What is your business and how long have you been doing it?
On the surface, I appear to lead something of a double life. I am a strategic communications consultant and writer – which means that I lead brand/identity and message development workshops, develop strategies and concepts, direct creative and write copy. I also offer coaching services to help senior executives and sales personnel hone their presentations to various audiences.
That’s one half of my professional life. The other half is as an award-winning playwright and songwriter whose work has been produced throughout the Atlanta area. I also teach/coach playwriting and the creative process to teens in the Atlanta area. This includes seminars and mini-courses at area schools. During the summers, I run a one week “camp” called the 25 Hour Play Project, in which I take a group of teens and in the span of five days (5 hours/day), each of them writes a 10-minute play, directs someone else’s 10-minute play and acts in two other people’s plays in performances held at the end of the week. Most recently, I served as creative director for the development of By Wheel & By Wing, a full length musical written by 10 teens, based on the true story of a Jewish family’s survival in World War II era Europe and Russia.
By Wheel & By Wing was presented as a staged reading at Act3 Productions in Sandy Springs in May of 2011. It will have its official full-production premiere June 21-24 and 29-30, 2012.
When you think about it, of course, it actually isn’t that much of a double life. It’s all about telling compelling stories and helping others to do the same.
What makes you good at what you do?
I think it’s a lot of things. I pay attention – to what other people say and do, to the dynamics between people, to how they respond to different things and to what makes them do the things they do. I read a lot – and try to learn new things when I do. I revel in how words and imagery and movement can inspire all different kinds of visceral emotional responses. And I really do think of most of what I do as playing.
A very smart person once told me that if I was to do this for a living, I would have to be professional about it; my work couldn’t be precious to me. And I’ve found that to be excellent advice. I willingly edit, revise and cut my own text to make it better. And I’ve learned that the input and opinions of others always have value; it’s my job to identify exactly how.
Finally – and I can’t think of a better way to put this – I’ve learned how to coax my various muses into action on-demand, and to teach others to do the same. I’ve heard a lot of people say that they’re creative when the mood strikes them. But part of being professional about what I do requires the ability to get my mind into that creative, inspired space at will – to see the task at hand in a new way, to give myself permission to let my mind wander, and then to set what I discover in a form that works.
How did you end up in Roswell area?
My husband and I were living in an apartment in Sandy Springs and we started thinking about how much smarter it would be to buy than to rent. This was the late 1980s and I’d been doing some work to help Roswell institute its first recycling program and liked the area. We decided to put a bid on a house we kind of liked – just for the experience. We never expected our offer to be accepted. But then it was and suddenly, we were Roswell homeowners. Since then, we’ve found a lot to like here – we love that Roswell is cycling-friendly, that there’s lots of greenspace here. Then once we had children, and the excellent, affordable offerings of the department of Recreation and Parks hooked us even more.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Free time? What is this free time of which you speak?
Okay, okay – I do carve out some of that from time to time. And when I do, I run (a little reluctantly) and ride my bicycle (much more enthusiastically) whenever I can. I love to read and discuss books and movies with friends. I enjoy hiking and camping with my family. I enjoy cooking and sharing a meal with friends and family.
How do you stay connected to the community?
I stay connected professionally by networking with others and I’m part of a Mastermind group with three other entrepreneurial-minded women. My children have attended High Meadows School since 1996 and I am actively involved in that community, as well. And while I’d love to be one of those high minded people who doesn’t have time for Facebook, that’s a big part of how I stay connected with my various communities, as well.
How can people find you?
Online at www.575comms.com.