I'm pretty sure somewhere in 2003 my family wanted to ask when I was going to stop this "business planning thing" and get a job. When I started the business as a sole proprietorship in 2002, I never really set out for it to be what it's become. I thought I could help some people, make some money, and work when I wanted. That was my original business plan. When the workload reached a point I couldn't do it all I started thinking about breaking the plan into pieces and have someone focus on each particular section so I could just sell and do financial modeling. In 2004 the team plan model was developed. Since then we have worked with over 10,000 clients and counting.
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2004—The first Alight Planning Certified Consultant
2007—Inc 500 list #111 in the US and #2 in Portland with over 2000% growth
2008—Invited to be a Portland Business Journal and Inc Magazine Guest Columnist
2008—Honored to join Friends of the Children Marketing Committee
2009—Honored as one of Portland's Top 40 Under 40 business people in 2008 by the Portland Business Journal based on business practices and giving back to the community.
2010—Elected to Entrepreneur Organization's Portland chapter Board of Directors as Membership Chair
William came to MasterPlans after a less rewarding career as a paralegal. He does two main things for MasterPlans: 1) monitoring workflow internally, and 2) writing business plans for some of our most promising clients. His hands-on work with our special projects division has led to successful venture documents for companies in the solar industry, biotechnology, ecommerce, and the entertainment field.
William attended Brown University and was the Tristam Burges scholar in English. Burned out on literature from his college days, he now "won't read outside work" and commits his evenings to watching NBA basketball, working to renovate his house, and spending time with friends and colleagues.
As a current resident of Los Angeles, Miri is a well balanced career woman, wife, and mother. She is a natural communicator, and with 12 years of sales experience, coupled with numerous entrepreneurial ventures, she lends a unique perspective and always makes lasting impressions with clients.
Miri adds a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and drive to Masterplans and Masterplans adds it right back to her. As soon as you talk to her, you'll notice her infectious enthusiasm for entrepreneurship that really motivates you. As soon as we met Miri, we knew we needed her on our team.
Her experience ranges all the way from top sale positions with European Corporations to launching her own lucrative company, however, it's her family that keep Miri grounded and her children's bright futures that drive her to succeed.
Marisa has managed more than 2,000 business plan projects since joining the MasterPlans team. Her project portfolio spans all industries and includes many successful companies, including:
Marisa's penchant (some may say obsession) for organization and her analytic approach to each project are both key ingredients for successful projects. A seasoned veteran of the industry, her work with such a wide variety of businesses gives her a unique perspective as a project manager. "Because I've worked with so many different types of business models, I am able to quickly grasp new business ideas and identify what makes them unique as compared to other businesses in the market. I think this is really beneficial to clients—it means that they spend less time explaining to me what the business 'is' and more time on what strategies they plan to deploy, or what unique attributes their business has to make it stand out and succeed. These key points are—at the end of the day—what investors are looking for most in a business plan."
Prior to joining MasterPlans, Marisa worked in operations management and dabbled in film and video editing. She recently helped her partner plan and launch a preschool, which is now successfully operating in Portland. Marisa graduated from Columbia University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. As captain of Columbia's softball team, she was a four time All-Ivy League honoree. When not deep in the throes of business planning, you may find Marisa biking the streets of Portland, paddling on the Willamette with her dragon boat team, or indulging in the local food scene.
Starting at MasterPlans as an editor, Paige Short quickly progressed to writing business plan narratives, and then to project management. While she has managed several hundred projects, Paige has worked on countless business plans in all stages of development, excelling at each position. The key, she says, lies in foresight—having the perspicacity to intuit the needs of clients and business planners is an attribute that allows Paige to take on challenges with composure.
Paige finds the critical close reading, analysis, and interpretation skills she honed while earning her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in literature vital to her leadership role at MasterPlans. "Details are critical, and being able to understand the elements of a project as part of a larger context is also vital. It's the synthesis that is often the challenge in project management."
An Irving Story Scholar and honors student at Pacific University, Paige Short earned the Outstanding Graduate Award for her class, and worked as an editor and writing resource specialist for the university. She taught English in graduate school, and earned her Master's Degree in literature from Portland State University.
Like most of our clients, Brock Aun first came to MasterPlans in search of a new beginning. Brock started his MasterPlans career as a narrative writer and market researcher, where he applied his passion for writing to key portions of business plans on behalf of businesses as diverse as start-up daycare providers and multinational energy firms. It didn't take long, however, before Brock was identified as an ideal candidate to work directly with clients, and soon settled into his current role as a Project Manager, where he regularly draws on his previous professional experience in politics, public affairs, and administrative support.
Before joining MasterPlans, he enjoyed the privilege of working with local, state, and federal politicians in several states as well as Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations, all of which provided him with a comprehensive understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities within each economic sector. If you ask him, Brock will tell you his current role is more fulfilling than any other position he's ever held. "Working with clients every day to make their vision a reality is a uniquely rewarding experience," he says. "Every client's needs are different, and watching a plan come together from early kick-off calls to final delivery is exciting and always worth the effort."
Since starting at MasterPlans, Brock has worked on more than 550 unique plans and has personally managed more than 150 projects.
Michael is a lifelong Portlander raised by Californians and New Yorkers, which pretty much guarantees he can chew bubble gum and moonwalk at the same time. His background includes working as a Media Analyst with firms like Waggener Edstrom and spearheading business development strategies for distribution companies such as Dr. Bott. These positions gave him a diverse set of skills that work well with his duties for MasterPlans maintaining multiple internal projects for growth and workflow. Whether it's covering for colleagues, breaking down the benefits of a social media campaign, or outlining a new partnership proposal, Michael maintains an even head for various obstacles.
These skills are combined with a scarily encyclopedic knowledge of film and pop culture that Michael brings to his upcoming fourth year at MasterPlans. He spends his spare time as Operations Manager for the Stumptown Comics Fest, and proudly racks up late fines at Portland's only living video store, Movie Madness.
After a ten-year career of finance jobs in New York and New Jersey, Kelly followed her hunch that life in Oregon would be more fun. Upon relocating, she was hired as an "Excel Ninja" at MasterPlans, a place where she can apply her numbers geekery to a pleasantly-varied array of business models. Kelly began her career as research assistant for economist A. Gary Shilling, and besides contributing to his monthly newsletter, she was credited in his book, Deflation. She later worked as a community bank analyst and co-founded the community bank hedge fund, Lykos Capital Management. Kelly graduated with an Economics degree from Lehigh University and may finish the third level of the Chartered Financial Analyst program once she completes her first documentary film.
Caitlin Lilly is a former Californian who has called Portland home since 2005. She was raised by librarians, and is a serious grammar nerd and bibliophile as a result. Caitlin wrote her first book at age six, and honed her craft at the California State Summer School for the Arts as a teenager. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Women's Studies from the University of California–Santa Cruz.
Caitlin is a retired Rose City Roller and now spends most evenings scrawling notes in the front row of Portland's many concert venues as a freelance music journalist. She is the co-author of two nationally-distributed graphic novels, and has published more than 60 concert reviews. After a brief foray into local government service, she is entering her fifth year at MasterPlans, and has written hundreds of marketing strategies for a diverse array of businesses.
In her spare time, Caitlin enjoys pop culture, world travel, and slowly progressing toward Swedish language fluency. She lives in Southeast Portland with her husband and two overweight cats.
Morgan comes to MasterPlans by way of Chicago, where she spent five years working in book publishing. As an editor, she helped shape her author's visions into nonfiction books. Today, she applies her background in writing, researching, and editing to ensure all clients have an appropriate and successful business plan.
Although she occasionally misses the editorial process, Morgan feels her most fulfilled when unearthing the crucial bits of market research that will justify the need for a client's business. In the past three years, Morgan has composed research reports and product descriptions on topics ranging from roadways in Nigeria, luxury apparel markets in Asia, to coffee shops in Portland, Oregon. Morgan relishes that each day brings new projects and new challenges.
Prior to being named Senior Market Analyst, Morgan oversaw plans as a Project Manager. Using her editorial eye, her plans garnered praise from clients, including:
"...both products are outstanding. Everyone I show them to is blown away."
"My bank was impressed...I close next week."
"I wanted to thank you for your continued efforts to please, you MasterPlanners are great!"
"Thank you again so much for working patiently with me and explaining to me the components that I did not understand. You run a top-notch operation"
When not at work, Morgan loves reading, working out at the gym or in Oregon's wilderness, playing with her cat, Margot, and spending time with her husband. Morgan earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English, with a focus in advertising, from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.
Holly is an adroit, flexible writer who's crafted news pieces, advice columns, and press releases for teeny nonprofits as well as blog posts, tweets, and white papers for a certain well-known software giant. Most recently, Holly wrote compelling customer stories for Microsoft's Startup Business Group, about everything from technology that monitors home energy use to Midwest quilters using mobile marketing. She knows how to flesh out a phone call or stray bullet points into a convincing narrative anchored by market research. Despite being the newest member of MasterPlans' team, she's already worked on more than 100 business plans in her first two months, with her favorite being researching the rise of zombies in popular culture for a 5K zombie obstacle course.
Mindy is relatively new to MasterPlans, but is no stranger to solid business writing. A former Chamber of Commerce magazine reporter, Mindy has penned dozens of feature articles about start-up ventures, businesspeople of note, and game-changing innovations, which have appeared in publications. She is most fascinated by the origin stories of successful businesses, and appreciates being able to assist in the start-up process at MasterPlans. Mindy's natural curiosity and enthusiasm for research, coupled with her zealous attention to detail, round out the skill set that makes her an editor by both vocation—and inclination. It's little surprise, then, to learn that she's helmed both magazine and newspaper copy desks, served as managing editor of an online food writing journal, and moonlights as Portland Contributing Editor for Oregon Quarterly, the University of Oregon's award-winning alumni magazine.
Margarett has been in love with the written word ever since she learned to read at age three. She holds a degree in linguistics from Reed College, where she wrote her thesis on the impact of audience on political speech. She has a knack for grasping a client's underlying message and expressing it in the just the right words—because, as Mark Twain said, "The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—'tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning." Over the years, Margarett has written professionally for travel agencies, property management companies, nonprofits, and political advocacy groups. She enjoys the fresh challenge each new business plan represents.
Before arriving in Portland in 2004, Margarett lived in rural Alaska and on a small island in Puget Sound. Occasionally she leaves the Northwest—then comes crawling back, desperate for craft beer and quality Vietnamese food. She can sometimes be found working at the Portland Farmer's Market, where she helps people understand what to do with their celeriac.
When she's not at home with her husband and sweet/anxiety-riddled pit bull Stella, Stephanie Baty can likely be found dialed in to her computer developing unique marketing strategies for clients at MP. She is a huge supporter of the Portland Trailblazers, the Oregon State Beavers, and her beloved Yankees—though no one has the heart to tell her she's the only New York fan around these parts.
As the primary component of the marketing strategy development process, Stephanie relishes visualizing herself in the client's shoes, both deciphering and adding to the scope of a company's overall objective to establish a "feel" for the plan. She anticipates obstacles, devises meaningful suggestions, and hopes clients feel prepared to think unconventionally about promoting their business. One thing is certain: she believes in the power of networking—whether for an established marine taxi service or a proprietary software product—to build relationships, create lead opportunities, and give a human face to the business.
Aside from nurturing a few literature projects in her downtime, she volunteers for a behavioral classroom in the West Linn/Wilsonville school district, plays cheap golf and even cheaper tennis, cooks like the second place champ, goes camping, watches Jeopardy, and plays Scrabble against worthy opponents. Her background, though largely rooted in print journalism, includes roles in business development and strategic marketing, and she commits to a "client comes first" philosophy. Stephanie earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Oregon State University and is excited to be part of the MP team as a marketing and strategy consultant.
Thomas joined MasterPlans in 2012 after 3 years working in a variety of financial positions at small firms, as a researcher, investment analyst, accountant, salesperson, and financial modeler. He got into finance after writing an award-winning Reed College thesis in 2008 about an obscure Cambridge University theologian and poet from the English Civil War period, just like most young bankers, brokers, and bookkeepers. He's worked with entrepreneurs to plan service and agricultural firms in Africa, helped triple the revenue of a Portland-based apparel firm in a single year, and advised on real estate deals in Los Angeles. His experience is diverse and he is dedicated to your individual financial needs as a business owner.
When Thomas isn't making your numbers work, he is following all things political, studying history and philosophy, or researching Oregon-brewed beers. He lives in Southeast Portland but grew up miles away in Northeast Portland, and likes to bike in the rain.
Annie wears many different hats in our office, and you can bet all of them are stylish. She built up her Wonder Woman-like administrative expertise while working at numerous firms in a wide variety of business fields, and her cheerful "bring it on" attitude means she's always ready to take on a new challenge.
Annie is currently a business student in Vancouver, Washington, and is contemplating going to law school in the future. When not buried in homework, you'll find her spending time with her friends and family, inventing and testing out new recipes, and—of course—eating. She also loves playing volleyball, and hits the gym or the park almost every day after work and on any given Saturday.
Living in Portland ever since she was 4 years old, Megan naturally claims to be a native Oregonian. She graduated in 2011 with a BA in International Relations and Spanish from the University of San Diego, where she also played softball. Immediately after graduation, Megan moved back to Portland to direct a political campaigning office. In this role, she developed into an avid activist for global human rights and anti-poverty. Megan likes to spend as much of her free time as possible hiking and camping, as well as watching football on those occasional lazy days.
A Northwest native, Thomas has been designing professionally in the advertising and marketing fields since 2001. For more than a decade, he has created customized logos, ads, documents, and more for companies in nearly every industry imaginable. This extensive experience equips him with a unique understanding of each new business's aesthetic, and provides the ability to design capital-winning business plans and logos for every client. He has a passion for providing clients with the ideal design to fulfill their needs. To date, Thomas has personally created business plans and logos for more than 120 clients.
A deep appreciation for graphics and illustration makes up a major component of Thomas' personality, and he applies this passion to every project he takes on. The man sees art in, or wants to apply art to, everything. As he says, "While at the movies, I dissect the font as the credits roll. I can overlook a bad comic book story if the art is beautiful. My T-shirt collection is vast and graphical."
Some may say he is a little obsessed, but that only benefits our clients. Providing the ideal solution to each client's design equation is always Thomas' goal.
I've been creating websites for the web for a long time now. If you like this one, then we have at least one thing in common.
Do we have any more? Things that I like include: Apple computers, bicycles, crepes, digging, eskimos, faraway places, green text, holograms, imaginary letters, and jackalopes. Things that I dislike include: onions.
I also like Austin. I went to the University of Texas there and earned a BA in English Literature.
But I like Portland even more. I moved here in the winter of 2008 and have not once regretted it. My bike is probably cooler than any you've ever seen.