Today we’d like to introduce you to Melissa Zier.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Melissa. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My story started as soon as I could hold a crayon. I would spend hours drawing, coloring, and creating. My mother would have to drag me away from my projects to eat and to sleep—very little has changed since then. I spent my childhood and adolescence in Western North Dakota, where I was the local artist for my town of approximately 1,300 people. As an employee at Mike’s Super Valu, I created the weekly specials posters that hung in the windows. I was a very active member of the Art Club and Student Council, which allowed me to spearhead mural projects, theater set design, event graphics, and more. As an adult, I’ve helped several businesses in my hometown with logos, branding, and marketing.
My love of the arts led me to seek a Bachelor’s degree from The Art Institute of Colorado. After graduating at the top of my class, I took the lead in developing the creative department of Colorado Wholesale Group, where I designed brochures, packaging, and marketing materials that increased the company’s visibility in the very competitive automotive market. My love of philanthropy blossomed here during a project that we partnered on with Susan G. Koman. From there, I gained valuable creative and supervisory skills incorporate design and print production at Garb Inc., an apparel company located in Denver, Colorado. I provided brand-consistent designs for the company’s golf, tennis and collegiate divisions, public affairs, social media, and employee communications efforts.
I relocated to Houston, Texas, to be closer to family and friends while pursuing new opportunities in graphic design, marketing, and advertising. I took a position teaching Technology and Yearbook full-time at St. Francis Episcopal School and was appointed the Middle School Technology Content Chair within six months of employment. I completely revamped the Yearbook curriculum and created a program that brought in three times the advertising revenue of the next highest-grossing year, while winning numerous awards for the student-driven publication.
St. Francis played a pivotal role in developing my passion for being a “person for others.” I was involved in many community outreach projects that were making such a significant impact. One of these projects included being a founding member of a student based group called the CARES (Children Actively Remaking Economic Situations) Program that focused on alleviating poverty across the globe. Our largest project involved working with a high school in Duze, Swaziland. This opportunity connected me to other philanthropists from diverse backgrounds, such as Roxane Richter and the Cutts family, who helped shape me into who I am today.
I relocated to Singapore and created several professional relationships while pursuing contract and freelance work on a full-time basis. In my free time, I began exploring more volunteer opportunities and after being inspired by Matthew Manos of Very nice (verynice.co/about), I started to work toward the “Give Half” business model. As part of this effort, I began working with Roxane Richter of World Missions Possible (worldmissionspossible.org) to redesign their website for free. I was able to teach myself web design skills and give back to an organization that keeps less than a 5% overhead.
Since then, I’ve done skills-based volunteering for several other non-profits, including Blessings in a Backpack, Citizens for Animal Protection (CAP), and the McKenzie and Williams County Community Coalitions. The campaign against underage drinking done for the coalitions is one I hold near and dear to my heart because it personally affected me and had (and continues to have) such an impact on my small, hometown community.
After more than a decade of doing freelance hustle in addition to a full-time job, I established BusyMo Media & Design, LLC, in 2014, just before moving to Singapore. In 2018, I successfully transitioned into working full-time for myself. A year later, I was approached by my friend and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s 2017 Man of the Year winner, Scott Gildea, regarding a nomination to run for the 2020 LLS Woman of the Year campaign.
I had done my research, and this campaign scared me. The numbers the candidates were achieving were impressive and very intimidating! I was hesitant. I told Mr. Gildea “no” about three or four times before finally, reluctantly, saying “yes.” The campaign approached, and I grew more nervous. And then, weeks before the kickoff event, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Everything changed. My fear transformed into purpose, and I assembled a team to assist me in raising funds and awareness for cancer patients that continue to be at the highest risk. We built a website (Together4LLS.com) and set a goal to raise $50,000 in 10 weeks and just started our seventh week.
This campaign has inspired me and continues to surprise me every day. In addition to my uncle’s fight against Leukemia, my friends and family came out of the woodwork with tales of how these diseases have challenged their own lives. I learned that The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) helps with research for other cancers and even autoimmune disorders—including my diagnosis of Lupus. I’ve found so much purpose in something that gave me so much anxiety in the beginning. And I’ve met so many amazing people in the process. In a time of so much uncertainty and pain, I have found creative inspiration, and most importantly—hope.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
There is no growth without discomfort. I’ve encountered self obstacles, but I tend to find that I, myself, am the most significant roadblock I ever face. Overcoming self-doubt and insecurities has been a challenge since a very young age, and everything started to fall into place as soon as I aligned myself with people that shared the same values I did. Changing my “problem” based perspective to a “solution” based outlook has made all the difference. I adore a good puzzle!
BusyMo Media & Design – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
BusyMo Media & Design focuses on addressing the needs of small and large businesses that want to maximize their visibility and outperform their competitors. We are your one-stop-shop for branding, graphic design, web design, copywriting, and print and digital marketing.
There is nothing that makes us feel better than helping organizations that are doing good for the rest of the world. Think about all of the time and money that non-profit organizations put into design and marketing work, and how much more they could accomplish if those funds were used on the work that really matters. We strive to achieve the “Give Half” business model, in which we do 50% of our work pro bono for 501(c)3 non-profits.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I’ve had so many moments that have shaped my career—I can’t pinpoint just one. I oozed joy every time I watched a light bulb turn on for students in my class, or every time they solved something that I couldn’t figure out on my own. I remember the happy dances we’d do when we’d solve a puzzle in the yearbook room. I remember the pride of watching those students graduate after having them for four years. I remember having one of my most memorable students come back to work in the Technology Department as a paid intern for the summer and falling over in awe after he took only 30 minutes to write a program that imported students into a software database. That same task would have taken me hours!
As I get older, I realize that life isn’t always about reaching the biggest milestones—it’s the little moments, the small but significant victories we do not notice at the time, that stand out the most when we reflect on how far we’ve come.
- Website: busymo.com
- Phone: 346.262.5823
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: busymozier, busymomediadesign
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/busymomediadesign, facebook.com/groups/Together4LLS
- Twitter: melissadzier, busymodesign
- Other: Together4LLS.com
Shan Charles, Dave Camara, Karen Anne Jacks