Giving Back

I am a firm believer that if you have a little, you should give a little — and if you have a lot, you should give a lot. Over the past ten years, I’ve developed a strong passion for finding ways to give back, not just to my local communities but to others in need around the world. Each year, I volunteer my time and donate my money to various nonprofits and charities, and I also offer deeply discounted or sometimes free design and digital strategy services to nonprofits, charities and startups through my Pixels and Media firm. Helping make the world a better place has become a part of my personality and I hope to continue growing my philanthropic and volunteer efforts in the years to come.

Here are some of the ways I’ve actively given back throughout the years:

STEM Coding Instructor
Winburn Middle School (2015)

As a volunteer teacher for Winburn's Family Math Night, I gave five 20-min interactive classroom presentations to groups of up to 30 middle school students and their families. The topic was An Intro to Coding, Web Design & STEM Careers for Middle Schoolers, and included the basics of JavaScript for coding websites and video games, as well as a Q&A session for parents and students after each session.

Coding Instructor
Velocity Indiana (2014)

Volunteered with the Velocity team to launch Kentuckiana's first official CoderDojo, teaching multiple classes of up to twelve girls and boys ages 7-14 (and sometimes even their parents!) how to write computer & website code and develop software, including custom video game mods. With a focus on JavaScript, I helped develop, plan, write curriculum for & teach the "Introduction to JavaScript Through Minecraft" coed course and a separate sold out girls-only version of the course. After developing curriculum, I trained initial classes in the fundamentals of JavaScript through modifying the popular video game Minecraft over a series of 6-week classes as well as a 4-week version of the classes. I assisted with training teaching aids and providing training materials and advice for other volunteer teachers for similar courses. Ultimately, the program was a success and we taught hundreds of Kentucky & Indiana children how to read & write code as well as basic video game development, website development and project planning skills over the course of 3 to 6 months. These classes received rave reviews from parents and students alike.

Yoga Intern at Centered (2014)

Assist with cleaning, administrative tasks and customer service for yoga studio & holistic health spa.

Social Media Strategist (Volunteer)
World Trade Center of Kentucky (2012 – 2013)

Set up WTC of KY’s Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages. Created graphics. Provided training and remote technical support as needed.

Event Admin (Volunteer)
NextPlex Louisville (2013)

As one of the founding admins who successfully petitioned to bring NextPlex to Kentucky, I helped launch the beta test version of the tech event aggregation site with the purpose of uniting tech professionals in Kentuckiana and surrounding areas. Within a couple months, we had launched with a fully-functional calendar with events scheduled months in advance; 17 startups; 5 volunteer site admins; 14 local tech groups; 3 incubators and accelerators; 3 local conferences and hackathons; 2 local tech organizations; 2 local shared workspaces; 4 funding groups; and 2 local tech press groups. The site continues to gain new members and is already a valuable local resource, despite still being in “beta test” version.

Founder and Group Manager
Kentucky Web Designers and Developers Group (2012 – Current)

Founded the Kentucky Web Designers and Developers Group, managed social media, handled community management and recruiting, and planned events. The purpose of the group is to unite web designers and web developers in Kentucky and surrounding regions, to provide networking, learning and career growth opportunities, as well as to foster a supportive and educational environment for people of all career levels. Partnered with other regional tech groups to provide workshops, including free, hands-on training on CSS, SASS and LESS, and to provide a list of local job opportunities for regional developers and designers.

Go Red for Women Luncheon (2013)

As a guest of DDW, an event donor, attended the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women Luncheon to support heart disease awareness and prevention, especially among the female population.

Magazine Editor, Designer & Digital Strategist (Volunteer)
Bluegrass Area Digital Media Artists Group (2009 – 2012)

As a leadership member, launched the official quarterly magazine for Kentucky’s only Adobe-sponsored user group. Managed a small team of volunteers, acting as Magazine Editor and providing creative direction as well as design and layout assistance. Wrote articles and tutorials, curated art and content, and conducted interviews with local artists. Created social media accounts and handled 50% of the group’s social media efforts, providing digital strategy and content curation. Used social media and web marketing to promote official Adobe-sponsored events throughout the state of Kentucky, resulting in 150+ attendees. Added website content and new users to the group’s Drupal website. Recruited guests, assisted with planning workshops and events, and partnered with other local groups to quadruple the group’s membership and strengthen the local design community within Kentucky and surrounding areas.

Graphic Designer (Volunteer) (2013)

Volunteer graphic designer for a leading national women’s rights and social action movement based out of Washington, DC. Using Skype, Google Hangouts, Facebook Pages and private Facebook groups: attended online meetings and group strategy sessions, provided ideas for how to strengthen and grow the community through web marketing, social media, SEO, SEM and digital strategy, offered constructive feedback on designs, and provided support during planning of events.

Metro United Way 2014 Campaign
Social Media Strategist to Metro United Way 2014 Campaign Co-Chair, Ted Nixon (2013 – Current)

Managed multiple Twitter and Facebook accounts for the 2014 Metro United Way Campaign, including the personal accounts of Ted Nixon. Developed and implemented social media strategy and ideas for fund-raising through social media. Attended on-site meetings with Metro United Way nonprofit organizations, taking videos and photographs, and sharing the stories on social media. Provided social media advice for nonprofits as needed.

DDW Cares (#DDWCares)
Digital & Brand Strategist (2011 – Current)

Created, developed and implemented “DDW Cares” branding for DDW’s philanthropy, community service, charitable giving and volunteer work. Helped the company achieve its 2015 vision of “acting responsibly in our communities and making them better” by creating the #DDWCares campaign, designing “DDW Cares” branded T-shirts, building the “DDW Cares” website and social media accounts, organizing charitable events throughout Kentuckiana and encouraging Human Resources Managers on 5 continents around the world to organize similar events in their local communities. Compiled and shared results on a regular basis, both internally and externally, building brand awareness that DDW is a company that gives back to its local communities.

Wildlife in Need, Inc (2014)

Donated money and warm blankets to hep animals at Indiana's nonprofit exotic animal welfare organization.

Dare to Care Food Bank Mobile Pantry (2012)

Handed out food to those in need through the Louisville Metro United Way’s Dare to Care Food Bank Mobile Pantry.

Junior Achievement Volunteer Teacher (Elementary and High School)
Junior Achievement of Kentuckiana (2011 – 2013)

As a Junior Achievement volunteer, I taught classes of 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade elementary school students in Louisville, KY, USA, about finances, business, leadership, economics and entrepreneurship. During a Junior Achievement Job Shadow Day, I assisted with a building tour of DDW’s facility, and gave a presentation to high school students (16-18 years old) about career planning and higher education. Topics included careers in sales, marketing, IT, design and social media. Assisted with compiling data from a fun food science study conducted with the students, and wrote an article about the survey, which appeared in numerous food industry magazines, publications, and on leading industry websites.

Kentucky Science Center (2011)

Volunteered to help teach Kentucky’s elementary school students about science, technology and the food industry. Worked an interactive booth about food science and natural (non-synthetic) food and beverage colorings. Taught children how food ingredients are made and educated them about careers in the food science industry.

Fund for the Arts
Louisville, KY Donor (2010 – 2012)

United Way Donor
Louisville Metro United Way (2011 – 2013)

Relief for Japan — American Red Cross
$100 Donation (2011)

Event Manager (Volunteer)
TechLife Lexington (2009)

As a volunteer Event Manager, helped regional technology industry professionals connect with each other by helping develop a regional calendar and online Meetup group for all the great local technology activities and events.

Design & Illustration Recruiter (Volunteer)
Blueprint Saints Magazine (2009)

As a volunteer recruiter, actively sought out and interviewed top quality designers and illustrators, recruiting them to participate in an exclusive, innovative local comic art magazine highlighting the most talented male and female artists, designers and illustrators from Kentucky.

Contributing Writer (Volunteer)
Marketing Pilgrim (2007)

As a contributing writer, volunteered to conduct interviews, research and write articles on various topics, including Web Marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and the Internet Industry. Reported directly to globally respected marketing expert Andy Beal, and used WordPress for content management. Marketing Pilgrim is consistently named a Top 10 Media and Marketing Blog by Advertising Age.

AVOL (2003)

As a volunteer, participated in a door-to-door PR and Marketing campaign for human rights and equality, during a key Kentucky election. Participated in team strategy meetings and helped educate local residents in impoverished communities about politics, the importance of voting, human rights, and equality.

LAMBDA Volunteer
University of Kentucky (2003)

Attended LAMBDA group meetings to offer support, guidance, empathy, and to discuss human rights and equality with UK students.

Gay Appeal (2003)
Created online community for discussing human rights and equality, which skyrocketed to the first page of Google within months. Worked with one other volunteer to promote the community, build engagement, and recruit new members.

Graphic Designer (Volunteer)
Patriots for Peace (2001)

Volunteered as member and graphic designer for a grassroots political organization on the Berea College campus for one year. Helped plan strategies and organize events, in addition to designing and distributing flyers and promotional materials.

Designer (Volunteer)
Berea College Campus Events (2001 – 2002)

Volunteered by lending graphic design and illustration services to creating flyers, brochures and print marketing materials for Berea College campus events.

Set Crew (Volunteer)
Shakespeare in the Park (2001)

Assisted with the design, construction and painting of the set for popular annual cultural event involving theatrical performances in a popular Lexington park.

Living Arts and Science Center (2000)

Volunteered to help with elementary school children’s art classes in Lexington, KY

Designer and Illustrator (Volunteer)
Tates Creek High School (2000 – 2003)

Provided hand-drawn and digital illustrations, designs, graphics, flyers, and marketing materials for the Tates Creek High School art and drama departments, as well as for the Class of 2001 graduation ceremony. Used a combination of traditional hand-drawn pencil techniques along with Adobe Creative Suit and digital media to create custom designs based on client specifications.