“Kind, clear, engaging communication is a gift that ripples out. When we effectively convey our humanity and ideas—we can connect with the people who need us most and make the world a better place.”

These words are at the heart of everything I do in my work, but that’s not to say that meaningful communication is easy. Early in my career, as an introverted, highly sensitive person (HSP) who was, at times, painfully shy—I struggled to communicate nuanced ideas the way I wanted. I was desperately trying through words, design, and imagery to do so in an engaging way that felt meaningful. I also didn’t appreciate how advertising and marketing often seemed superficial and manipulative. But I knew if I was going to make the impact I wanted, I needed to pursue what resonated with me—creating heartfelt communication that connected people with what they cared about.

It wasn’t easy, and I flopped many, many times. Still, when I finally succeeded, my confidence soared. I was surprised at how much easier marketing became once I finally did it on my own terms.

I didn’t realize then that I was incorporating my love of storytelling into my communication style. And my HSP traits, which many said were weaknesses—(empathy, compassion, noticing subtleties, being deeply moved by art, music, and story, etc.)—were precisely the skills I needed to become a more effective communicator. This combination helped me shed my shyness and develop a 35-year career in visual communication and storytelling with a focus on web design and empathetic marketing for the last 20.

A decorative font glyph for the number 3 from the font Stringfellows Ornaments.

All that is to say, I know how difficult it is to communicate core principles that are important to your business or identity. However, you don’t need to use jargon or tactics that don’t resonate or dedicate countless frustrating hours trying to fit into an ill-fitting mold. You just need to get to the heart of what you do for the people who need you most and find your marketing style.

Schedule a time to discover how to find your strengths and get on the marketing path that fits you best.

Or click to find out more about working with me & see a partial list of my clients.

A decorative font glyph for the number 3 from the font Stringfellows Ornaments.
Always an artist. Images of Kristen painting at 5 at an easel wearing a smock and setting off to art school with her portfolio

Painting at five (left) and off to art school (right).

I grew up in an art gallery. (Yes, I did.)

I got into business early. For one venture, when I was 12, I made little creatures called “Nice Mice” and sold them at the India Street Art Colony Jazz Festival.

I have been using Apple computers since 1980.

In the 80s, I worked for a software company called Beagle Bros. that made games and utilities for Apple computers.

Image of the Beagle Bros staff from a 1983 article in SoftTalk magazine

1983 SoftTalk magazine article with the Beagle Bros. crew.
That's me (aka Minnie Assembler), second from the left.

I have been living, working, and playing in South Lake Tahoe, CA, for over 30 years.

One of my first jobs after college was doing paste up for a newspaper. (If you don't know what paste up is, here's a video explaining this lost art.)

In the early 2000s, I developed a method for printing on raw silk and was featured in a Rochester, New York, art show with fellow art printing innovators.

I had the tremendous honor of being chosen to work with author/illustrator Yuyi Morales in the 2009 Nevada Mentor Program through the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

I wasn't aware of how much I use my hands when talking until I animatedly described some illustrations during a live radio interview. I managed to unplug all the sound equipment with one enthusiastic gesture.

I wear many hats in my life, many of which are helmets.

Our grown child, a computer scientist/linguist, is a Ph.D. student studying fairness and privacy in natural language processing. (We don't understand everything, but we try!)

Photo of our black kelpie dog

Our brave dog.

When we rescued our dog, she was afraid of trash cans, tree stumps, people, other dogs, and shadows. She is currently only scared of our houseguest—a cat named Wren.

The most validating thing a publishing house art director ever said to me:
“You can obviously draw the hell out of anything.”