Next Buffalo speaker

Alex Fernandez

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February 9, 8:30am • Hotel Henry •

January 2018′s theme is ANXIETY.

Imagine for a second that you have to write an email that goes out to 200,000 people. You spend all week on it, making sure there are no typos or broken links. You schedule the email.You walk into the office and the first thing you hear is, “The most important link is broken.” It’s too late, the email is registered by the servers; it’s now a beam of light carrying information through fiber glass under our oceans.Imagine that feeling of failure—sweaty palms, concerned looks by colleagues, heart rate thumping.Or better yet, what if you stopped imagining?Anxiety is a story that we tell ourselves; it’s a magnification of possible failures paired with self-talk that undermines our chances of success. Anxiety is created from within, not outside. Self-sabotage may always be part of the creative process and the sooner we can accept that the clearer we can be in the decision we need to make to move forward. This month’s global exploration of Anxiety was chosen by our Bucharest chapter and illustrated by Evelin Bundur. Thank you to our global partners — MailChimp, Adobe, and WordPress.com — for their generous support. 

December 2017′s theme is CONTEXT.

Imagine your typical morning coffee or tea, how it tastes and the way it makes you feel. Now imagine being on a remote island, sun rising, with your drink in hand. That sip is unlike anything you’ve ever tasted—that’s context.

When we feel something is out of context, it’s because there’s a mismatch in the intention, behavior, and environment. Looking at the Mona Lisa in a dark basement versus The Louvre surrounded by people taking photos creates two different memories.This month’s global exploration of Context was chosen by our Minneapolis chapter and illustrated by David Schwen. Thank you to our global partners — Adobe, MailChimp, WordPress.com, and Shutterstock — for their support.

We’re excited to see you at CMbuf on December 8th!

Welcome to our monthly interview series, #buffaloiscreative, introducing stellar members of our CMbuf community. Make sure to update your profile for an opportunity to be featured on our blog, newsletter and social media accounts!

Meet Alex Levine, Community Director at Yelp!


What is your special creative force?
Travel, creative people and “The Daily Practice.” I do my best to follow @jaltucher’s method for creativity, but I also do my best to not live a life of monotony and routine. New places, people and experiences inspire me. My journal keeps me connected and grateful. However, not every day do I pick up that journal, but I try to.
In the spirit of December 2017’s theme, #CMcontext, can you describe how Buffalo is the perfect place and time for you right now?
I ended up staying in Buffalo due to my job with Yelp. Initially, I thought about moving and doing research abroad, but I am so glad I stayed. Buffalo is an incredible city full of opportunities. It’s large enough to not get bored and small enough that you can truly make an impact.
What project are you working on right now that we should all know about?
There are some work projects I’m working on that I’m excited about, but not ready to share yet. Aside from that, around this time of year I just try to reflect, stay healthy & happy and remember why I do what I do.
Where in Buffalo do you go to be most inspired?
Anywhere when I’m running or doing physical exercise. Most of my creative ideas come to me when I’m in movement. Whether it’s a jog around Hoyt Lake or the Buffalo water front, when I am in movement and not stuck behind a desk, ideas flow more freely.

Thanks, Alex!

November’s theme is DEATH.

Death has inspired humanity since time immemorial, influencing ideologies and storytelling to our understanding of life and how we live it.To our ancient ancestors, the fear of death was a palpable and daily motivator. Although our world is infinitely safer than it was centuries ago, we are still driven by the fear of death and we expertly attribute it to even the smallest events: traffic, deadlines, a mistake, public speaking, your boss’s name on your caller ID on a Saturday.What we have done well as a species is leverage the fear of death to inspire achievements that seemed impossible, to create work that needed to be made, and to discover insights that help us live well.This month’s global exploration of Death was chosen by our Miami chapter and illustrated by 2016 Adobe Creative Resident Syd Weiler. Thank you to our global partners — Adobe, MailChimp, WordPress.com, and Shutterstock — for their support.

Welcome to our monthly interview series, #buffaloiscreative, introducing stellar members of our CMbuf community. Make sure to update your profile for an opportunity to be featured on our blog, newsletter and social media accounts!

Meet Naa Kwaley,  the CEO and Creative Director of NKMstyling, and the blogger behind The Boss Diary.


What is your special creative force?

I’m known for African print fashion, street style clothing, and music.

In the spirit of November 2017’s theme, #CMdeath, can you describe a moment when the death of an idea or a failure resulted in a success?

I almost gave up on my fashion dreams when I first started. I had an order for a pair of African print shoes and a matching handbag. I screwed up the order, and when I delivered it to my customer she went off on me and let me have it! She was so upset and she made sure I knew it! In that very moment I told myself, ‘maybe this isn’t for me,’ but after I thought about it I realized this would only make me stronger. I remained calm, fixed her order, and never made the same mistake again. I think when you start off as an entrepreneur, you will make a TON of mistakes, but the only thing that’s important is how you handle them. Get up, dust yourself off, and try again! Success is around the corner.

What project are you working on right now that we should all know about?

Fashion - I’m currently collaborating with a couple brands for my new kollection that will drop next Spring. The kollection will be a mix of street style and minimalistic fashion. I have been wanting this to happen for a long time, so I’m so excited and ready to get a new line out there. It’s going to be epic!

Music - My band B.A.N.K. Noise has released our first EP on Bandcamp. We are a mix of rock, soul, blues, and reggae. Our next show is January 18th, 2017 at Mohawk Place in downtown Buffalo. You should come see us, we’re kinda great.

Where in Buffalo do you go to be most inspired?

My local cafe, The Daily Planet. I basically have made this place my work office. I love the atmosphere, the people, and of course….the coffee.

Thanks, Naa!

Welcome to our monthly interview series, #buffaloiscreative, introducing stellar members of our CMbuf community. Make sure to update your profile for an opportunity to be featured on our blog, newsletter and social media accounts!

Meet Dana Santasiero. She is an account executive at The Revs Agency.


What is your special creative force?
My creative force would have to be building my creativity off of all of the different environments that I am in.

In the spirit of October 2017’s theme, #CMpioneer, can you describe a moment when you pioneered a new venture or project and what you learned from it?
My most recent venture/project has been working at The Revs. We’re a new marketing and advertising agency here in Buffalo. I have been involved with this project since the beginning which was about a year ago. Being able to be a part of the process of building a new agency from the ground up has been an eye opening experience, especially because I graduated college in May 2016.  I’ve been able to build my skills tremendously with all of the hats that I’ve worn in this process.

What project are you working on right now that we should all know about?
Once again, I’d have to say The Revs Agency. Since we are still so new, there is a constant goal to make ourselves known in the industry while building our company.

Where in Buffalo do you go to be most inspired?
The grocery store. I love to cook and try new things, so whenever I enter a store, my head runs wild with ideas. The satisfaction of successfully creating a new dish inspires me to want to continue to experiment with different ethnic dishes.

Thank you, Dana!

October 2017′s theme is PIONEER.

“Pioneers shatter expectations, widen boundaries, and reveal new possibilities in life.Whether the work was inspired from being on a ship or inside of a studio, pioneers act on their internal, immutable desires to create work that matters.You might be on the edge of pioneering something new; only time and your relentless drive to create against all odds will determine that. We look towards pioneers to bring us to new discoveries, domains, and knowledge about ourselves.We’re looking at you. “This month’s global exploration of Pioneer is presented by MailChimp. The theme was chosen by our Denver chapter and illustrated by John Vogl.

Welcome to our monthly interview series, #buffaloiscreative, introducing stellar members of our CMbuf community. Make sure to update your profile for an opportunity to be featured on our blog, newsletter and social media accounts!

Meet Carrie Rinehart, Screen Printer at Rusterior & Buffalo Boss Babes!

What is your special creative force?
I’m a one woman printing machine maniac at times.

In the spirit of September 2017’s theme, #CMcompassion, can you share a recent moment when you received or gave extra compassion within the Buffalo community?
Kindness and compassion is my number one in life. Being in the creative community can be frightening at first. It takes courage to put yourself, or your creativity, out there but the love and compassion you put out into the world will come back tenfold. I have had so many amazing moments where I have gave and received extra compassion because this community is AMAZING. I recently gave compassion to a new printer who I think was a bit intimidated or worried to ask me about my process in fear I would be angry over competition. But I approached her with open arms and willingness to help in anyway I could and I like to think it helped her. It is situations like that I look back to when I was starting and how much it helped when people came to me with similar willingness. You really have to share the good vibes. I also receive so much compassion from other small business folks and creatives everywhere. I’m part of a small group of ladies that keep each other inspired and going even when you want to give it all up. They are my saving grace. I am always for working together and building people up so we all can succeed and be the best we can be! Community/Competition :)

What project are you working on right now that we should all know about? I am actually working on two. I know you said one but I have a hard time following rules. I am forever renovating my 1964 Airstream Ambassador that is going to become a mobile retail space for my brand when it is finished.I also just recently started a Instagram/ blog project called Buffalo Boss Babes where it features amazing woman in and around Buffalo NY. It expands from small business owners & creatives to mothers and amazing teachers. Women inspiring and doing great things in our city. It features their stories and fun things about them. It’s a good vibes only blog that I hope will inspire strong woman and raise awareness of all of the bad ass woman out there rocking it & helping make our community a better place!  

Where in Buffalo do you go to be most inspired?
Elmwood always gets me very inspired. I think because it has creativity pouring out of every space on the street. I spent time living there and its really where my creative journey began. Also in my backyard hammock swing. My mind is always racing so I have to remember to sit in silence to really spark the good stuff! 

Thanks, Carrie!

The September 2017 theme is Compassion.

Compassion is a pause button that reminds us of a fundamental truth: we’re all stumbling and nobody has it figured out.

The best part about compassion is that it’s a learned trait—unlike your height or eye color—and the more we practice accepting others the sooner the easier it becomes to accept ourselves.

When this is at the forefront of our minds, we give people a chance to show up and be seen. When in doubt, the answer is compassion.

This month’s global exploration of Compassion is presented by Shutterstock. The theme was chosen by our Helsinki chapter and illustrated by Sami Viljanto. Find an upcoming event near you!

Welcome to our monthly interview series, #buffaloiscreative, introducing stellar members of our CMbuf community. Make sure to update your profile for an opportunity to be featured on our blog, newsletter and social media accounts!

Meet Nikki Hitchcock, an Organizational Development Consultant at City of Light Consulting. 

What is your special creative force?
City of Light Consulting provides wrap around services for organizations and people making the world a better place. We do everything from marketing, to strategic planning, to grant writing, to executive support. Our small team is kind of literally changing the world. From books to kids in DV shelters, to wheelchairs for disabled children in the developing world, to tooling amazing women to win elected offices, our team touches so many different points of impact.
The special creative force i being to this work is seeing the forest and the trees. I’m an organizational development consultant and a strategic planner. My clients are agents of social change- be they artists, organizers, nonprofits, or politicians- and I help them determine their direction, guide their organization’s culture, and communicate well with the public about their cause. That means I have to take a bird’s eye view, while also considering the quality of moment by moment interactions and communication, working to guide organizational culture through small lessons and long range plans all at once.

In the spirit of August 2017’s theme, #CMgenius, can you describe any moments of genius – by your own mind or others– that have recently inspired you?
I attended Garden Walk Buffalo last weekend and I found myself completely smitten with a 16th Street garden. It’s colorblind gardener has built a garden using his soil and over a hundred and fifty potted plants. The small plot, filled with an easy million buds, is completely unexpected in the middle of this transitioning neighborhood. I saw at least four types of bees, living it up there. It seemed like it started as a way to make the most out of a yard that had lost a lot of ground to asphalt and it’s been transformed into an ecological force and an inspiring get away. The gardener wasn’t swayed by pigment deficiency issues or asphalt or home values. We didn’t get the chance to meet, but he’s become an unofficial hero of mine. 

Where do you feel most inspired in Buffalo?
My very favorite place in the city limits is Tifft Nature Preserve. It’s a nearby place to find some stillness and connect with nature and the seasons, but the more I learn about its story, the more amazed I am by the preserve.
Over the past hundred years, it has been used as a dairy farm, then a coal shipment center, and then a dumping grounds. By the 70s, it was slated for preservation because the community advocated and worked with city legislators. The waste was capped in place and the work to regenerate began. Don’t get me wrong, I go there to see turtles and deer and the like, but I am so inspired by what was achieved there, and the resource it created for the community. 

What project are you working on right now that we should all know about?
One of my passions is helping leaders find balance and regain their creativity, so that they can lead from a place of fullness. Burn out, especially among changemakers, is all too common. So I’m working on a series called Leader Care (working title) that will invite leaders to consider how they recharge, set boundaries, engage their team, and ultimately, do their important work. Expect to see more on this in the next few months. 

Thank you, Nikki!

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