I began my career in marketing and design almost 20 years ago when I graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism & Communication in 2001. During the past two decades I have worked in a marketing capacity in a variety of industries including healthcare, technology, professional wedding photography, television production and broadcast news.
I'M ALWAYS TELLING OUR DAUGHTER:
"LEARN TO BE AS COMFORTABLE IN A boardroom AND a Ballroom AS YOU ARE IN THE BARNYARD - AND YOU CAN GO ANYWHERE."
I've had a little bit of a "Jane-of-all-trades" career. Before moving home to my family's cattle ranch in far Northern California with my husband and daughter in 2016, we lived in the Phoenix, Arizona area for 15 years. I was part of the team at Showit when we launched Showit 5 (the awesome html web-based version of Showit) and before that I worked with MagicDust Television on a variety of projects including as the Special Parts Producer on the National Reality Television show, NASCAR Angels.
I have had an entrepreneur's heart for as long as I can remember and in between stints (never more than 3 years) of working for other businesses I have always had my own. My first business out of college (when I moved to Phoenix) was a gift business called Happy Everythings. My next jump into entrepreneurship was as Pink Umbrella Media. I offered contracted project management and social media management (the very early days - think MySpace & early Facebook). I quickly began learning web design (html & css) and started offering web design services (aka "hacking wordpress") to my clients. After my daughter Lily was born I fell back in love with photography (my college photography professor thought I was hopeless - and I was in a darkroom). Thanks to the advent of digital photography, I started and operated my own successful wedding photography business for seven years.
If you're entrepreneur, you know sometimes things don't go according to plan. You also know that as an entrepreneur you have a special knack for seeing pain points and wanting to fix them, seeing holes and wanting to fill them.
While I was running my wedding photography business one of the pain points I was experiencing (and other photographers around me were experiencing) was the frustration of meeting clients at Starbucks. While coffee shops can be great places to meet with friends, write a new blog post or edit some photos... they're not great places to have professional meetings. Especially when those professional meetings are about meeting a bride & groom for the first time and selling them on why you are the best choice for their wedding photography needs.
I wanted to stop meeting my clients at coffee shops. And so did the other photographers I knew.
So... I put every waking hour, every dime (and then a lot of dimes that I didn't really have) into opening a collaborative creative space called Studio East in Chandler, Arizona. The space was designed to be used as both a photography studio that could be rented by the hour or day and a place that wedding professionals could meet their clients. It was a beautiful, lovely space with lots of room and wedding professionals could even hang their canvases on the walls to display their beautiful work when their clients came to meet them.
And you know what happened next? It was a complete, and total, beautiful failure. While Studio East may have been a little before it's time, when creatives were just getting on board with sharing space with other creatives, it was also a failure on my part. I didn't do enough marketing for it. I got sidetracked by things that didn't matter. And I let the failure very early on start to overwhelm me.
Time and grace has given me a new perspective. I used to think of it as a terrible failure, but it's an experience that taught me more than any success I've ever had and it was a catalyst for so many other good things. It taught me you can fail fantastically as long as you fail forward.
After the pain of seeing a business I loved crash and burn, I took the longest entrepreneurial break of my life and went to work for Showit in Gilbert, Arizona. The truth was, I desperately needed a job, but I didn't want one. I didn't want a corporate job. I wanted a creative one. I wanted something I could pour my heart into. And then my friends at Showit asked me to work with them. This is a good place to quote our old friend Garth (just kidding I don't know Garth), but the words still ring true: "sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers."
Working at Showit was like working at a tech startup in the very early years. We were small, bootstrapping, hardworking and launching what would become an incredible product. I didn't get to stay as long as I would have liked, because life takes us down some interesting roads. But, I'm still really proud of the work I did there and I get so excited when I introduce someone new to Showit and they fall in love with it.
You might not be surprised to know that I love a little John Denver coming out of my stereo. There's a lot of wisdom baked into his songs.
In the summer of 2016 my husband and I decided our little family needed a big change and a reset. While we had survived the failure of Studio East, we hadn't emerged from the experience unscathed. We were buried in debt and longing to be free of trying to maintain a lifestyle that wasn't sustainable. We gave away 75% of what we owned and we moved to the ranch I grew up on... and into my parents pool house.
We went from living in a beautiful 3,600 square foot house to sharing about 480 square feet with our then 7 year old. It wasn't easy; it was hard, humbling and the best decision we could have made. I took almost a year off of work and I focused on being a mom, resting and resetting.
In the spring of 2017 I went to work for Fairchild Medical Center as the director of their non-profit foundation and as the Director of Marketing & Community Engagement. In 2018 we moved down the road from my parents into a 1,000 square foot rental house (which was much larger than my parents pool house but a 1/3 of the size of our Arizona house). Much to our surprise, "the little house" has been our favorite house we've ever lived in. As we settled into our own space, the freedom and flexibility of owning my own business again called loudly in my ears. At the end of 2019 I made the transition back to full-time entrepreneurship and launched britelime Creative.
I've been an employee and an entrepreneur. I've worked for startups and long established businesses, with for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations. I love small business. I love working with and supporting small business owners. I like to work hard and see that hard work come to life. I also like to serve my family and my community. I currently serve on the board of Beacon of Hope Gospel Rescue Mission, a winter homeless shelter in Yreka, California.
When we made the move to greener pastures and a quieter life in 2016, it was a major, but welcome change for all of us. We enjoy living in a climate with four distinct seasons, helping on the ranch and not experiencing traffic on a daily basis. Traffic here is getting stuck behind a tractor or stopping to help a neighbor get a wayward cow back into their field.
We also enjoy this charming truth about small communities... you really do get to know your neighbors.
As a family we enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, camping and horseback riding... but we're not immune from a little TV binging now and then. Most of all, we enjoy spending time with our extended family and good friends.
We are passionate followers of Jesus and our lives are prioritized around our faith first, followed by our commitment to loving and serving each other, our family, friends, church and community well.
We work hard to leave people and places better than we found them and we're grateful for the many ways God blesses our daily lives.