Roberts accepted a colleague’s challenge to run the Portland Marathon, citing Eleanor Roosevelt, “You must do the things you think you cannot do.” She completed the half-marathon race that year, then pondered what else she might do; she’d never been athletic, let alone run a marathon.
Pursuing practical work
Originally from Florida, her mother encouraged Roberts to pursue a career where she could earn a living to support herself. After taking a road trip to the Pacific Northwest in 1998, Roberts moved to Portland the following year. With a masters degree in social work and 10 years of experience at two Portland hospitals and an Oakland, California emergency room, Roberts was experienced at crisis intervention work. She helped families and patients with drug and alcohol issues, and worked in a cardiac unit and ICU-emergency. “It was important work, but it was demanding.”
While living in Sullivan’s Gulch in 2004, she discovered a scrapbooking store on Northeast Broadway, and soon her dining room table became her creative workspace. Her world changed in spring 2006 when Roberts attended her first art retreat in Port Townsend, Washington.
“I found a supportive community of artists who made stuff.” They encouraged her to pursue painting and her work was accepted in juried art shows in California. After making prints of her paintings, Roberts was contacted by a manufacturing license company, Demdaco, which represents the work she sells on Etsy.
While living in Oakland where her husband was attending graduate school from 2006-2008, she wrote a blog about training for the marathon and sharing the challenges she faced as a medical social worker. An editor discovered Roberts’ blog and in 2008, North Light published her book, “Taking Flight: Inspiration & Techniques to Give Your Creative Spirit Wings.” Gradually reducing her hours, Roberts transitioned out of medical social work in 2009 to pursue her dream of creating art.
With no formal business training, Roberts queried other women entrepreneurs about managing a successful creative business. Her inquiries were often ignored and some responded negatively. Roberts vowed that when she figured out a business model that worked, she’d share her processes; in 2010 she published “Flying Lessons: Let’s Make Your Creative Biz Soar.” She hired her mom and a part-time employee to help as her business grew and she launched numerous training videos and e-courses. “They’re not step-by-step instructions, but are intended to guide individuals to discover the creative process for themselves.”
Dr. Norman Vincent Peale coined a term decades ago that resonates still with Roberts. He wrote, “Become a ‘possibilitarian.’ No matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, raise your sights and see possibilities – always see them, for they’re always there.”
As Roberts approaches her 42nd birthday, she’s contemplating writing as another career. She’s already demonstrated boundless energy, innovation, compassion and a unique ability to connect with people. See www.kellyraeroberts.com for more information.
Editors note: Roberts’ father, Greg Schott, circulation manager for the Star News, is a familiar face in our community, delivering copies of this newspaper every month.