Next Buffalo speaker

Julia Bottoms-Douglas

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December 8, 8:30am • theBREWROOM • part of a series on Context

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,, 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!

The theme for CMbuf this August is GENIUS.Genius is a label, a shortcut that signifies the remarkable achievements and abilities of an individual. Thomas Edison famously quipped that genius was one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. But genius also hinges on the voices of the community, the support of the people.

If you unpack this centuries-old label, you might realize that the posture of a genius is already baked into your daily routines. Geniuses are exceptional at failing, learning from mistakes, and cross-pollinating insights from various domains. They’re working, not for money or fame, but because they’re compelled to pursue a particular craft or interest; they’re obsessed; they cannot look do anything else other than solve the problem, paint on that canvas, or breathe life into an idea.

Today, opportunities and resources to tame your talents and sharpen your skills abound. The real battle is less external and more internal—facing your fears, quieting your ego, enriching your mind, and dancing with failure. Perhaps Mozart got it right when he said, “Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius.”

This month’s global exploration of Genius is chosen by our Guadalajara chapter, illustrated by Claudio Limon, and presented by WordPress! Yes, you read that correctly.

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 Eric Foster, a Infographics Designer and Owner at EF Creative. He believes that visual information is more powerful than we give it credit for and has taken it on as his mission to communicate visually.

What is your special creative force?

I would have to say my special creative force is sketching.  I’ve been drawing ever since I was a child.  I got really into colored pencil renderings in high school and even pursued quite a bit of drawing throughout College. Unfortunately I don’t take the time to draw like I used to, but I do find time to sketch almost every day.  Sketching helps me develop ideas that I later digitally interpret in Adobe Illustrator.

In general, I will sketch alongside notes as I plan out each week and what needs to be accomplished.  Being able to scribble something on a piece of paper or in an app and then letting that idea marinate or incubate in my mind for a few days can be really powerful.  I think this can really lend itself to not only coming up with creative ways to problem solve, but also can lend itself to coming up with a better solutions for Graphic Design as well as when I am building an infographic.  

In the spirit of July 2017’s theme, #CMequality, can you share your ideas on how design can promote equality and togetherness?

I think design can be used to make the “Third Place” more inviting on some small levels.  But I think design in the sense of how an event is composed, is where the true power resides. I really like the idea of a third space, like a bar, art opening, barber shop or the Creative Mornings Talks. These spaces and events really lend themselves to bringing together people with different values, socio-economic backgrounds and different belief systems.  Getting a wide range of people in a room chatting over a beverage can just facilitate human interaction.  I believe this human interaction can lead to Equality, mostly by humanizing all people across the spectrum, from the janitor to the judge.

Where do you feel most inspired in Buffalo?

I’m not sure if I feel the most inspired, happy or just peaceful at this place, but “Hunter’s Creek”!  It is one of my favorite places to go for a Hike.  There’s something magical about it to me.  I try to go once a week and spend some hours there, hiking, chatting with friends and just taking in the beautiful scenery while snapping a few photos.  Sometimes I even use a color app to capture the colors that I photograph.  Most times I just leave my phone in my pocket and enjoy a peaceful hike.

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

I am very excited to be working with Sam Insalaco on turning the theBREWROOM’s Process into an infographic!  Next up, I’ll be collaborating with my friend Val Grigoriou on an infographic series about basic Bicycle repair. Besides those, there are some Infographics on Health, Visual Information and Star Wars in the EF Creative incubator.  And even though the project I’m about to mention has been completed, I can’t help but acknowledge that I was honored to be able to create an infographic for the one and only Creative Mornings Buffalo chapter!

Thanks, Eric!

July 2017′s theme for CMbuf is Equality.

We imagine a world where we’re seen and heard, respected and valued, not for our appearance and privilege, but for our work and character. A world where anyone, anywhere, has equal access to opportunities and resources to become the person they dream about. The formula for equality is a work in progress, and this work is not done from the few with power but rather through the power of community.

Equality is harmony. Harmony isn’t achieved through one instrument; it’s a collaboration, a symphony of sounds that adds richness and texture to the bigger picture. The pursuit of equality is a long-term game, an unraveling of outdated processes that no longer serves the future we imagine or deserve.

This month’s global exploration of Equality is chosen by our Johannesburg chapter, illustrated by Katt Phatlane, and presented by… Adobe! Yes, you read that correctly.