Changing Times….A New EcoEtsy Leader

A few weeks ago, our awesome EcoEtsy captain of the last two years – Karen Lee of EcoKaren and HerbanCrafts – announced that it was time for her to step down from her position because she started a new network called Green Sisterhood. It’s a community of 22 female bloggers to empower people, create awareness, and share sustainable lifestyle.

Wow. It would have to be something really great like that for her to leave the captain’s position for. And to add to her busy schedule, her daughter is a senior in high school and she wanted to spend more time with her before leaving for college. Family comes first, as always, with us moms.

But still, I couldn’t believe it at first….what would we do without Karen at the helm?  Then, I couldn’t believe that she wanted me to step into the position.  And now, a couple weeks later, I am here in WordPress trying to find the right words for this announcement post.  So, I’ve decided I’m just going to dive in and speak from the heart.

Filling Big Shoes

When Karen made her announcement in the Google Group a couple weeks ago, there were many comments like this:

“Karen, you are an inspiration”

“You are a wonderful leader and we will miss you”

“You have been an amazing and inspirational leader”

As you might imagine, for the person coming into the role, I’ve got some pretty big shoes to fill.  I spent a lot of time worrying about that….”How can I possibly fill Karen’s shoes?!”  What I finally realized a few days ago is that I can’t.  This isn’t a statement of defeat – it’s a statement of fact that provides me permission to move forward.

I can’t fill Karen’s shoes because I’m not Karen.  I don’t bring her background, her experiences, or her perspective to the table.  However, I believe in everything Karen has done for this team in the last two years and I’m committed to keeping those things going.  I hope I can build on the foundation she has built for us with the unique skills and perspective I bring to the table.  Kind of like Dr. Suess says:

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

A Little About Me

Since I’m hoping to bring a little of me to the table, I figure I should give you the quick background.

  • The Basics – Lori Sullivan shop owner/designer at DrinksToDesign
  • Education – Mechanical Engineer (yes – hidden “fun fact”) with a Masters in Engineering Management
  • Corporate Life – Worked for General Motors for 20 years – Engineering (5 years), Market Research (5 years), Marketing Team at Saturn (10 years)…you can catch the details if interested on LinkedIn
  • Entrepreneurial Life – I am now a marketing strategist and jewelry designer.  I balance my time between the two….probably skewed a bit more toward the marketing roles most days.  I LOVE both.
  • Family – I’ve been married for nearly 20 years (anniversary in November) and have two wonderful children – a daughter that is 14 and a son who is 11.  I love spending time with them and my entrepreneurial life has really helped me achieve the balance between work and home that I struggled with during my corporate years.

My Green / EcoEtsy Story 

When I was at Saturn, I worked on the launch of the Saturn VUE Hybrid.  At the time, I wasn’t really leading much of a green lifestyle….I recycled, but that was about the extent of things.  However, I started to consume a lot of information about living a greener lifestyle and was immediately hooked.

I began to make changes at home with a goal of each day/week/month to live “one shade greener” than the day/week/month before.  Those small changes really started to add up over time.  I started following the EcoEtsy team long before I had a shop on Etsy.  In fact, I found an e-mail that I sent in the summer of 2009 asking Karen if she needed any writers for the blog.  She kindly let me know that I needed to have an Etsy shop and join the team first!

So, I joined Etsy and EcoEtsy with my first shop (OneShadeGreener) in 2010.  As soon as I was on the team, I started writing Business Tips.  Then, in early 2011 I took over the management of the EcoEtsy blog and writing team.  I have had an awesome 18 months with the team of amazing writers!!  I will miss the weekly conversations with them as I transition that role to Myra of HerbanLuxe (more on Myra and the new writing team next week).  Myra will do a phenomenal job in this role and I look forward to working with her to move the team forward!!

My Hopes and Dreams For the Team

I’ve had some difficulty thinking about my hopes and dreams.  I know it’s important to “think big” so that you can start to move toward a vision.  So, let’s try for five goals for the team:

  1. Promote and educate on what it takes to live and work greener.  Communicate ideas and inspiration to others on how to change habits and make a difference.
  2. Continue to grow and strengthen the EcoEtsy blog to raise awareness for the team outside of the Etsy community.
  3. Develop new marketing and merchandising ideas that introduce the incredible artisans in the EcoEtsy team.
  4. Look for brands with like values that can be strong cross-promotion partners for the team.
  5. Engage the team.  Highlight the strengths of the entire team and work together to create plans for the future.


As I was looking for images for this post, two cute pillows from Kim of Ekofabrik really seem to sum up the journey I’ve taken in coming to terms with my new role over the last few weeks……

I’ve gone from “OMG Karen is leaving” to “EcoEtsy is a field of flowers that I can do my best to water and allow the creativity of the team to move us forward”.  I’ve picked up the rain barrel….get ready team I’m starting to water!

Thanks to all of the followers of this blog for supporting this fabulous team of artists!!  Two years from now, I’m hoping that I can look back on this post and feel like I’ve achieved a couple dreams and maybe someone will think I’ve created some big shoes to fill :)

Lead Image from PeacesOfIndigo

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  1. Excited to have you in this new role, Lori!

  2. Awww…..thanks everyone for the vote of confidence!!! I am excited to discover what is next for the EcoEtsy team!

  3. First of all I would like to thank Karen for all her hard work and dedication to this team – she has been an amazing leader and I am grateful for the time she has been able to generously give to all of us – A BIG THANK-YOU Karen, and all the best for you new ventures.
    Lori you have so much to offer us all in the new role of our new team leader. You are awesome and we are thrilled to have you. Thank-you so much!

  4. Lori,
    I agree with Linda & Nancy.

    You already rock!! Otherwise, I wouldn’t have asked you! Besides, you have the whole team behind you so you got nuttin’ to worry about!

    So looking forward to what you have in store for us!


  5. Lori, you already rock. I look forward to your leadership!

  6. Awesome post Lori!Mahalo for stepping up t the plate to lead this team.You are awesome!