The Newcomer

We’ve all been there…and to be candid, many of us are still there. Fighting for our balance on a daily basis in this new reality. As an independent business owner for more than two decades, and having witnessed several recessions, two major economic crashes and a global pandemic…I’m no stranger to this feeling. But in order to continue our growth as a firm, and deliver on what I knew in my heart our customers valued, I needed to morph my understanding of what it meant to be a committed member of my team. And I’m so thankful I did.

Further proof, that sometimes all it takes to point one’s compass in an exciting new direction, is a fresh perspective, and a series of answered and unanswered prayers.

Mindset. Matters.

As an Artist, Contractor and Design Professional I have more than a few stories to tell and thoughts to share. And between my family, the radio show, the team, our clients and this blog…this unapologetic middle-child can always find an audience. So, I thought I’d try something a little different. I thought it was time to share a new perspective. A different take. One with a front row seat to The Design Coach experience, but from an altogether different vantage point. After listening to our new Showroom Coordinator, Amber, share a bit of her journey to us over the past couple of weeks, I asked if she would be comfortable sharing it with all of you in a guest blog. She graciously and enthusiastically agreed. And I’m so thankful she did, as I’ve always believed that The Design Coach was so much more than an interior design firm, but also a platform to exchange ideas, inspiration and information. And as a collaboration of artists and designers of differing backgrounds, from our retail experiences to the radio show, we’ve always strived to create as many connection points as possible in the hopes of inspiring those around us. Amber’s story inspired us, and I’m sure you’ll feel the same. Introducing the first blog entry of hopefully many more to come, from our new Showroom Coordinator, Amber Benson. Welcome to the team!

-Philip Sassano, The Design Coach

Entry #1: How I Found the Perfect Job for Me.

[Spoiler Alert: I ultimately had nothing to do with it.]

“The Newcomer” series- written by Amber Benson

“I never thought I’d be 37 trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. [the career/job aspect] I’ve done a LOT of learning and growing in that time but I desire more, I want something steady that isn’t retail but still service related.” Journal entry circa June 2021. At the time I really felt like I was failing after just quitting a recent job. Torn between earning extra income to put towards our financial goals or being home to care for our kiddos ages 14, 11, & 9 over the summer. [Not to mention the current state of our world.] I really desired a fulfilling, flexible, part-time job. And I really thought it would be impossible to find and I would be settling for something, because that’s what you have to do sometimes.

On the page before the above quote, I wrote what I wanted. A career goal of sorts. Here is what it says, “I want to be a servant leader, encourager, positive light, and use my organizational oriented mind to fulfil the vision of a company by supporting staff and analyzing aspects of the business to find areas of improvement to work towards vision and goals. I want to do this with authenticity and love.” You know, just a small ask. I am a mom first and foremost but I am also more than that. How could I possibly find the heartcry I scribed in my journal ?

Fast forward to August and back to school time. After we all got adjusted to the new routine I started looking for a part-time job, local to me, with flexibility. Nothing was working out for many different reasons. You might think I was being difficult or picky, I probably was. We all know there are plenty of jobs to be had out there right now. I really just know what my family’s needs are, what I am able to give,

and I did not want to waste anyone’s time. I prayed to find something local and flexible. One day I stopped by to visit a dear friend of mine on a whim as I was in the area and I hadn’t seen her beautiful face in a while. Her hubby, Jonathan, was home and he asked me what I was up to lately. I said, “Not a whole lot, looking for a job, so if you hear of anything….” Funny thing. He actually did know someone who was looking to hire…it happened to be Philip. Around the same time I had applied for another job that was local & offered flexibility and I was in the middle of the interviewing process. I struggle sometimes with making decisions, especially one like this. [After interview selfie I sent to a friend, you know so she could see what I wore. Lol. I don’t know why we do this. We just do.]

During my prayer time on the day of my interviews I asked for help making the decision. I heard the still small voice say, “ You will know.” I was like, okay….all I needed to do was show up. So I went. And wow! There is no possible way to explain with words how my soul responded to being in The Design Coach showroom during my interview with Philip. I had utter peace, zero nervousness, I was also on fire with joy from the depths of me. I was in the exact place intended for me at this time. You could not wipe the smile off of my face. So yeah. I knew. Without a doubt this was the one. In case you hadn’t already figured, the interview went really well. Ha!

On my first day I was tasked with organizing, hole punching, ringing, and binning a plethora of beautiful fabric memos. I LOVE organizing! [Don’t come to my house though. I live with 4 other people who don’t have the same eye for organization.] So needless to say I was stoked. As I got started, it hit me. I am here in the Starline building [we go way back], surrounded by this tangible creative Spirit, I get to work with a dear friend and former [super awesome] boss, I also have this new opportunity to support The Design Coach team. One word sums up how I feel about my first 2 weeks. Grateful.

There were no coincidences in the coming about for this new adventure for me. I stopped striving to make something happen. The timing of everything. My strengths and abilities. The needs of the Design Coach team. My availability. The flexibility. The vision and leadership of Philip. [You guys, he’s the best kind of people, in case you haven’t met him yet.] I believe wholeheartedly, this was orchestrated by something, Someone, much bigger than us. I truly look forward to the next steps in store and getting to know the team in order to help serve them best. As a creative, it fills my buckets to be in the company of other creatives, especially the positive ones with the growth mindsets and a vision. There is no telling where these steps will lead us.

Extra Bits & Pieces:

My second week I finished up the first part of the fabric memo organization and got to flex my art installation muscles by working on this vignette in The Showroom. [I volunteered for NMP’s 4th Fridays at Starline years ago and at The Dole more recently, and worked alongside so many amazing volunteers to design and execute large scale art installation projects.]

Pinch me. I still can’t believe I get to show up to work in this space. Unbelievably grateful.


Another highlight is that I get to use my photography background as well. Getting to use and refine these skills while I’m on the job is pretty awesome.

Until next time!

Love & Light,

Amber…the Newcomer.

Photo Credit: A. Benson