Looking back at my own career path, it is amazing to see the changes I went through since starting as a graphic designer. It would have been impossible to know, when fresh out of art school and entering the work-world for the first time, where my knowledge, evolving skill set and visions would take me. This, you will find, is a common theme throughout many of the stories and profiles you will read in this issue of Women in Business. Their opportunities, passions and career choices often changed direction. Some experienced a trajectory within the same industry and others went through a complete shift to something they never imagined when they started their careers.

Take the story Shannon Mahre shares with us about Tammy Richardson. She has always had an artistic gift inside her, but did not pursue art at first. She enlisted in the Navy and then became a dental assistant. From there she obtained a master’s degree in Applied Science. It was at that time that she started to look at histology slides and saw the beauty in microscopic cells. From that observation and inspired vision, her unique art was born.

The story that Bridget Turrell has written about Lori Rae Amodio will certainly make you smile. How many women dream of working at a landfill? Not even Lori could have imagined herself there in her early years working in sales and as a seamstress. But today she has found her place in a very male dominated work environment, has earned the respect of her peers and is having a great time where she has landed.

Some of the stories come almost full circle. Laura Rankin Schlect came from a family of Yakima Valley orchardists dating back to the late 1800s. Jill Klepach’s profile on Laura’s journey shows her making an intentional choice to pursue an artistic career and earning an undergraduate degree in art history. But as life often shows us, our family and roots can have a profound influence on our choices, and for Laura that meant coming home to be part of the family wine business. She finished her graduate school program here in Yakima and stepped in to take on many responsibilities at Gilbert Cellars. Today she is not only a partner in the company but also manages all the sales and marketing at Gilbert.

Coming home again is also a theme in these pages as you will read in the profile on Sol Trevino. Sol grew up in Sunnyside where she worked on her father’s farm. But her passion has always been music. She went west of the mountains to obtain her degree in Music Business from the Art Institute of Seattle. From there opportunities to work in her desired field took her to San Antonio, Texas. But home and family always tugged at her heart and the desire to be close again prompted her to start her own music promotions company called She Bully Events, right here in Yakima. Now she is doing what she loves and has her family close by.

Passion, desire, the flexibility to change and create change — are the seeds that grew the careers of each woman featured in this issue. I hope you find inspiration from their lives and careers as I have.

— Heidi Burmeister, Niche Products & Marketing Manager