Kathleen will be our work/life overlap luminary. Showing us how to best find success, happiness, and a nice paycheck—by blending who you are with what you do. She’ll come armed with beautiful and effective worksheets and will lead 3 proprietary, goal-setting exercises that will support you in clearly expressing who you are and who you want to become. {Kathleen has shared her plans with me and I especially adore the exercise where we’ll get to use our dream Dinner Party guests as fodder for awareness and growth.} And for the over-achievers, there is even some take-home work to support you after Inquiry Pop-up.

Kathleen Shannon is co-founder of Braid Creative, where as creative directors / coaches, she and her sister, Tara Street, help solopreneurs, bloggers, designers, artists, and impassioned yogis, foodies and makers blend their personal brand, their creative expertise, and their business purpose – into one clear work/life vision and brand. AndKathleen.com is where she shares her own journey as a working creative, whether that’s trekking the foothills of Mt. Everest, starting her own business, or venturing into new mommy-hood. Kathleen also hosts a weekly podcast for creative entrepreneurs at lovebeingboss.com.

If swimsuit designer Malia Mills can make you feel good trying on a bikini mid-Winter, she’ll no doubt be taking great care of us in person. Malia’s talk is in development, which makes perfect sense as she thrives in staying ever-evolving. At its core, she’ll share how by staying nimble and curious, by trusting a non-linear business trajectory, has been the key to her success and satisfaction. Malia also warned me (us) that she tends towards expletives. “I know, they are a cheap shot, but the brevity sometimes cannot be beat.” I’m all for it. Did you know research shows people who curse tend to be more honest and trustworthy? Sit tight, and f*ck yeah!

For Malia Mills, inspiration might occur at the opera or on the subway. “I’m almost embarrassed to show you how chaotic the creative process is,” says Malia. “For me, neatness isn’t part of the equation. My process is very raw.” Though she designs a full line of ready-to-wear clothing, Malia, is best known for her swimsuits, which have appeared everywhere from the cover of Sports Illustrated to Elle magazine. She creates them for bodies of all shapes and sizes, under the motto “Love Thy Differences.” This ethos positions Malia Mills as a pioneer (20 years ago!) in the “every body is beautiful” movement—most notably, and recently promoted by Dove. In her own stores and New York studio she tell women every day that they need not be a certain size and shape to feel beautiful.

Thinking like a designer can transform the way you develop products, services, processes, and strategy. The “Design Thinking” approach Jen used* at IDEO brings together what is desirable from a human point of view with what is technologically feasible and economically viable. It also allows people who aren’t trained as designers to use creative tools to address a vast range of challenges. Jen is cooking up a short, multi-day treasure hunt, so you, too, can access how to think like a designer.

A journalist, author, and host of the Brand New Ways podcast—if Jen had a resume it would list the following: magazine writer, radio broadcaster, design thinker, brand strategist. Jen’s the top at investigating creative solutions to complex problems—and for the past eight years, Jen’s been a Design Lead at global innovation consultancy IDEO,. Her projects have run the gamut: from service and brand to products and spaces; with clients including Nike, Marriott, Visa, Equinox, and Renault. She constantly marvels at human ingenuity and is passionate about seizing (and helping others see) the magic of life as we’re living it. Why? Because life seems almost designed to make us forget it.

* Jen just gave IDEO her notice, after 5+ years, to go on her own—in brand new ways!

“What I am really interested in is the language of the senses and how people use those senses to communicate, often without even knowing it…” “This kind of work…also makes me feel a little bit like a witch, and that is pretty fun.”

Ashley’s proposal threw me to the floor. It deserves it’s own email. It will HAVE its own email. As an herbal cocktail alchemist, Ashley works in formats aligned with psychology, art and science to create experiences that expand the mind, the senses and explore the boundaries of creativity and how nature and self align. Your afternoon-evening experience will be devoted to West Texas inspired herbal cocktails, personal scent creation and experimentation with herbs and cocktail and their inherent alchemy. Her recent multi-sensory experience at the Perot Museum is where Ashley caught my eye. What she has planned for us in Marfa includes (among other things) goggles, live music, smelling, swag, and getting boozy.

Don’t forget the biggest draw, Marfa.

Each day, Marfa will be there—to explore, kick-back in, take advantage of… Your visit should include one of the major art immersions: either the Chinati or Judd Foundation tours—as well as the many smaller galleries peppered throughout the town. There is a disproportionate number of great places to eat and shop, considering where in the world you are. But the greatest gift is the container this li’l town with one traffic light is just by default. You’ll be taking in the offerings of Marfa herself. It’s glory and quirkiness. It’s expanse and insularity. And I bet you’ll be planning your return at week’s end. [Photo: Brooke Schwab]

::::::::::: UNCONFIRMED, BUT FINGERS CROSSED :::::::::::

Martine will lead our group through the town of Marfa for a walking writing workshop. Through personal stories and workshop-like prompts you’ll learn, experientially, how walking effectively and delightfully illicits creative flow. Expect a 2-hour leisurely promenade where you’ll “walk an idea.” By the time we return to Corte, you’ll be primed and ready to capture whatever ideas showed up on foot—fueling a seamlessly transition into the individual, integrative part of your day.

Martine Syms is many things—a graphic designer, a “conceptual entrepreneur,” a net artist—but most importantly, a thinker who examines the assumptions of contemporary America and ways that identity and memory are transformed by the shifting boundaries of business and culture. The intro to her talk at the Walker Art Center said it best: “She’s a case study in the way young designers are aggressively ignoring the traditional notion of a design career in favor of being many things at once.” She’s an elegant rule-breaker. A brave voice. martinesyms.com

I’m still in conversation with Kim, but whether or not she comes to Marfa you need to know her. Kim’s the creator of The Wild Unknown, which brilliantly holds a range of her ideas come to fruition: Illustration, Children’s Book Author, Jewelry Design and Musician—to name but a few. Hashtag prolific. Most notably is her cult-favorite Tarot Deck which is redefining and opening up what we’ve come to think of as a spiritual aesthetic. But it’s her personal website that has me kicking myself, saying “I wish I thought of that!”

I met Emmanuelle, 10 years ago, when I attended her presentation on Li Edelkoort Studio’s unique method to trend forecasting. She has since left her position as Partner and Executive Director of EDELKOORT, INC. and has created a proprietary approach that identifies the values of your brand, to be used as a guideline to create new ideas. Her consultancy keeps her very busy, and we’re still in discussion. I’ll know more soon. emmanuellelinard.com

Kerrilynn (pictured right) and I worked at Martha Stewart together—at the same time, different departments—in the 90s. I recall her spending her days, crafting, thinking up the many clever and beautiful things that helped to build the MSLO brand. She was always creating something uncommon and desirable. Our next encounter was a few years later when she opened the most darling boutique, Castor & Pollux, in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. She moved the shop to the West Village and flourished. The beloved store’s cult status didn’t deter her from choosing to leave apparel and accessories behind to focus solely on the up-and-coming “green” beauty products Castor & Pollux championed. Her current project, CAP Beauty, with partner Cindy DiPrima opened Saturday, 2/14. So you can understand that her committing to Marfa has taken a backseat. However, her interest is piqued and when the dust settles, we’ll see if we can get her to leave the first synthetic-free spa in NYC for a week in the high desert to talk about creating unique experiences through vanguard acts.