CYOP #40 - Designing for Social Change + Getting Uncomfortable with Michael Ellsworth of Civilization

Creating Your Own Path - Episode #40 - Designing for Social Change + Getting Uncomfortable with Michael Ellsworth of Civilization

Today on Creating Your Own Path, I'm chatting with Michael Ellsworth, co-founder and principle of the Seattle-based design firm Civilization. The firm is built on the idea that good design can help create social change in the world, which is something that drew me in right away. Their client list is impressive, but I walked away from the interview being even more impressed with their team. They’re an incredible bunch and talking with Michael was super inspiring.

In the episode, we talk about why process matters in just about everything they do at Civilization, how they sort trick their minds when they’re trying to come up with solution to design problems, some of the issues young designers are facing today, the importance of embracing discomfort and—my favorite part of the interview—why organizations and businesses should stop running crowd-sourced design contests. 



"Get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable." -- Michael Ellsworth, Civilization

Perfecting Your Pitch: Registration is Now Open!

Many, many moons ago, I worked in marketing and public relations (PR). I distinctly remember feeling a rush the first time I heard a TV news anchor say words into the camera that I had written in a press release. I couldn't believe it. I shared something I was passionate about with the media and they ran with it—nearly word for word.

The next rush came a few years later as I nervously stood in front of a reporter and cameraman, microphone held inches from my face, about to share a story I truly believed in on regional television. My legs were shaking and I'm fairly certain I was sweating. 

Despite my nerves, I thoroughly enjoyed sharing information with those who might find it useful and quickly learned that PR was the perfect vehicle. 

While I'm on the other side of things now—writing for publications to which I used to pitch business stories and creating platforms that receive pitches each day—I still use the knowledge I learned so long ago on a regular basis.

And you know what? I want to share that knowledge with you. 

So, I've opened up registration for my latest e-course, Perfecting Your Pitch.

The course will be full of useful tips, templates and crucial information for any business owner who wants to share their story in a meaningful way. Whether you're interested in reaching out to traditional media (like TV and print publications) or new media outlets (like blogs and podcasts), I know those of you who run your own business will find the course helpful. 

You can get all of the details here, but take note:

There won't be an early bird discount (the price is the lowest it will ever be for this course), the registration window is only two weeks long (I just can't wait to share!) and there is a limited bonus offer (a one-on-one brainstorm session with me valued at $75!) for the first five people who sign up.

[Update: The special bonus offers mentioned above are completely sold out!]

If you're interested in learning more about the course and how PR can work for your business, now's the time!

CYOP #39 - Blogging Behind the Scenes + Productivity with with Cassandra LaValle of Coco+Kelley

Episode 39 - Creating Your Own Path with Cassandra LaValle of Coco+Kelley // Find the full episode + show notes at

Today's interview brings me to the Seattle office of Cassandra LaValle of Coco+Kelley. The lifestyle and design blogger started sharing her favorite inspirations online in the early days of the industry—in 2007—and has since expanded her brand to include interior design services, specialized event planning services, workshops and much more.

Listen in as we chat about the blogging industry and why it’s important to stop and think about what might be going on behind the scenes when a blogger or platform looks as though they’ve had overnight success. We also touch on the importance of diversifying without feeling as though you have to do ALL THE THINGS and Cassandra gives some really great tips for those looking to dive in to a creative career.





"Finding a mentor is hugely important." -- Cassandra LaValle of Coco+Kelley // Full episode at


Follow along with Cassandra's adventures: