My story so far.
I was born in Israel in 1967, the oldest of three boys and the first person in my family to be born on Jewish soil. My mother was an artist and art teacher (she still is...). My father worked for the Israeli Airlines. Together their stories explain my natural love for art and travel. LIving in Israel was exciting and challenging. I had a colorful childhood filled with art, music and travel but the political atmosphere and the ongoing wars made my parents want to give their children a better life. When I was 15 we packed up our lives and moved to sunny California. Los Angeles became my new home. I loved it. And I still do.
My first job after high school was as a merchandising artist for Tower Records, where I spent six years reproducing album covers for window displays and making connections that would help me emerge with my own work years later.
At the age of 23, I quit my job at Tower Records and I opened the doors to my own design agency, Top Design. I had no business training or formal design education. But I did have a strong passion for design and a dream of building a successful business. I was an entreprenuer at heart.
Over the next 18 years Top Design grew into one of the world’s leading creative agencies. We were a small team but a powerful one. I had amazing people work for me and together we created some memorable work. Our clients included The Grammy Awards, Universal Music and Video, Quincy Jones, Warner Bros. Records, Capitol Records, Toyota Motors, City of Hope and Tiger Woods Foundation, to name a few.
A couple of years after getting the foundation of my agency in place, I started to get involved in leadership roles within the design community. I served as the president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Graphic Artist Guild for four years. It was a lot of work but it helped me understand the needs of the creative community from the inside. During my time with the Guild we changed California sales tax laws, presented workshops on copywriting and marketing and built the chapter from 12 founding members to a thriving 400 member chapter.
My first big speaking gig came in 1996 when I was invited to speak at the HOW Design conference and present on how to grow a creative business. Since then, I’ve spoken around the country for thousands of creative people. Public speaking, as terrifying as it was when I started, is one of my favorite things to do. I get great joy from speaking and always have fun in front of other people in the room.
HOW was the catalyst in helping me emerge into the design industry as a thought leader. HOW was the launch pad for my book writing career and opened many doors into the publishing world. I've written five design books now and dozens of articles on business and design.
I loved running the studio as much as doing the design work. But marketing was the part of the business I loved the most. Our agency was a non-stop marketing machine, which made all the difference in our success and the type of work we attracted. I soon realized that I had a natural talent for marketing and business development that I didn't see in other creatives and that here was an area where I could offer real help . That’s when my career focus started to shift.
In 2004, Ilise Benun and I co-founded Marketing Mentor, a coaching and consulting firm that teaches creative professionals how to market themselves. I taught marketing and pricing workshops and together with Ilise wrote the book The Designer’s Guide to Marketing and Pricing (HOW Books). We collaborated with HOW Magazine and produced the first ever Creative Freelancer Conference, now in its fourth year. Ilise and I ended our partnership in 2009.
In 2007, after 16 years of running my design studio (and getting closer to turning 40) I started on a new spiritual path which lead me to seek more experiences that would feed my creative spirit. I’ve always had a dream of becoming a chef so I enrolled in culinary school: the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Los Angeles. For eight months, I spent five days a week learning from the best chefs in the world and cooking amazing dishes. Cooking school was way more than cooking for me. It taught me about leadership, self-mastery, organizational habits and communication skills. That was an unforgettable experience.
After getting my Chef's degree, it was time to make a bigger change in life. It was clear to me that I wasn’t interested in persuing a career in the food industry. I missed being around my fellow creatives. I decided to close my design studio and shift into coaching and mentoring creative entrepreneurs.
Today, I work with some truly amazing people from all around the world. I coach creative professionals from soloprenuers who dream of becoming big agencies to creative agency owners who want to take their business to the next level. I couldn’t be happier. Coaching is my life’s passion and I love seeing creative people thrive.
My coaching and teaching approach is very different from the average coach. I bring creativity, spirituality and fearlessness into my work and I help people transform their lives as well as their businesses. I'm amazed to witness the human potential and love that are always a part of my client's journeys.
I live in Silverlake, a gorgeous neighborhood of Los Angeles, in a spanish-zen house that was built in 1927 by a famous silent film actor. I share my life with my husband of 15 years, Ricky Hoyt, who is a Unitarian Minister at First Church Los Angeles.
Sweet dreams are made of this!