2009 was a big year for me, I had one of those transformational moments, what some people might call an early mid-life crisis. It dawned on me that year I had reached the very same age my Dad was when he was killed in a tragic car accident: he was 32 with an 18 month old daughter at home (me). I remember thinking how short life can be, and that I hadn't done anything significant with my life...yet. For some reason I started practicing yoga more than the once a week I had been doing for the last 10 years. Through intensive self-study and a daily yoga practice and a series of uncomfortable scenarios and decisions I started digging down to what was really important in to me in life and unveiled the life I was destined to live vs the one I seemed to be stuck in. I began to realize was in a marriage for the wrong reasons and eventually divorced. Life changed drastically that year with what seemed like a series of failures at the time, but turned out to be huge life lessons.
Around about that time of my transformative moment in 2009 I met a colleague while working at VSA Partners I can now call a serial entrepreneur, Erin Huizenga. I immediately fell in love with the concept for EPIC she was developing having had a similar vision feeling there was a way I could use my talents and expertise to help do work that makes a difference in my community. Erin and I agreed every city needs an EPIC, and there's no need for me to start something new, but rather, join forces. Erin and I had many conversations over the next few years and patiently awaited the right time to introduce the EPIC model to Minnesota. In January 2013, I launched the first EPIC Chapter in Minnesota at the Fine Line with 250 creative and nonprofit industry supporters. The launch event included presentations and support from Erin and EPIC Chicago as well as Jeff Johnson and Tim Brunelle. Tim eloquently captures the spirit of that exciting night in his speech I encourage you to read here. I was so moved and inspired by Tim's words it brought me to tears. Tim and I now live together in our humble home in South Minneapolis and I couldn't be happier with the life I am living–a fortunate, unexpected and serendipitous result of that evening.
Myself, along with a board of 8 loyal, dedicated and entrepreneurial-minded comrades, have since completed 7 creative rallies for local nonprofits to date donating over $500,000 in pro bono creative services to 7 local nonprofits. We continue to build and develop EPIC in hopes to re-launch our rallies again soon after taking a bit of a hiatus this last year to operationalize to find the most sustainable model moving forward. I invite you to learn more or get involved by visiting our website (note: currently in development).