Bookworm, wordsmith from the start
I’ve always been a bookworm – one of those nerdy kids who reads with a flashlight under the covers after lights out and thinks being the summer reading contest champion is cool. The best thing about getting a good report card was Mom taking me to Johnson’s Bookstore to get a new book. (Thanks Mom.) My love for word play began when Mr. Carlton, my 6th grade teacher, introduced me to poetry. From that day forward, writing became both a daily indulgence and a personal imperative.
So how did you get drawn into the health scene?
At a young age, I knew I wanted to make a difference, but I wasn’t sure how. In high school, as Head of the Social Service Club, I spent my Saturday mornings visiting elderly “orphans” in the local nursing home. I wrote about my experiences and gave a speech to the school to engage more students in the program. It worked. (The power of storytelling.)
In college, I majored in Psychology and minored in Sociology. I’ve always been fascinated by how the mind works and what motivates behavior. I also pursued a Certificate in Gerontology (the study of aging) because I thought perhaps my calling was to make a difference with the elderly…
What happened to your writing?
I still wrote every day and was an editor of the college literary magazine…Even won a prestigious (as in, cash) creative writing award in my senior year.
What was your first real job?
My first real job was running a retirement facility in Pasadena. As Administrator, I was responsible for the daily oversight of 110 residents and 35 employees. I managed and marketed my facility so well, I was promoted to Operations & Marketing Consultant within a year.
Before long, I realized I was having the most fun creating ads and brochures. That’s when I decided to explore the creative opportunities in marketing and advertising and convinced a scrappy little agency to hire me. For a small agency, they had a surprising variety of clients and projects. As sole copywriter, I got busy taking on everything from long-form infomercials (remember those?) to PR, promoting the first female Formula One racer. It was a fast, fun ride and a great introduction to different industries and media. The Marketing Certificate I earned at CSULB was really superfluous to all the hands-on exposure I gained so quickly.
So what happened to the health component?
My next position gave me the entre into medical and healthcare writing. Interviewing physicians and dental specialists across the country and writing custom marketing pieces for them prepared me for later C-suite interactions and honed my ability to listen, write to exacting demands and nail it the first time. Next thing you know, I’m a Copywriter at Fair Riley Call Bozell Healthcare and then Group Creative Supervisor, working on accounts like Pharmacia & UpJohn and Genentech. And as they say, the rest is history…
Are you really creative?
Ray Bradbury thought so. He awarded me honorable mention in a creative writing contest at CSULB Writer’s Conference. In fact, he was the one who inspired me to go on to get my MFA in Creative Writing from CSULB.
I’ve also taken leading roles on the stage and off (assuming personas and speaking to audiences in different voices) and dabbled in stand-up comedy (engaging audiences).
So yes, I love to create – especially enjoy campaigns and videos, seeing them come together from zip is exhilarating. And moving the needle for my clients, takes it over the top for me.
Pets? Love critters. Would have a farm, but settling for two feline research assistants for now. Meet Lucky and Alfie. As you can see, one is more industrious than the other…
Are you any good? (Well, have you read this far?)
Ask my clients. See my work. And then let’s make a difference together.