I grew up in Northern Canada, in the mining community of Thompson, Manitoba. I spent my childhood running through forests, fishing, swimming, and climbing trees. To this day, I’m a tomboy who loves to make up games.
At the age of twelve, I moved to Winnipeg, where I had a really difficult time adjusting to city life. On my first day at a new school I took a city bus in the wrong direction and wound up lost halfway across town. I didn’t do well in school—leading my parents to conclude I was bored, which made perfect sense.
I’d been making music since I could speak. At the age of 15, I could play both guitar and piano, and was writing songs people liked. I was asked to play the annual Women's Festival in 1992, and began performing professionally at the age of 16. Despite my extracurricular successes, I was failing in school—math in particular—but was doing very well at music. So naturally I quit school, got a job at Burger King, and moved out on my own.
The magic of living on my own as a teenager lasted exactly two years before an a fire forced all my roommates and I to move back home for a while.
Although I was still determined to make a living as an artist, I was starting to realize what a struggle that choice would be, and I resolved to learn a marketable skill that might pay some bills without leaving me smelling perpetually of fried food.
I was always a passable character artist, and had freelanced as a comic artist and been hired to create band posters and flyers for the local music scene. Using a borrowed computer, I taught myself the first version of Photoshop and Corel Draw. I developed enough skills to forge a high school diploma and apply for Red River College's first Computer Animation course.
During college, I got married (and later, divorced) and had a baby, which you'd think would have made things more difficult, but actually just gave me a lot more drive to learn and succeed.
Since graduating from college in 1997, I've worked at animation and design studios in Calgary and Winnipeg, and traveled the world designing interactive experiences for companies like Google, Air New Zealand, Reebok, and Coca-cola.
As a single mom, I frequently brought my son, Dylan, to work. I was always concerned about the amount of time he wanted to spend in front of a television or computer—his childhood was far more sedentary than mine had been. We both loved playing games, so I looked for experiences that were at least somewhat active. We played Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution using a projector I borrowed from work.
This was how I discovered that pretty much everything is cooler when it's projected really big.
In 2008, I met a programmer named Curtis Wachs who helped me create interactive projections for a side project. Within a year, my first company, Pomoproject, was born. The following year, we had landed our first corporate installation, incorporated as PO-MO Inc., and were on our way to becoming a real company.
I currently run three companies. I’m also developing a toy that will transform a child's room into an interactive playground. The toy, called Lumo, is inspired by my own experiences as an interactive digital media producer and single parent with concerns about screen time and childhood development.
I believe it takes 3 things to become really good at whatever you want to do in life. You need to work hard; find inspiration around you all the time; and be willing to suck at something for a long time in order to get better at it.