In 2010, after 20-plus years in the design business, after running a successful and award-winning Boston-based design studio, Rochelle Seltzer had an epiphany.
“In the fall of 2010, I was working with [creative business coach] Peleg Top, and I was having a pretty typical conversation with him,” she recalls. “And then I said to him, ‘You know what? Can we change the subject?’ I said, ‘You know, I think I’m done.’ I’d owned my firm for 20-something years. I was tired. I needed to do something different. And I had no idea what that would be.”
Further conversations with Top helped her figure out what she wanted to do next, and gave her the confidence that she was ready. Today, Seltzer is a creativity coach, helping designers, fine artists, writers—and left-brain types as well—discover and access their creative core.
Even as a creative pro, Seltzer felt she didn’t have the opportunity to express her own creativity. Her work was entirely in the service of clients. (Sound familiar?) “People who know me professionally ask me, ‘What do you mean you didn’t get to do anything creative?’ My creativity was stored in a safe place—based on my clients’ needs.
“I believe everyone has this innate creativity, and most of us get shut down as we grow up. Now I’m helping people discover and activate their creativity for themselves, for all sorts of things in their life.”
For much of her career, Seltzer bypassed the big design industry events like the HOW Design Conference and AIGA. “I hadn’t gone to any big conferences until AIGA came to Boston [in 2005] and then HOW came to Boston [in 2008],” she says. “All of a sudden I realized I’d been missing it all these years.”
Since then, Seltzer has realized the value of design events as creative fuel, and has spoken twice at HOW Design Live. “Every time I go to a conference like that, there’s so much cross-pollination,” she says. “I’ve developed great friendships with people across the country because of going to these conferences, friendships that have enriched my practice in really enriching ways. We’re not competitors, we get to support each other, and we get to meet up again at the next conference.”
As a devoted conference-goer, Seltzer says she looks forward to HOW Design Live in her hometown this year.
We asked her: What’s YOUR Design Live?She scanned the full event program and shared her picks for Tuesday and Wednesday, when she’ll be attending HOW Design Live:
Peleg Top’s “Marketing Strategies for Attracting Your Ideal Client”
JJ Sedelmeier’s “Being a Design Sponge Doesn’t Suck”
And, she says, “On Tuesday, I think Debbie Millman and Seth Godin will be a fantastic kick-off for the day. And I’m excited to hear Maria Popova, as I love her blog Brain Pickings.”
Dan Pink’s general session “should be terrific”
Sam Harrison’s “Zooming Into Your Creative Zing Zone”
Alina Wheeler’s “Ready. Set. Reinvent!”
She appreciates that the event is now designed especially to allow creatives to choose any session in any time slot from across the 5 HOW Design Live programs, making for a totally customized experience. “It’s an opportunity to engage with people,” she continues. “And I love engaging with young designers just starting out, and being a resource for them. For young designers, this is a wealth of opportunity to learn, to be inspired, to meet people who can help them, to make connections. There is so much on the schedule that you really can try out all sorts of different things.”