Being from Detroit imbues you with a special kind of grit that never leaves you. And in this business, in these times, grittiness is essential.
When I say Detroit grit, I mean it literally, as in under my fingernails, from hours spent in the garage handing my dad, a Ford engineer, tools while he worked on our cars.
I am a product of the rigorous, pioneering and sadly, now defunct, art, music and English humanities curriculum at Edsel Ford High School in Dearborn, a Detroit suburb.
As a result of that curriculum, I pursued the study of art and design, at two big state schools in Michigan and one demanding exclusive private art school next to the Detroit Institute of Arts.
In 1990, through the creativity (and generosity) of the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts at Wayne State University, 10 years of design study and a couple hundred credits were cast into a B.A. in art. The return on my investment: a highly developed capacity for design thinking and a passion for finding creative solutions to complex problems.
In 1992, I moved to Chicago and stayed for 16 years. There I managed a small architectural firm (1992-1998) and worked for DDB Chicago during the Wassup! era (1998-2004). I went out on my own for the first time in 2005, initially as a technical writer but found I missed the creative fish tank. In 2005, I signed on freelance with a boutique communications firm, where I (re)discovered my true calling. My new business development skills, platinum account service and solid creative work got me hired there and quickly promoted to VP. (2006-2008).
It was my desire to focus on working with creative professional services firms that led me to start Helena B Communications in June of 2008.
Currently, my office is in a building that was originally a foundry, and later a factory that bottled the liqueur Cointreau. Home is now Hopewell, New Jersey, where I live with my fiance’ and his two sons. There is also a needy gray tabby named Sid — but that’s another story.