I HAVE MADE A CAREER OF PUTTING WORDS, IMAGES AND IDEAS TOGETHER IN UNCONVENTIONAL WAYS.
“CREATIVE STRATEGY” COMBINES DESIGN THINKING AND COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY TO CREATE CHANGE. IT IS ABOUT BRINGING BIG IDEAS TO LIFE. IT IS THE WORK OF BOTH THE HEART AND THE MIND, OF YIN AND YANG, OF ART AND SCIENCE. AND IT BUILDS ON A LIFETIME OF EXPLORATION.
Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I remember living with the paradox of being a self-proclaimed environmentalist while also being the daughter of a lumberman. I learned early on that natural resources have different ecological, cultural, personal and economic value to different people and that it is possible to find enough common ground among those differences to work toward the good of the whole.
I left Portland, Oregon to study natural sciences at Colorado College. I loved learning the intricacies of how ecosystems function in the living laboratory of the Rockies. That was followed by a year of study in Florence, Italy, where I was introduced to a very different, yet equally magnificent world of art and architecture. Both experiences led to a desire to find a way to advocate for the richness and beauty of both worlds—the natural and human-made.
Since there wasn’t a field of study that addressed this idea at the time, I put together my own interdisciplinary degree at UC Berkeley’s College of Natural Resources. There, I studied under some of the pioneers of "sustainability" before that word carried the significance it does today. After graduating with a degree in energy conservation in the built environment, I realized the crucial role that communication plays in putting ideas into practice and changing paradigms, and evolved my expertise to include communications design.
For nearly three decades, I have worked as a communications design entrepreneur—first as a partner with the GNU Group followed by 20 years of leading creative teams at my own design firm, L Studio. As with my college degree, I created my own “interdisciplinary career,” promoting sustainability in the natural and built environment. Working at this intersection provides a powerful cross-pollination of ideas that sustains and enriches both worlds, making the vital connections that unite them. This work has informed by ecological worldview, which informs everything I do.
Over time, I have been a witness to and, in part, a catalyst for significant change: in the Passive Solar movement of the ‘70s and ‘80s, which changed the way we design buildings and communities for energy conservation; in the New Urbanist movement in the ‘90s which changed the paradigm of city, town and regional planning; in the 2000’s, bringing sustainability to the center of our cultural conversation in the built environment, land conservation and the business practices of corporate America; and today in the fight against climate change.
Real change takes time, but it can happen. Given the urgency and scale of the challenges we face in the world today, I feel a renewed purpose and new agency to accelerate change for good.
Strategic analysis can be described as the process of taking apart elements of a system to rationally understand their individual meaning. But, it takes intuition to put those elements back together to find their interconnectedness to a whole and express the bold ideas that will inspire transformation. This is the creative process. This is what I do best: synthesizing complex ideas into creative concepts that are simple yet strategic, powerful and inspiring.