What I Wanted to be When I Grew Up – Didn’t Happen


So we all have our dreams when we’re little, or when we’re in high school, or later, if and when we’re in college. I realize that not everyone figures out what they want to be when they grow up at the same time. And sometimes, we never figure it out. And that’s alright because life is for learning.

And if you’re not learning, you’re not living, in this working mom’s humble opinion.

I’ve got big dreams

So take me for example…I had big dreams, BIG dreams, to work in the arts and the non-profit world. And to become some great curator at some amazing museum somewhere. I got myself an art history degree and two minors, in French and anthropology. I lived and breathed art for years. I had a plan. And it fell apart. And it ended up being okay.

It was okay because somewhere in the early part of my career, I figured out I was really good at other things, like communications and marketing and PR. And I took those transferable skills and applied them to a career in, wait for it…marketing and communications. Did I miss art? Yes. Did I regret not having pursued a masters in art? Yep. But I don’t regret where my career has gone. It’s also allowed me to be a real hands-on mom with my boys.

Letting Life Happen

It’s amazing when you’re open-minded enough, to just let life happen, and see where it takes you. I actually read recently that people with liberal arts degrees are increasingly sought out for many different types of jobs these days. 

The best part about all of this, at least in my situation, is that the more successful you are (however it is you define success), opportunities begin to present themselves more and more. In my case, I was able to find my way back to the arts and non-profits again, in the form of volunteering. I accepted a board of directors position for a local arts and leadership charter school, also a non-profit, to help them with marketing and communications and PR. And I chair the Fundraising and Marketing Committee now. It’s been a really wonderful intersection of my professional experience and passion for the arts. And I get to make a school better that I want to send my own child to.

Finding your happy place

So sure, getting back into the arts meant volunteering, but it gets me in my happy place. And I still have my corporate marketing career. But now I’m considering some other long term plans. Such as taking my 20+ year marketing career and going to graduate school for non-profit leadership. Maybe. I haven’t really decided yet. I kind of like that I don’t have to decide right now. I also like the sound of spending the last two decades of my career exactly where I had wanted to start. And if it doesn’t happen, that’s okay. I’ve got my happy space. And I can always find new ones.

Changing career tides

Funny how life can work out sometimes. The interesting cycle of life, in terms of a professional career path anyway. I feel like there are have been multiple times across my career where the tides have changed. And sometimes changing its course wasn’t the right thing (aka, because kids), and sometimes it was (aka because kids are older). It’s been an interesting 20 years, that is for sure. And I’m excited to see where the next wave takes me.

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Born and raised in NJ, Heather left with fire on her heels to attend ASU in Tempe, AZ in 1995, where she obtained a degree in art history, while minoring in both anthropology and French. While at ASU she met her husband Jake and began their loud, crazy, fun filled life together. She’s a full time corporate marketing consultant, freelance writer, is on the board for and chairs the fundraising and marketing committee for Flagstaff Arts & Leadership ACademy, and most importantly, a very hands on and fun mom to two wild boys Zane, age 9, and Van, age 4. They’ve made Flagstaff their forever home since 2010 and Is actively involved in our mountain community, lives for live music, good food and wine, reading books about real life people, and a lover of the outdoors.