I am crazy excited to launch this project today. It's been in my heart for years and has taken many shapes and forms before finally landing here after a long birthing process.
I am thrilled to feature Jo Packham as our first feature. You may know Jo as the powerhouse behind the Where Women Create magazines, The Creative Connection Event and more, but underneath all that success is a woman who simply sees potential and possibility inside inspired ideas. I've had the pleasure of working with her on a handful of projects, and I admire her, look up to her, and am always amazed at how humble she is.
I also love how she follows her inspiration all the way until completion - this is what makes her a Possibilitarian. She has many great ideas and she simply ushers them through their journey, like a mama birthing a spirit into the world, until those ideas have reached their fullest possibility. Sometimes those possibility-brithed ideas made it big, sometimes they didn't, but she always saw the potential, even when times were bleak. Read on and get ready to be inspired.
Who were you before you became an out & proud Possibilitarian? What was your ‘early’ career, or ‘previous life’?
I had 16 jobs before I was 18 ... scooping ice cream was the most memorable. I got married at 18, quit college and went to work to put my husband through college, graduate school, and 1 year of law school. Then I went back to college, and with special permission from the Dean, completed 5 years of college in 2 years. The Spring quarter of my 2nd year I got pregnant with my daughter. I had the baby, moved from Sacramento to Utah, opened a retail store - Apple Arts - with my best friend .... and my creative journey began.
What did you (secretly) long for, in that previous life?
Something, but I was never certain exactly what it was or what that really meant. I just knew that there was something "more" for me. My dreams were not concrete or focused, it was simply an uneasy feeling that I could do more, be more. What I am doing today was a happenstance ... not a dream or a vision. It was never even a twinkle in my eye. It was one idea that lead to another and then another and then another. Even today, I have no focus or vision of what tomorrow will be or what I will work so hard for. It is simply that all of a sudden I have a great idea and then I am relentless in its pursuit and fulfillment.
Was there a pivotal moment when everything shifted? What happened?When I met my best friend Martha. My husband was in law school in Sacramento. I had no friends, no car, no money, and I was so not happy. I decided to take a class at the local high school - they had night classes for adults. By the time I found out about the program they had only one class with an opening - a class called Batik. At the time I didn't even know what Batik was, but I didn't care. I had to get out of our house and meet someone. I went to class, sat on the back row, and in walked Martha. She sat down next to me, we became instant friends, and she introduced me to the world of handmade. If you were Martha's friend then you did what Martha loved, there was no discussion about it, so for 3 years we took every class up and down the California coast in everything from knitting, to basket weaving, to quilting and she gave me her gift of passion for those who create with their hands and their hearts.
When that pivotal moment arrived, how did you gather the courage to cross the threshold into a Possibilitarian life & career?It is interesting because for me there is no courage, not even any forethought really. I am doing something, either by myself or with someone, I get an idea, and I just begin to do whatever it takes to make it what I think it (the idea) can be. A retail store, books, manufacturing product, licensing, blogs, magazines. I have never had a 5 year plan, never even a vision of the steps to creating anything. I can only "see" the ultimate possibilities of the" idea of the moment". And I never think about the next step and what that should be. Every step is just like walking for me ... you do it without thinking about it or even know that you are doing it ... it is what it is. You need to get someplace so you just begin by taking one step at a time all the while seeing only the idea complete.
Where are you NOW? What have you created, what’s on the horizon, and how have you been applauded & recognized for your work?Right NOW I am in a place that not even I could ever dream of ... I have never been so happy, so inspired, just so lucky to be doing what I am doing.
*I had a retail store that sold art supplies to a college, which led to being one of the first companies to design and self-publish cross-stitch books. For about 10 years we sold millions of books and won every award given for design, sales, booth displays, being an entrepreneur, and more.
*The bottom fell out of the soft-bound, self-published needlework market so I went to work with the "big" publishers, Oxmoor House and Meredith to begin and then later Rodale, Time-Warner, Sterling, B&N, Chronicle, and others. I sold millions more of hard-bound how-to craft books in all categories. Again, won every award for booth displays, new product, being an entrepreneur, etc. We then manufactured lines of our own product that went with our books (which included a line of hand-painted, hand molded, shortbread flower cookies), and licensed with greeting card and gift companies.
*We lost everything one more time and built it back this time adding 3 award winning retail stores and a commitment to building the historic district of our community (established the Historic 25th Street Merchants Association, won many community awards, built the largest Christmas Celebration in Utah, chaired the Arts Council for our 75th 4th of July Celebration and had 75 life-size fiberglass horses painted by local artists.) By this time, it's 2005.
* The years from 2005 to today are really the most impactful of my 30 year career. In 2009, we started the magazines (which is such a story in and of itself).) Also started writing and packaging books again, licensing again, and began the process of manufacturing and creating my own product lines. I am also working on a blog that I hope will be one of those that becomes a go-to place for the hard questions in regards to being an entrepreneur ... as well as being a place of inspiration. We are building a community of exceptional, inspirational, successful women whose parts are equally as valuable as the sum of the whole.
What’s ONE piece of advice or encouragement you’d give to someone who’s facing their own pivotal moment, right now?
It simply cannot be ONE piece of advice for me. It has to be:
1. Believe that there isn't anything you cannot do, you simply need to learn how.
2. Do your homework.
3. NEVER take "NO" for an answer ... just keep asking the questions until you understand how to "fix" it, make it, sell it, and above all ... be successful at it!
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