From there, in college, I moved on to FORTRAN, PASCAL, COBOL and C++ and designing and coding simple projects like hangman, chess, and musical scores. I think that's when I fell in love with what would later become known as multimedia design. I also had the privilege of working on a navigational program for the Navy when I attended Clark College for a couple of semesters. That was when I discovered that I did not want to grow up to be a programmer. I definitely had a more artistic and creative bent. I laughingly attribute my love of coding and scripting combined with a love of art and design, to the fact that I'm ambidextrous. Both sides of my brain need equal play. I say the same thing about my love of marketing research and analytics combined with my love of actually creating the strategy and the creativity I see as being a necessary part of the planning process.
I went on to Arapahoe Community College where I attained my A.A. with an emphasis in writing. I was one of four students to be honored with the Francis L. LaForge Certificate of Excellence in English while I was there. This is also where I was introduced to the art of Aikido. Aikido was the physical balance to my mental undertakings for a long time. I was eventually granted my Shodan (black belt) and was ready to begin learning in earnest. Unfortunately circumstances were such that I had to give up Aikido, and took up tennis instead. I learned a lot from Aikido, about dedication, loyalty, balance, working toward the best possible outcome and addressing the whole of a person. I bring this attitude to every project I undertake, and to every organization I have the privilege of working for.
I could see the wave of the future when I started my B.A degree and knew I needed something special in a degree. I was riding the crest of the Internet explosion and wanted to be involved. The standard degrees offered weren't going to encompass what my perception of a designer of the future was. That role I saw as requiring the skills of design (both digital and print), writing and public relations. I could see the necessity for a web designer to have the ability to both code/script and design; to be able to write copy on the fly; and to be able to handle some media scripting. With that in mind, I proposed, and wrote the treatise for, a new degree: Information Design for Modern Media. I was also being exposed to GUI and could see where education in what I call the "ologies" would be beneficial as it transformed from an interface to an experience, so all my electives were in cultural anthropology, psychology, sociology, and so on. I backed this all up with a minor in art. I never saw the social media explosion coming, though. This was pre-2004, and little did I know how pertinent all this would be to that phenomenon. I got lucky.
I worked as an on-staff graphic and web designer for an art gallery and an educational toy company and did contract work for architects, photographers, engineers, and book publishers, to name a few, while I was attaining my BA and found a natural evolution was taking place: my entry into marketing. This led me to enter CU-Denver's Master's Program, with a goal of achieving an M.S. in Marketing, which I completed in 2004 with a 3.65 GPA. I was very fortunate to have gained my degree from the CU Denver Business School, which is in the top five percent of business programs worldwide. While working on my M.S., I was fortunate enough to be part of the strategic communications team that undertook the OCM effort at RSA, a Global 500 insurance company. The contributions I was able to make there, and the experiences I had, continue to be a touchstone for me.
I took an educational break for a while, but found that it's simply not my nature to not continue academic pursuits. Since I received my M.S., I have received an invitation from the Colorado School of Professional Psychology, now the University of the Rockies, to enter its doctoral Organizational Leadership program. I would have liked to have accepted, but it's not the right time. I'm keeping it on the burner though. I have continued to pursue certificates in various disciplines such as e-Commerce, Project Management, Managing Organizational Change, Making Teams Work, Brand Management for Social Media, etc. I also recently accepted a freelance writing position with examiner.com.
In addition, I pursue a variety of non-profit support and volunteer opportunities. I support the ASPCA, Red Panda Network, Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center, Food Bank of the Rockies, and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. I volunteer with the Adult Literacy Program, for the GLBTQ community and one or two other mentoring/human rights programs.
Other interests outside of work include family, both blood and chosen; tennis (I play competitively); skiing (blues - no blacks...yet); motorcycles (I have my endorsement and keep buying 4-cylinders), cars and other motorized vehicles that go really fast; the fine arts such as museums and the theater; and of course my dogs - I have a peke and a corgi named Shanti and Colsyn, respectively.
I think was very lucky to have been in high school and college during the transition to the digital age. I've developed an ethic where I strive to do things right the first time, and do not rely on the digital to get me out of trouble, but to also appreciate how much easier it is with digital capabilities. I've worked with photographers who are ok with taking mediocre photos and then processing the heck out of them in Photoshop. I'm not that person. I believe in taking an excellent photo first, then touching it up in Photoshop – if necessary. That philosophy, giving it my best shot the first time around, applies to my every endeavor from laying out an ad (which I typically do in InDesign or Quark, no longer by hand) to writing a new employee orientation to creating a sound marketing strategy. This is how I live my life and undertake my avocations.
~~Happiness that is a byproduct of love and serving others is far superior to what we gain from serving only ourselves. - The Dalai Lama~~