I have been a bit of a loud mouth my whole life. Shushed first by my parents, and later by my husband at hockey games (most likely, appropriately shushed).
In my family, there is a long history of pursuing words. Loudly. My grandmother was a language lover; expressing her love of words by crushing you at every word game-Anagrams, Scrabble, you name it. She won. She was a master of language. And the most read book in my family...? The dictionary. Always scouring it for a word that would trump any other word and give you the win.
Looking back, each of my careers has involved a passion for communication and understanding. For finding the "just right" phrase that gets the idea or feeling across.
Unlike my gramma and my uncles, I was aware of the necessity to win through well-crafted words rather than yelling. There is great subtlety to the context of language and I love to get to the win--to help people understand a certain perspective, or to provide the information necessary to help them move into the action or response that is at hand. The win is in the understanding.
My writing career started at the Anchorage Daily News under Mr. Craig Medred. A crusty and cynical news man with a heart of gold. He was the outdoor editor and taught me a lot about writing. He assigned me the summer fishing report. Weekly, I called the people at the "hot" fishing spots or, I would call a Dept of Fish and Wildlife guy who was willing to talk about where the fish were biting the upcoming weekend. It was a ton of fun. Until I got my first "letter to the editor" targeting me specifically. I didn't have a byline. I was just "staff writer".....but this person said, "I don't know who's writing your fishing report, but he said there wouldn't be any fish in (whatever river it was) this weekend, and luckily, I didn't listen to him because this weekend you could walk on the backs of the salmon that were running through." I was devastated. And embarrassed. In my mind it was the end of my blossoming career as a reporter. Craig Medred just shrugged and turned back to his monitor. He said that words are powerful and they inspire both beautiful and ugly reactions. He has had his share of disagreeable comments. That is the power of language. And especially the power of language in the absence of your physical form standing in front of the touched (or offended) individual. How cool.
I left the Anchorage Daily News at the end of summer and ended up at The Nerland Agency, an advertising firm in Anchorage. There I met Carol Heyman, an account executive who was in the process of interviewing for the position of president of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce. She got the job, and I went with her as Director of Communications of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce. I joined PRSA and became an accredited public relations profession. After five years, I moved into the Director of Communications job for the Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau (now Visit Anchorage) where I stayed for seven years. I loved both positions. I loved Alaska.
I have enjoyed a long, wonderful, career in the word-crafting business.
Along with my current position as Executive Director of the Colorado Association of Naturopathic Doctors, I find great pleasure in pushing the limits of my body running Colorado's beautiful trails and mountains. My most recent athletic accomplishment was completing a half ironman (70.3) in Santa Cruz, California in 2022, Next year's goal is a R2R Grand Canyon hike with friends. I will probably leave my big upright bass at home for that one, and will likely take my journal to record the breathtaking beauty of the hike.