Writers Tricks of the Trade ISSUE 1, VOLUME 9 - Page 8

While taking my residential marketing class at UCLA, I met one of the vice presi- dents of a Glendale, California development corporation. They built housing tracts and did condo conversions. We struck up a friendship and he appeared very interested in my interior design career. I will add here, I was the only interior designer in that pro- gram. Everyone else was either in real es- tate or some related field. Eventually he gave Carol and me the opportunity to sub- mit a proposal for four model homes and introduced me to other executives and the CEO of the corporation. The project unfor- tunately was put on hold because it was to have a man-made lake and there was a wa- ter shortage. But, he and other members of his company had gotten to know me and seen what I could do. To my surprise, they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. They had attempted to establish an in-house design department for over five years, but never found the right person. Not only that, but they never interviewed a woman for the job. Now they wanted me. I was in the midst of a divorce and when I told Carol what it would mean to me to have a steady income, she offered to buy me out. I became their Director of Design with responsibility for setting up the department from scratch, resourcing, establishing forms and procedures, hiring and training personnel, designing models, sales offices, common areas and the design centers and interacting with their advertising company. While I’d never done anything that extensive, I heard Mom’s voice in my ear: “You can do it, Honey. I believe in you.” During that time I wrote multiple de- sign articles for publications and was a S PRING 2019 speaker at ASID events. Me—the designer without her degree giving advice to mem- bers of that prestigious society. My friends at Designer’s West still requested articles from me as well. When the housing industry was deci- mated by interest rates rising to as high as 18% in 1981, residential developers were literally hanging on by their fingernails. It had to come to pass. My boss made the hard decision to let me go because the combined salaries of both designers I trained would cost less than my salary. We parted on friendly terms. Never having re- ally done sales before, I got a job in office interior sales. With my confidence in myself at full tilt, I negotiated a higher salary than any of the other marketing reps at the dealership. Once again, Mom’s voice echoed in my ear—”You can do this, Honey.” Our VP of Marketing was a master trainer and I owe all my future sales successes to him. During my time in design sales, I wrote more arti- cles for various publications on multiple topics. I discovered that I had a real talent for sales and marketing, and my ability to write articles was a plus. Years passed. Although I didn’t know an amp from an ohm, I was hired as part of a national marketing team to introduce a state of the art product called flat cable which delivered power, telephone and data to open office areas. I beat out 125 appli- cants with electrical engineering degrees. I believed I could do it. For five years I was a partner in The House Account, a marketing and promotion firm and we dealt heavily in barter. My partner was an expert in that field and I P AGE 3 W RITERS ’ T RICKS OF THE T RADE