I have had a long standing love affair with movies, especially those old school under-dog-conquers-all-types. Then throw in a good pair of 80's shoulder pads, feathered hair along with a Carly Simon theme song and Harrison Ford, I'm game!!! Working Girl is a movie that I have downloaded to my phone (along with Frozen, no judgement please!!!) that I enjoy watching at times while starting to drift off to sleep. This women in the workplace movie got me thinking...Who are the progressive pioneers in business today??? And after visiting a bunch of Universities in the past 8 months I've seen first hand that, unless you are a business major, there is a lack in business talk.

*Oh and just in case ya didn't know one of the definitions of 'working girl' is prostitute. That got me thinking too but that's for a whole other post.*

I searched my rolodex....err....contacts from my travels for not only successful women but people who are doing things a bit different. I came up with these four inspiring, innovative and passionate people to put on the spot with questions about business, tips to their success and insight into the future. Over the next few weeks I will feature these ladies to share with you their deep dark secrets to success. Well, if not dark then pretty rad!!! 

Emily Johnson : Minneapolis MN : EC Design

Roz Savage : Windsor UK : Roz Savage Coaching

Kat Sweet : Issaquah WA : Sweetlines

Angela Paolini : Lincoln NE : Service Master

What’s your profession and how long have you been in it? And Is your current profession your main source of income?

Emily Johnson : I am the Owner, Designer and Maker at EC Design. We make handmade mixed metal jewelry with a focus on alternative wedding and engagement rings. I have been fully self-employed since January 2010. But I started metalsmithing in 2005 and built up to the full time gig slowly.

Since 2010 my jewelry has been my sole source of income. But before that I worked full time managing a custom jewelry gallery while building my business part time, i.e. no social life.

Roz Savage : Very hard to define my profession! I was a management consultant for 11 years. Then I dabbled for 4 years (photographer, baker, traveler and writer). Then I decided to row across 3 oceans – that took me 7 years. Now I’m a qualified coach, but am mostly a professional speaker.

Privately, I regard myself as a personal development professional, with my own personal development being my first priority. My ideal is to spend about 80% of my working time reading books, going on retreats and courses, educating myself, thinking deeply, doing the inner work. Then the other 20% to be spent on sharing what I’ve learned with other people, in the faith that it will be valuable to them.

And even more privately, I’m a revolutionary-in-waiting. This world needs to fundamentally change if we humans, and the other species unfortunate enough to share this planet with us, are going to survive. I’d like to be a part of that. I’m just waiting until my intuition tells me it’s the right time.

Speaking is my main source of income, although I plan to create additional income streams from online offerings, as speaking is rather unpredictable.

Kat Sweet : Mountain bike coach, event producer, facilitator of rad – 13 years, 2 years full-time. Yes I’m a full-time coach.

Angela Paolini : Business owner, 7 years. (And) yes (This is my main source of income).


Did you choose the field you are in or did it just evolve? If it evolved then what field were you originally pursuing or did you want to pursue?

EJ : I was originally going to be a fine artist, my focus shifted after working at an amazing non-profit gallery in Mpls (Minneapolis) and realizing how few people I would actually reach showing my work in a gallery.  I still wanted to make things, but not with a gallery setting in mind. 

After the gallery I worked as a Display Coordinator for Anthropologie.  Basically the closest to a job as a sculptor I could get.  I built and designed the window and in-store displays and fixtures.  It was a fun job, but physically and creatively draining.  And it was going nowhere, no room for advancement.  So, I basically went through my quarter life crisis and decided I needed a new direction I thought, what would I be doing if I didn’t have a job?  I’d be making jewelry, that’s what I did on my days off.  But I only did bead and wirework at the time.  I was selling my bead and wirework, but hadn’t dreamed it could be an actual career until then.  I knew I needed to learn metalsmithing to make a real career out of it, so I quit my job and went back to school with the intent of starting my own jewelry business.  And I did.

So, I’d say it was a little bit of both.  It evolved from my love of creating things, but the actual act of becoming a business owner was very deliberate.

RS : Mostly I’ve followed my intuition and allowed things to evolve. I went into management consultancy straight out of university because I really believed that money would make me happy. Probably a reaction against growing up in a family without much money, so being a materialistic capitalist was my rebellion. Took me 11 years to figure out it wasn’t working. The clue? I had money, but was totally miserable. So the evidence would seem to suggest that money doesn’t make me happy! I’m just glad that I figured that out late rather than never. I could easily have fallen into that trap of thinking that if I wasn’t happy enough, it was because I didn’t have enough money yet. And that way lies madness.

KS : My career evolved out of my love of bikes. In 1987 my Pops bought me my first mountain bike. I was really into skiing so I started out using the mountain bike as cross training for my skiing. Then I discovered downhill and started loving bikes more than skis.

That evolved into competing but somehow racing and trying to win wasn’t fulfilling enough for me. In 2003 I started a Trips for Kids chapter, taking inner city kids mountain biking. I worked in the non-profit bike industry for 10 years running kids programs and coaching women on the side. Sweetlines was born out of a class at the University of WA where I was finishing my BA. Then in 2013 I decided to take the leap and go full-time coaching.

AP : It evolved, I graduated from University of Nebraska Lincoln with a degree in psychology and began college again getting credits and doing practicums in order to apply to Teacher's College.  I had my son and decided to stay at home with him instead. 

Strangers When We Meet

Emily Johnson and I met years ago. I was a big fan of her work and introduced myself, nervously, when we were showing at the same art festival in Minneapolis. It wasn't until we roomed together in Boston early last year, for an annual metalsmithing conference, that we would became friends. I've learned first hand from Emily about business, community and that with the right mindset you can succeed at whatever you intend.  

I was super stoked when Emily wanted to go on a weekend adventure with me, India and Jones to northern Minnesota this fall. Here we are, ready to rock!!! Thank you Emily for your friendship, wise and sassy business-sense and badass cocktails. 

Next Weeks She Means Business : Part 2 With Honors


Adding to the Goods : New Earrings Available 

"Gelly Roll" Earrings were made while staying in my hometown in Nebraska. Made outta copper wire with sterling silver ear hooks then oxidized with liver of sulfar to give depth and an antique look.  

Measures : 2" long x 1 1/4" wide x 1/4" deep

Art evolves while philosophies change along with lifestyles. I'm embracing the path my work is going. I've been using items from the area where I've visited and letting go of limits I unknowingly set that held back my thoughts of my art.

Now available online through my shop, please check it out!!!


Sign up for a *workshop in your area!!!


University North Texas
Denton, TX
Artist Talk, Visit and Workshop

Brockway Center For Arts & Technology
Brockway, PA


Flux Metal Arts
April 16-17
Mentor, OH
*Pipe Dream Workshop


SNAG NeXT Conference
May 18-21
Asheville, NC


Touchstone Center for Crafts
June 20-24
Farmington, PA
*Pipe Dream Workshop

*Open workshops for anyone to sign up. Click blue link(s) for pricing, to sign up and for further information.