, Stone Hut Studios, Filmmaker.
NATHAN HAVEY, Thrive Consulting, Business Purpose Consultant
HOLLY SPAULDING, StoryHouse, Writer