Entrepreneur, marketer, communicator, writer, cheerleader, doer
I've been a successful business owner, manager, writer, teacher, event planner and volunteer.
I'm looking for my next challenge. How can I help you thrive?
Knowledgable in all forms of Social Media Management, financial planning, marketing plans, budget development, blogging, event planning, project coordination, email blasts. Conceptualize and orchestrate marketing campaigns that effectively reinforce and build brand images.
Coaching, motivating, mentoring and managing staff. Public presentation and speaking. High-energy and effective teacher. Easily establishes successful relationships with vendors and suppliers. Super-power skill of remembering peoples' names and their purchase histories.
Highly organized and detailed-oriented. Positive, think outside the box, motivator, small-town and nature enthusiast. Great eye for interior and retail design and style. Clean freak, music lover, flora and fauna fan, foodie. Unafraid of digital tools and exclamation points.
I first started working at Contrast Coffee as a barista - a great way to meet the people in our new home town. After six months, I was given the opportunity to become the General Manager of the Iron River shop. The store served excellent, locally roasted coffee and was the only true coffee shop in the area but it was not yet a destination. Over the span of several months, I helped improve the look, feel and polish of the store by adding comfortable seating groups, art on the walls and music in the air. I also worked with the growing staff on the importance of customer service (along the way, we even made a customer service training video for other local businesses) and creating a memorable experience. Customers soon became regulars and regulars started thinking of Contrast Coffee as their place in Iron River. Events, specials and continued customer engagement has helped Contrast significantly improve its profitability as it has become a social fixture in the community.
In 2012, I decided to enter the first “This is Retail” video competition hosted by the National Retail Federation. The idea was to encourage small retailers to show how their businesses were essential to their communities. My husband and I shot the video on an iPhone, edited it on our laptop, wrote our own music and relied on our Market Alley Wines customers to tell their stories. They truly made it their own and when time came for online voting, the entire community came out in force. Round after round, our little 90-second video fought on, taking down giants like Macy’s in New York City. Finally, we hit the final three and I got to fly to Washington, D.C. for the awards ceremony and to lobby Congress on the importance of small town retail. I walked away with a $10,000 cash prize (which I invested back in the business) and the knowledge that I had the best, most loyal customers in the world. The photo to the left is me holding an ad in Politico magazine.
In 1989, sociologist Ray Oldenburg coined the term “Third Place” in his book “The Great Good Place.” A Third Place is a place to socialize, to relax, to converse and to be an active part of a community - but it’s not home or work. I worked hard to grow Market Alley Wines into a Third Place for the Monmouth region, and the social benefits were amazing. MAW was a place to make friends, with regular customers welcoming new folks into the fold. It was a place of conversation and an equal playing field for all, with no class distinction - a place where a blue collar factory worker could talk rock ’n roll with a college president. It was a place where the community came alive.
As the owner of Market Alley Wines, I never missed an opportunity to teach and engage the community. I taught Wine Appreciation at Monmouth College (for credit!) and offered the same class to the community every year. I mentored entrepreneurial students and well as other businesses. Sponsored and judged of Shops of Monmouth Small Business Competition. Organized, hosted and catered multiple events including multi-course wine dinners, retirement parties, showers, weddings and reunions. Hosted numerous charity events that raised thousands of dollars for local organizations.
Managing the day-to-day store operations, maintaining high store standards and conditions, and fostering a positive environment, which provides consistent fast, efficient, and friendly service. Create the tone and personality of the store by being an advocate of training, customer service, product knowledge and education, and a demonstrated commitment to the mission of Contrast Coffee. Responsible for hiring, training and performance management of all staff, inventory management, customer service, and creation of store goals and promotions to maximize profits. Responsible for leading all team members in the efficient and profitable operation. Living proof that gray is the new green.
Developed a detailed data-based business plan for a multi-service wine shop. Opened shop featuring bottled wine, craft beer, high-end distilled bourbons, ryes and scotches, wine by the glass, small-plate snacks, retail sales, live music and special events. Grew business to over $300,000 per year in gross sales. Doubled size of store in early 2014. Trained and managed staff (as well as numerous interns) focused on excellence in customer service. Won numerous local, regional and national awards. Developed exit plan and successfully sold business (due to relocation to Upper Peninsula Michigan) in June 2017.
Responsible for census building and promoting a positive image of the facility. Organized community events. Built and maintained relationships with community leaders, health care professionals and seniors. Gave presentations about long-term health care.
Award winning journalist responsible for police and courthouse beat including writing, editing, reporting and blogging for print and on-line editions. Initiated and developed enterprise and feature stories. Covered late-breaking stories on deadline. Developed and maintained relationships with key governmental, law enforcement and legal professionals.
Designed and implemented lesson plans for Introduction to Journalism: English 130 and English 098: English Fundamentals.
Responsible for affiliate recruitment, retention and problem solving. Provided customer service support to all affiliates in the program. Prepared, analyzed and distributed recruiting reports.
Created a responsive, market-driven sales force that resulted in increased profits for seven consecutive years. Wrote company newsletters, press releases and 50-year commemorative brochure.
Managed not-for-profit agency serving over 1,000 blind/print handicapped persons. Developed and implemented volunteers recruitment, training and retention programs. Planned fund raising and recruitment events. Developed funding proposals and managed the budget. Supervised eight staff members and over 100 volunteers.
Covered police, courthouse and civic news.
Bachelor of Arts, Mass Communication and Journalism, 1988 - Western Illinois University. 16 hours post-graduate study, Western Illinois University.
Iron County Economic Chamber Alliance Business of the Year 2019
The Entrepreneurial Support Network of West Central Illinois 2013 Small Business Start-up of the Year
National Retail Federation "This is Retail" Third Place Winner
Associated Press writing awards
Illinois Press Association writing awards
Featured Exhibit @ http://warrencountyvirtualmuseum.com/
Iron County History Museum Board Member
West Iron District Library Board Member
Golden Lake Land Owner's Association Board Member
George Young Recreational Center Bar/Restaurant Advisory Board Chairperson
Charter member Aledo Lion's Club
PEO, Chapter E
Grace Buchanan Memorial Board of Directors
Buchanan Center for the Arts Board Member
Monmouth Business Council
Monmouth Chamber of Commerce
National Federation of Independent Business
National Retail Federation
University of Illinois Master Gardener
Illinois Food Safety Manager Certified
Illinois BASSET (Beverage Alcohol Sellers and Servers Education and Training) Certified (on and off premise)