Special thanks of gratitude

Dedication, work ethic and continued growth in the creative industry happens successfully with supportive leaders, mentors, professional and personal relationships. These relationships helps you realize your true potential for success beyond your own measure. I have been blessed knowing these talented individuals who stood beside me during my creative journey of becoming the designer I am today.

Scott Bailey – the design guru

Scott was a seasoned local creative that shared his insights, perspectives and always challenged me to try different approaches both in creative work, the process in developing design and communication techniques when working with clients and non-creative individuals. His experience was vast over 30+ years, and his professional knowledge provided important constructive feedback and ideas for looking at projects. I am the designer I am today, with his strong commitment of support, and will forever grateful for his impact and ever-lasting friendship. So happy for him and his retirement from the biz, and always look forward to hearing from him and his travel adventures. I am sure he is enjoying some creative time painting, doing yoga and a delicious cup of coffee! Special human being for sure!

Rusty George – the design buddy

Our relationship began when I started working with Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber in 2006. Rusty George Creative was an active member in the Chamber and in the community as a whole. Immediately, I connected with Rusty as he is exactly what I thought a creative would be. Fun, entertaining and spontaneous! Rusty’s personality is one you want to be around and he also has a brilliant business mind operating his design agency, Rusty George Creative in downtown Tacoma. Rusty created several fun events to bring creatives together in the local area. I encouraged opportunities at the Chamber to work with Rusty and his team, and these projects continue to be some of my favorite design projects today.


Donna Miller & David Printz – co-leaders and PSM group

We all met in 2007 and joined forces to create the community awareness campaign, “Go Local Passport”. Working along side these leaders, solidified my respect for creation, engagement, vision and commitment. Our project was a great success due to Donna & David’s commitment, dedication and professionalism. I am proud to call them treasured friends. David continues to serve the community operating his successful IT Business, The Gurus Tacoma, Inc. David possesses a great sense of humor and overall fun attitude. Donna is truly a one-of-a-kind fabulous person that I am thankful is in my life. Donna brings joy and laughter to every moment we share! Donna and her husband Bruce like many of the similar activities as Ken and I do, like hiking, camping, dancing, boating, or travel of any kind! We always look forward to our next time together.

Our entire leadership group had over 35 individuals that continue to inspire, engage and lead in our local community.

Kim Ruth – childhood friend and confidante

We should all be so lucky to have that one individual that inspires us to do better and aim higher, and in my lifetime – Kim has been that person. Our relationship started as children, and like a sister, she continues to support my creative & crazy ideas, and Kim usually can plan a important execution strategy on how we can make any new adventure happen.  She has always been present, inspiring, and insightful. I look forward to creating new memories so that we continue to have many more moments of laughter and joy. Kim brings a spark of happiness to any room of people, with her infectious laugh, story-telling and fun spirit.

Rhonda Kirkes – college friend

Rhonda is my college friend who I met when I started my design education at Highline Community College. We started the 2-year program at the same time,  I was so happy to met her – and boy we hit it off. We spent time as design students, participating in the Graphic Arts Club and creating our portfolio panel for our Digicom Artist Portfolio show. I couldn’t be thrilled that we continue to stay connected once working on our careers. Rhonda is smart, kind, creative and has a generous spirit.

Natalie Drake – customshouse broker pal

Natalie and I met when I entered into the International Freight Business in 1987.  I spent time working directly with her at Expeditors International, Inc. In 1989, she hired me to work with her at Charles M. Schayer & Co., Seattle’s office and years later referred me for a brokerage position at Norvanco International. Even though she now lives out of state, I continue to enjoy our friendship which includes camping and catching up whenever we can. She is the best fur mom I know and a dedicated friend, daughter and caregiver to her mom. She also shares our love of our Seattle Seahawks! Natalie is a fun, loving and has a great sense of humor.

Shari Hart –  community friend

Shari and I met while I was working with the 6th Avenue Business District with their rebranding/social media efforts. Over the years, we have spent time hanging out at the Tacoma Broadway Farmers Market, attending community events, and catching up at the local restaurants. I enjoy discussing ideas with her and I always appreciate her interesting perspectives and valuable insights. Shari is inspirational, fun, smart and has a great laugh. Can’t wait to see her again!

Julie Tarp – long time pal

Julie and I met during a West Seattle YMCA Woodland Park Zoo field trip with our young sons, Jeremy and Bryce (with Tyler in tow). During our scheduled lunch, we realized we both attended the same high school (John F. Kennedy High School), and Julie was a year ahead of me. Our families have enjoyed camping, game nights, and various activities over the years and now we are incorporating time with our grandchildren which is extra special. Always look forward to making new memories and reminiscing on our old ones. Julie is an adventurous, intelligent, beautiful and a fun-loving human being.

Terry Velasco – leadership friend

Terry and I met during the 2007 PLU/Chamber Leadership Program.From Dining out for AIDS luncheons, painting ceramics or just hanging out while we grab a bite, we continue to grow our friendship with every new adventure we plan. Can’t wait for the next one. I had the great honor to be Maria’s wedding coordinator (Terry’s eldest daughter), which was a great way to get to know the whole extended family! Terry is strong, intelligent, and pretty inside and out!

Marianne Tompkins –  chamber buddy

Marianne and I met at a Chamber event. Marianne and I connected and the feeling was,  we felt we knew each other for years. The comfort was effortless. On Patrick’s 40th birthday, to honor his memory and special day, I decided to push my comfort zone and go ziplining at Northwest Trek. She was my partner high up above the trees – with fear in hand, we conquered the experience and it sincerely meant the world that we shared it together. So blessed to have her as my friend. Marianne is honest, loving and has a
kind spirit.

Karen Wilburn –  introduced by kids, Kris and Kyle

Karen and I met once our kids, Bryce and Kris were friends in first grade in the Chess Club. Thankfully, our families have been connected ever since. Karen is that person that you feel totally at ease with, always starting where we left off. From our kids sports activities, kids sleepovers and other events, we continue to enjoy time quality time together. As I hope to connect more in the future, I am a better person knowing her. Karen is loving, strong, dedicated, and beautiful.

Bill and MaryJane Donohoe – my parential units

My parents have provided support of my creativity, which I continue to be thankful for. My father, Bill worked as a public servant for over 30 years, serving thru the ranks of Firefighter to Battalion Chief for the Seattle Fire Department as the third generation of his Irish/Scottish family. An active, intelligent, organized, faithful, and hard-working man are some of the special personality traits my father possesses. His dedication to our family continues to be important to me. Bill continues to enjoy being social, playing golf, helping out friends, handles onsite projects and supports the many creative event ideas my mother comes up with, which I love. My mother, MaryJane continues to create unique experiences in everything she does. She lives passionately and spiritually, spending quality time with treasured family/friends, gardening, card making, jewelry making, trying new recipes and developing unique events which always brings smiles to all that attend. She is the life of the party and its always fun to watch her enjoy her ideas some to life. Her laugh is contagious like her fun sense of humor. Wonder where I got the entertaining bug – from both of my sweet parents.

My sweet brothers, Mike and Patrick

My parents had 2 other beautiful kids, Mike and Patrick who’s presence continues to be another source of  inspiration and joy to me. My brother, Mike proudly served in the U.S. Navy. I fondly recall writing him on the ship and praying for his safety while on the U.S. Theodore Roosevelt. He is happily married to his sweetheart, Katie and were blessed with three amazing children, Maelcolm, Odessa and Kameron. In 2008, Mike started his own business, Honeymoon Bay Coffee Roasters, Inc., and continues to live his passion of providing his customers the best local coffee. My brother, Patrick was an artist in drawing, teaching, modeling, massage and acting- all of which he was entirely proud of. His creative trailblazing provided me the inspiration to change career directions in my life. Forever grateful for his strength and dedication for integrity, facing fears, and doing the emotional work to be our authentic self. Our family was forever changed in 2005, when Patrick headed to heaven early, and we continue to feel his protection as our
guardian angel.

Grandma Chrissey – a bigger than life creative

My grandmother, Chrissey was a creative professional with an entrepreneur spirit well before her time. As a young child, I was always excited to see what she is doing. Grandma,  Daughter MaryJane and I did spend time cooking, baking and canning the garden crops, as they lived on a local farm, located off Double Bluff Road on Whidbey Island. In the early years of Chrissey’s career, she built and operated restaurant, The Chatter Box in Clinton while also running a popular florist business a few doors down. Chrissey’s next business venture was in Cake Design. She set forth to obtain education, training and building of the cake studio for her cake decorating business. Chrissey’s strong entrepreneural drive and vision, resulted in her legacy of community efforts that continues on to this day. I recall many happy memories of Grandma including practicing making roses out of frosting and I could eat the rejects. Funny how I rarely had a perfect one. I am so thankful  she was a part of my young life, and I am confident she would be proud of my creative journey if she was here today.

My partner in life & husband, Kenneth and sons, Bryce and Tyler

I met my husband back in 1991. His sense of humor and sweet fun-loving nature attracted me to him. Ken spent his career as a Transportation Specialist. From driving school bus at Laidlaw, working as an owner-operator with North American Van Lines, dispatching for Freight Expeditors, Inc., and driving truck for several companies moving freight (Freight Expeditors, Inc., Pacific Frieght Express., Portside Trucking, and Safeway). He enjoys traveling, anything history or train related and reading the newspaper everyday. Together we raised two loving, creative, dedicated and smart sons, Bryce and Tyler. Being a wife and mother has taught me understanding, patience, and perspective. Gratitude for their presence in my life. Our son, Bryce served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 4 years, as a combat engineer. Currently he is working with local Tacoma company, Tote Maritime as their lead parts associate while attending college classes for IT. Bryce enjoys playing video games, camping and riding his motorbike around town. Bryce’s wife, Brandi Kitchens also served in our armed forces (U.S. Army) and after completing her degree in social work, is helping veterans locally as a counselor at Crossroads Treatments Center, Inc.  Tyler continues to break his sales goals with Kimball Midwest and continues to explore his passion for nature sports which includes, duck hunting and bow fishing. Tyler’s wife, McKenzie Kitchens, obtained her college degree and is a Director of Toddler University Child Care, caring for our community’s children. Our growing family enjoys creative activities, special events and camping/travel adventures. Our grandson, Graysen William Thompson-Kitchens (Bryce) is sure a special boy and we enjoy his youthful spirit and zest for life!