Hello, I’m a right-brained creative type who has made a habit out of making lemonade out of lemons. I’m a nonprofit founder, a published writer, and a designer as well as a veteran patient advocate. I’ve been a chronic illness patient since 2006, seven surgeries and two diagnoses later, I’m focused on using my experiences to make positive change. I have a vast knowledge of patients, healthcare, and nonprofit organizations. When those are partnered with my digital marketing and branding skills I have the ability to create incredibly targeted materials for specific audiences.
This site is a great place to get to know me and also to find a way for us to work together! You can read my blogs, take a look at some of my past work and take a look at the services I offer. If you have a business or event that is need of a virtual team member, I would love to hear from you.
- SpecialityBrand Management and Maintenance
- DiagnosesMultiple sclerosis & ulcerative colitis
- HobbyRoller Derby
Founder and former Executive Director
In 2012, I founded an organization called Girls With Guts that has a mission to support and empower women living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis) and ostomies. Each year GWG hosts a live weekend-long event where they bring together women from around the nation (and even Canada!) to connect, share their stories and to learn from some of the top medical professionals in the GI and mental health fields. While I am no longer the Executive Director of Girls With Guts, founding this organization was one of my most proud accomplishments and I continue to be inspired by the clientele they serve. I planned and executed five weekend retreats in a new state every year and each time we opened the doors there were so many new faces looking at us with hope and hesitancy but by the end of the weekend, almost every face left with a smile, a support network and people they’d call sisters for life. Over the course of the 5 years I was directing our retreats, we saw over 200 women walk through our “doors”.
The Girls With Guts 2017 Five Year Celebration
Ann Arbor Roller Derby
Sponsorship Chair and President
I have been playing roller derby since 2014 and in my time as an athlete in this league I have not only proven to myself that my body could still accomplish amazing things, but I also was given the ability to learn so much more about participating in and leading groups of women. I began my time on the Board as the Sponsorship Chair and then migrated into my role as President. Working with Ann Arbor Roller Derby was such a different experience than I had with Girls With Guts, and I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to learn how different organizations run.
Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation
Camp Oasis Counselor
One of the most life-altering experiencing I’ve ever had was being a counselor at Camp Oasis, a camp designed for children living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. I spent one week for four summers in Michigan and one in Wisconsin learning from children who are wiser than most adults I know. Camp Oasis saved my life at a time I didn’t know it needed saving and it inspired me to push forward and eventually to create Girls With Guts in an effort to recreate this experience for adults. Summer camps save lives. I didn’t have IBD as a child, but I felt the same isolation, fear and shame that the kids did. I met people for the first time who understood. I met other ostomates. I met others with j-pouches. I was 25 and will forever be indebted to the children I met. Those incredibly brave and wonderful children changed my life and gave me hope when it felt very hopeless. The counselors that I met, who are dear friends now, continue to inspire and encourage me to keep living my best version of my life.
After my first diagnosis in 2006, I felt very alone, much like many other chronic illness patients. I felt like there weren’t any resources for me and where I was in my life at that time, so I wanted to create one and it was that moment that my passion for advocacy was born. I’ve had the joy and pleasure of being a patient advocate and have been able to travel across the nation for this purpose. I’ve lobbied on The Hill, attended the HealtheVoices Conference for patient advocates, been on various advisory boards or focus groups and have given a handful of keynote speeches about the patient experience.
I am a formally trained graphic designer and have been working as a designer since 2006. Over the years the medium has changed but the principles stay the same. I always try to create timeless design that evokes emotion. I have worked as a brand manager, a digital communications specialist, social media consultant and a digital email marketing manager. I have worn many hats in the digital space but they always circle back to making designs with purpose.
Once I started blogging, I discovered that I really enjoyed creating websites. I have learned the ins and outs of using WordPress to create great sites that are easy to maintain and won’t cost an arm and a leg.
After my MS diagnosis, I wanted to create a newsletter for people in their twenties living with MS. This newsletter was called MSUnderstood and eventually evolved into a blog and was my first step into advocacy. I blogged about my life with MS and met other MS advocates along the way, forming relationships that last even today. After my second diagnosis, I created a blog called Blood, Poop & Tears, where I chronicled my IBD journey, which was a long and very tough road. This blog enabled me to share parts of myself I couldn’t share with people in my real life, and it simultaneously enabled me to create connections with other patients who were living the same reality I was. The BPT blog was the first time I was recognized for having useful information, being a resource and viewed as an expert voice in the IBD space.
I have since written for various other sites and was even published in a book which was about the art of connecting people.
I write regularly for Health Central and have been featured on Healthline.com, MultipleSclerosis.net and XOJane.
How I spent my time
I’m always open for working with other advocates or healthcare companies to help improve the patient experience in addition to nonprofits or social enterprises who are out to change the world!