"Winning" The Summit

Luck + Preparation = Opportunity.

Luck for me in this case happens to be the Lady Project. When I attended the 2014 summit, I had just moved back to Providence and was a fairly recent member. A friend had introduced me to Lady Project and after attending the birthday bash, I was sold.

The summit was a humongous success for me. I met Monica Lee when I may have, kind of, sort of, snuck into her full class. Shhh, don’t tell Sierra. I was, and am still, a huge fan of her Smart Creative Women podcast. Since then, we’ve become friends. I took her great online style course, and have been featured on her blog. Summit win 1.

I paid off 3 THOUSAND DOLLARS of debt with money I didn’t know that I had until I attended Maureen Kerrigan’s “how to take charge of your financial future” seminar. In case you were in that class with me, I was the one oversharing and generally flipping out over her own financial cluelessness. After class, Maureen gave me her card, told me to email her and we would figure things out together. At our meeting a few weeks later, she showed me that I had money in an IRA from my deceased mother that I could use to help pay off some of my debt. Summit (HUGE) win 2.

My third summit win is “luck + preparation = opportunity” exemplified. As an illustrator, I am constantly producing new work that I am sending out there into the world. But with most artistic professions, sometimes the most I get is 30 likes from my friends on Facebook, a nice phone call from my grandmother, and that’s that. Then I heard Rebekah Epstein, founder of fifteen media, speak of this amazing thing called the “press release.” I knew what a press release was; it just never occurred to me that it could help my illustration career. And so when one of my custom bridal illustrations part of The Rhode Show’s feature on the Lady Projects summer guide, I sent out a press release to all the RI media outlets in RI and… nothing. But 8 months later, the Providence Journal Bulletin, who was one of the organization who received my press release, contacted me. They wanted to write a feature on my bridal illustrations. I was interviewed, had my photo taken, and was looking forward a few inches devoted to me at the back of the lifestyle section.

photo: Iris Westcott
photo: Iris Westcott

When a relative calls you at 7am on Sunday morning it’s either a very good thing or a very bad thing. As I mumbled into the phone “Ok, who died?” My aunt screamed back “OH MY GOD! Have you seen the paper?!”. My article was not two inches in the back of the lifestyle section, it was two humongous pages with my face plastered on the cover. That article has resulted in new customers and new work opportunities. Oh, and I got recognized at the gas station.

I’m looking forward to seeing what opportunities this year’s summit brings. Because not everyone can get recognized at a Shell station. But being a Lady Project member helps.

Erica Campanella is an illustrator and designer who lives in Providence, RI. She is the owner of E. Campanella Design Studios LLC, a design studio that creates art and patterns for the fashion, home decor and product design industry. Some of her favorite past clients include Rebecca Taylor, Maria Claire, and Shutterfly. Her current claim to fame is that her illustrations have appeared on the Hershey Easter Chocolate packaging for the last two years. When she's not doing work, she's a newbie rower, a epic dinner party host, or is chasing after a very spry 12 year old corgi named Teddy.