I created this page to give you a tour of the highlights of my diverse career in publishing, startups, and personal development.
I help individuals and companies with: Content Strategy/Creation, Marketing, PR, Naming/Brand, Community, and Design Research.
I also helps idea-driven companies find their niche, core story and audience and work with founders to help elicit their unique stories and then help them apply those stories wherever makes sense.
Since I have a varied background, I’ll give you a tour of some of the work that I am most proud of and what each project taught me.
Abernathy Anderson: Positive Messages Work
My first job out of college was working for a PR and communications firm Abernathy Anderson where I focused on union organizing campaigns and nonprofits. I wrote reports on hospital patient care and secured coverage in major media such as the LA Times and SF Chronicle.
Through this first job I learned about pitching and getting press attention, collaborating with designers, writing white paper reports, and also about messaging: which messages win.
Positive messages worked best. No one wants to fight at work, and the message “working together works” works much better. I have used those lessons to use an uplifting, aspirational message to success for every other project, company and client.
This wasn’t actually my first job. While in college in New York City, I worked for Self Magazine’s Interactive Department and wrote for the Village Voice.
To-Do List: Design research through our lists
After this job, I took an entrepreneurial turn and started my own print magazine called To-Do List: Keeping Track of Our Common Compulsions. This magazine of essays, interviews, and yes, lists, won national awards (Best New Magazine of 2000, Utne’s Alternative Press Awards) and major media attention in NPR, Real Simple, San Francisco Chronicle, and more.
My list expertise is often cited in media ranging from the Wall Street Journal to the BBC World Service. I did a lot of press strategy for To-Do List.
Through To-Do List magazine I learned how to manage a diverse team of writers, editors, and ad sales people.
The success of the magazine, and the thousands of real handwritten lists people sent in the mail, led to a blog and book called To-Do List: From Buying Milk to Finding a Soul Mate, What Our Lists Reveal About Us.
I also started my foray into design research and ethnography. My original research on the habits of listmakers that positioned me as the world’s leading todolistologist, which I have used to speak at Google and to consult with apps such as EasilyDo on priority setting, decision-making and the organization of information. My to-do list consulting also has been in the areas of coaching, PR, messaging, and product development for various apps.
Quirkyalone: Design research and PR combine to create a powerful, empowering brand and book experience
In addition to studying our love affair with lists, I have become well known as a promoter of authenticity, freedom, and community for single women and men through my book and movement Quirkyalone. Quirkyalone is a positive, validating reclamation of being alone for people who prefer to be single rather than settle.
Quirkyalone spread through awareness in the media. I originally wrote a 700-word essay that was reprinted in Utne, and that went viral before things went viral. People wanted more, they wanted a book. I created International Quirkyalone Day as a holiday in 2003 to secure a book contract after two years of near misses with many publishers, and that campaign resulted in significant media attention.
International Quirkyalone Day has been celebrated in more than 40 cities around the world. Instead of “hating on” Valentine’s Day, I shaped IQD and February 14 as a chance to celebrate the freedom and possibilities of being single and choose coupledom based on true love and desire.
Through my PR work, the Quirkyalone movement have gotten attention in nearly every major media, ranging from CNN (Anderson Cooper), NPR, New York Times, London Guardian, USA Today, MSNBC, Vice, and countless local and international media.
Quirkyalone also taught me about the principles of design research and human-centered design to survey and interview members of the quirkyalone community to create products and services for them, ranging from a conference, Quirkyalones Together, to online classes on topics like liberating your quirk or finding quirkytogether.
I also produce a newsletter Sasha’s List, which goes out to thousands of subscribers and has taught me a lot about email marketing (what it takes to convert, how often to mail, and what kinds of emails work best) for building community and conversion. I have managed community through quirkyalone forums.
StyleMob: Fashion Because You Say So, and another strong brand leads to a quick exit
Because of my success with Quirkyalone, my friend Adam, a serial entrepreneur, asked me to co-found a street fashion social network with him. I was responsible for the press, marketing, brand, and community growth and management. I also led the focus groups and influencer marketing, and in our product design and development spoke for the user.
A small team of three, we created StyleMob “fashion because you say so.” Though my press and marketing campaigns, we got coverage in SFist, TechCrunch, ValleyWag, as well as the fashion press such as WWD.
We sold StyleMob to Glam within 9 months of funding, in part because we had grown so fast due to our strong brand, my influencer marketing campaigns and press attention.
Glam: Working on the inside of a publisher-driven ad network
After selling StyleMob to Glam, I worked as a product manager, where I was the “business owner” for an application platform for blogs and websites that married app developers, advertisers, and publishers in a program. I handled product requirements and lead a team of engineers and business development. I learned a lot about the online ad industry, building partner relationships, throwing developer events, and working with various functions.
Career break: South America!
I took a year off to wander solo around South America. This is when I discovered tango, which has been one of the loves of my life.
Coaching & Consulting: Coming full circle, and today
I coach single women who identify with quirkyalone on relationship and sexuality and I teach these women about tango as a metaphor for life and relationships in Buenos Aires. Some are single, some are emerging from divorce.
I also consult with startups helping with content creation and strategy and marketing.
Through it all, I always write. I write for magazines such as WIRED and online sites such as the Huffington Post. You can check out various pieces I have written on this Contently site. I’m at work on a new memoir.
So here this career summary takes us to 2016. I’m at work on a book and I do PR, content, marketing and design research consulting for companies that align with my values. If you’d like to chat with me about a consulting or full-time role, then please be in touch.