The Professional Evolution of an American Girl.

I was 15 when I saw Silence of the Lambs. I fell in love with the movie on the first viewing. It was scary, suspenseful and so grown-up. The scene with Brooke Smith driving, blasting and singing Tom Petty’s American Girl was the coolest scene. I was a few months away from getting my driver’s license but I couldn’t wait to have that sort of freedom.

Of course, Brooke Smith’s character doesn’t fair well in the immediate scenes that follow, but ultimately things work out. That scene made me fall in love with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. Tom Petty was one of the musicians that was on repeat in my car once I did get the freedom that comes along with a driver’s license.

There were other songs and scenes that are similarly tied together in my mind. In fact, music and movies were a big part of my college story. I was enamored with the radio station so I added a Media Studies major to my college resume so I could get school credit for all the work I did at the station. Along with most of my friends, I was the manager at a independently owned movie theater. By being an English major and a Media Studies major I was able to major in all of my hobbies; reading, movies and music.

After college I moved to NYC with a friend who was also a Media Studies major. Though I was living in the perfect city to establish a career in the film or TV industry, I thought it was more prudent to get an office job. I took a job as an administrative assistant at the first DSL company in NYC, Prism Communication Services.

That job shaped my career as I started to learn all the possibilities the Internet could bring. My next job was working for the parent company, a company that incubated web-based businesses that relied on high speed internet access. In 1999 that was a pretty big deal. My biggest project was the Visual Radio Viewer (VRV). The VRV was a benefit for all Prism DSL subscribers. It was a video player and a radio station that streamed channels of music, premium TV shows and movies. I found myself, once again, in a situation where my work brought together all of my hobbies.

The dotcom bust left me with a professional hangover that lasted several years. I had jobs that I liked, even loved, afterwards but nothing clicked like my college jobs or my work incubating the VRV. The ability to blend the things I loved with my professional career kept me interested in work in my younger years. Because I *loved* my work I brought unbridled enthusiasm to everything I did.

15 years later I am starting my own business with two collaborators. My professional life is woven into my life in a way it’s never been before. It feels even better than a drive through the mountains with American Girl blaring.