A Career Path is Rarely a Straight Line
What do a donut shop, a design publication, and a musical theater major have in common? Nothing! And therein lies the beauty. My career path to becoming the Storyteller and Content Director at Nest Realty was hardly a straight line, but each experience bettered me in some way and enhanced my overall skill set. To anyone reading this who may feel lost or unsure about the path they are on…embrace it. Embrace the bumps, curves, and occasional derailing. You never know where the path will ultimately lead you. And in the end, you might just find the perfect fit.
Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and revisit some of my more memorable positions along the way…
The Winding Path
After majoring in musical theater at the University of Northern Colorado (the other UNC), I packed my bags and headed for Los Angeles, with lofty aspirations of being an actress. To backdoor my way into the biz, I got a job as a marketing assistant and script reader for a fancy movie producer at a production company. While a lot of my job was fetching lunches and expensive coffee, it also afforded me insight into the movie business. How things worked (or didn’t work), how much relationships matter (or didn’t), and how quickly things become hot (and then not). Reading hundreds of scripts not only helped me hone my editing skills and understand the power of formatting, it also gave me a better understanding of what makes a good story. Quickly deciphering between elegant words that seem to dance off the page, versus dialogue that fell flat. The importance of an immediate good hook, and the disappointment of a predictable storyline.
Spoiler alert…I didn’t become a Hollywood starlet, but I did learn the art of a compelling story arc. (And I got to work on the film Ray. Jamie Foxx is a flipping genius.)
Before packing my surfboard and moving to Hawaii (that’s a story for another blog), I also had the chance to witness the genius of interior designer Kelly Wearstler. I worked as a bartender at the Avalon Hotel, her very first commercial design project. The hotel had just opened, and she was often there refining the interiors, while working on designing her second hotel down the street, Maison 140. At the time, she was still honing her now signature style, and I was immediately smitten with her passion, confidence, and work ethic. She ignited my spark for interior design. Little did I realize that 20 years later, I still look to her as a constant source of inspiration.
Then there was a stint as the marketing manager at a law firm and then a computer company; then I tried graphic design for a print company, attended interior design school, tried stand-up comedy and improv for a hot minute, owned an art gallery, owned a furniture restoration business, and moonlighted as a bartender all along the way.
I opened a mini donut business, Sugar Lips Mini Donuts, out of a vintage trailer that I restored with my dad. The enthusiastic response to the truck quickly led to a brick-and-mortar shop, and eventually landed me on the shows Eat Street on the Food Network and Donut Showdown on the Cooking Channel. During that sweet and wild ride, I learned the importance of strong branding, a consistent social media presence, and the power of powdered sugar. (Never underestimate the power of sugar!)
Along the way, I began freelancing as a journalist—penning travel, fitness, and interior design articles for various publications. I gained respect for word count, brevity, deadlines, tone, and identifying and speaking to your audience.
Each of these adventures, no matter how scattered they may have appeared, were tethered to two constants: placing words on a page, and finding beauty in my environment.
Now, at Nest, I’ve been given the opportunity to launch NEST Magazine, our in-house interior design and lifestyle magazine. It allows me to combine my love for interior design, my penchant for storytelling, and my ability to organize a million moving parts. Working alongside our Design Director, Paigelee Chancellor, is truly a joy. I wake up each day grateful to Nest for taking a chance on me, believing in me, and allowing me the freedom to create on their behalf. I know that in the end, each of my endeavors has led me here to Nest Realty. Finally, my perfect fit.
So dear reader, my parting advice to you…if you have an idea…no matter how far fetched it may seem…TRY IT! Whether you succeed or fail wildly, you’ll absolutely learn something along the way.