I grew up in Jackson Hole, Wyoming at the foot of the Grand Teton Mountains.
My early exposure to spectacular scenery and free roaming moose, elk, and buffalo in and around Yellowstone National Park taught me to love wildlife and care about the environment. After I left home for college at 18, I quickly learned to appreciate the value of my small-town upbringing with both my mother’s and my father’s extended family close by.
A Small Town Girl Living in the Big City
I’ve now lived in Phoenix for over 20 years, but I visit my hometown and family every summer. No matter how sophisticated my tastes in food, film, books, and culture may have become, I still think of myself as a small town girl from Wyoming.
After earning a bachelor’s, a master’s, and a doctoral degree in English, I taught writing and literature courses for 20 years in university classrooms. For 10 of those years, I also trained other faculty members to teach more effectively in person and online.
Getting My Writing in Print
Along the way, I published an award-winning short story, lots of articles, multiple blogs, and the first ever book of literary criticism about Mormon women’s autobiographies: Faithful Transgressions in the American West: Six Twentieth Mormon Women’s Autobiographical Acts (Utah State University Press, 2004).
Although I’m no longer a practicing Latter-day Saint, I value my mother’s Mormon heritage, and I’ll always be culturally Mormon. My faith community was the first to teach me that stories can motivate and inspire people—not only to be good, but to do good.
I’m currently an Ambassador for the Black Chamber of Arizona and for Mission of Mercy, a free health care clinic providing vital services and no-cost prescriptions for uninsured and underinsured patients at six locations across the Phoenix Metropolitan area.
In the past, I’ve volunteered for many other organizations: Special Olympics, the Sunstone Foundation, Project for the End of Rape International (PERI), Herberger Theater Center, Landmark Education, National Bank of Arizona, and 14 years as a Big Sister in Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona. Spending time with my two “Little Sisters” and their siblings has been precious to me because I expected to be married with children but have lived a single life instead.
The Second-Half of My Story
In 2012, at my own half-century mark, I left the comfort and familiarity of the university to start my own writing and consulting business. I never thought I’d start a business. As a young girl, I didn’t always like the time my mother spent running the beauty shop she bought when she was just 19-years-old. While raising four children with my dad and managing numerous employees, my mom grew her small business into a thriving success for over 50 years right next to our home.
If I serve my clients with as much commitment, attention, and generosity as my mother did, I’ll consider this mid-life business venture a loving tribute to her remarkable success.