Hello! I’m Nicole. I am an entrepreneur and artist on a journey to help creatives everywhere live life on their own terms.
If you’re looking for some quick info, here are the highlights:
I co-founded FWD Partners, a consulting and development firm that believes in creative places for creative people.
I make music under the name Sound and Plastic and just released a new album, “Awakeness”.
I'm probably best known for my work on District Hall, a very special little building dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs. I was on the design team for that building, and then oversaw launch and the first 4 years of operations.
Last year, I helped open up the Autodesk BUILD Space, a 35,000 SF research workshop dedicated to innovation in the building industry.
One very new thing: I'm currently developing a new program called FWD Field Trips, which may be of interest if you like visiting creative cities and meeting creative people.
Okay, those are the highlights. Now for the full story.
I started my career in architecture, and since then I’ve had a lot of jobs: from flipping burgers to designing high-end homes, from managing innovation and research centers to supporting startups on behalf of the Mayor. Through it all, I’ve had one consistent thread:
There is nothing that makes me more excited than seeing creative people succeed.
Sometimes I just sit back and shake my head, overwhelmed at the sheer talent in the creative people around me. Every day, they are telling stories, creating beauty, making arguments. They use their hands, their voices, their bodies. They use use video, paint, code, clay and words. They explore big ideas and break them down. They take everyday moments and make them sparkle. They make their world, and our world, better, richer, more. And they make it look so easy.
But it’s not easy.
Creatives are up against a lot of challenges. We all know creative work requires energy, money, and time. And those are exactly the things that the world drains out of us every day.
Our education trains us to follow rules, to memorize.
Our workplaces drain us with bureaucracy, politics, and endless email.
Our households need cleaning and maintenance.
Our clients want us to work for free, but our bills need paying.
And at the end of it all, you’re exhausted.
The dream is to do good creative work, to be well-compensated, and to live a full, healthy life.
But all the messages around us say that it’s impossible. That to be a singer, you needed to win American Idol or get discovered by a label. That artists are always starving. That writers never get paid. That architecture is dead. That clients don’t care about good design.
It’s hard to make creative work when you’re always out of steam (and out of cash).
I know how hard it is, because that was my life.
I listened to those destructive messages, and like so many of us, I internalized them. I thought it was the only way.
Long hours and low pay. Struggling to feel creatively fulfilled, doing mundane work for difficult clients. Working nights and weekends to make my boss happy, or to make extra cash on the side. Feeling the strain on my personal relationships and my health.
It wasn’t working, so I took a leap. I jumped careers into different industries, learned about business by trying stuff and failing and trying again, devoured business books and productivity podcasts.
And over time, through research and experimentation, I have developed some new beliefs that now guide everything I do in life and in business.
I'm reworking my blog so that I can share these thoughts with you, and when it's back up and running, I hope you'll come back. I'd love for you to leave a comment and let me know what you think.
If you've read this far, thank you. I'm happy you stopped by. There are a few ways we can stay in touch. I'm on Instagram, and I use Instagram Stories most days to share what I'm up to. I'm doing a lot of work with FWD Partners these days, and if you're thinking about innovation in cities or in real estate, that's the best place to go. And if you want to receive an announcement when the new blog is up, just sign up for updates using the link to the left.
Thanks again for taking the time to visit. Have a creative, productive, fulfilling and joyful day!