Earth Saver Interview: Michelle Davies Managing Director of Lightmaker Orlando

Who is Michelle Davies and why should you care?

Born: Michelle Cunningham in Bristol, England in 1972, Married to Nick Davies with 2 daughters Evie 6 (born Jan 2002) and Lily 4 (born July 2004). Michelle has a degree in IT and Electronics with a Post Grad certificate in teaching. Michelle moved with her family to the USA in April 2005 and now lives in Celebration, FL. where she developed a career as Managing Director of Lightmaker Orlando. Lightmaker is one of the world's leading digital agencies whose client list includes; JK Rowling, Harry Potter, BMW USA, Ripley's, Manchester United, Nickelodeon, EA, Warner Brothers and M Night Shyamalan. I met Michelle after sending out an RFP for the Earth Savers Gang Online Social Network and fell hard.

Michelle is one of those rare people who immediately open their minds and hearts. At the word jump she rolls up her sleeves ready to be inspired and contribute. She is intelligent, wildly creative, has upbeat and positive outlook on most things and is refreshingly authentic, and by god, she’s a fellow mom! I need to also mention that she has one of the most infectious laughs I have ever encountered, and as some of you know I am a big fan of laughing…she gets a huge thumbs up in my book, and I love her to pieces and I know you will too. [more]

MR: What does Global warming mean to you?

Michelle: Thats a tricky question. Or maybe it’s a tricky answer. What it means to me is that I feel very insignificant in the whole thing really. I am very aware of my fears and reactions to certain facts, and some information haunts me… especially about animal extinction and what we have done to these poor creatures habitats. I do so much with my kids and I love them so much. The thought of having to explain what a frog was to my children is very scary. I get irritated right now at flippant people and companies- “it’s cool” to be green right now…and many are on board for the cool facto, but I’ll tell you as a parent I’m petrified for my kids

MR: What has elevated your awareness and consciousness the most? Michelle_outside_with_girls

Michelle: before I had kids I was one of the most selfish people you would ever meet- but after Evie was born things changed drastically. In your twenties – you don’t think about so much, but having her at 29 my whole perspective changed and all of a sudden I was responsible for this tiny perfect beautiful child. Everything I do, view, feel, and show her- all has this major impact, and suddenly the future and what it holds matters to me.

MR: How do you bring that consciousness into your life daily?

Michelle: Well, I use my creativity to bring consciousness to my life on a daily basis.
I am a memory maker and a memory keeper so I do silly little things like make little books out of scraps of paper for my kids to draw on and inside of. I design the front of these little books and and I keep and cherish all of those.

I love the saying….”even the faintest ink is better than the clearest memory.” I’m afraid of forgetting so I’m always trying to be aware so that I can remember everything.
Michelle_husband_and_girlsWhatever I do, and wherever I am, I try to creates the impression of it on my brain.
It helps me be present. I guess you could say I use my memory as my consciousness keeper. – when my father died a few years ago I wanted to do something different to commemorate him- I did not want to get focused on the selfish aspect of grief and dwell on not having them in my life- I went to a big conservation park near where I live in Bristol England and I bought and planted a small tree in the conservation area. This tiny oak tree is now almost 8 or 9 feet. Now when I go home I have this wonderful thing that reminds me of my dad, and somehow new life was planted in his honor.

MR: How about some things at home with the girls or as a family?

Michelle: We do a lot around water conservation…we take baths together, very aware of running water and our daily consumption. We also instill values around the small things like recycling, reusing our bags, limiting our battery consumption…toys require so many batteries these days and we are actively getting them into toys that don’t require them. The imagination is always a powerful toy.

MR: Do you have an eco- hero? Who inspires you?

Michelle: Ordinary people doing extraordinary things. People who don’t wait around for the social barometer to get them moving. Ordinary people who are willing to take a stand for something they believe in. Like you.

Monica: Thanks Michelle (Did I mention I love this girl?)

Michelle: At work I love being introduced to entrepreneurs and people who start these amazing ideas and come to our creative teams to bring the vision to reality. These collaboration is very inspiring to me . I get to feel like hey, I’m kind of doing something great too. On a smaller scale it’s people like our neighborhood friends who get together and commute to the grocery store. We share our car and plan accordingly so that a few of us go together, and who knew it could be so much fun to grocery shop with the girls? We gab, share recipes, and conserve gas all at the same time.

MR: That's really cool. It strikes me that I would never even think to do this!

Michelle: I know…It’s unlearning what we consider “easy” we don’t even think about solutions and ideas that are right in front of our noses. We really need to inspire each other to work together to make those lifestyle changes. Society and our consumer culture makes us so flippant and everything is “easy” and “disposable.” We’ve taken this entitlement so far down the path we are virtually ignorant about how to back track, and use our own industry and brain to think about how we can live more sustainably. We’ve taken the completely natural gift of common sense and make it entirely UNCOMMON.

MR: What is your favorite Book?

Michelle: Ugh, It’s nuts I read two and three at a time.
One of my favorites was The Cosmic Ordering Service by Barbel Mohr German Author first published in the 70’s not the type of book I usually go for, however, I sat next to a guy at a party. He was in his 50’s and I made some comment about how I’ve been lucky in my life, and he told me luck has nothing to do with it. He told me to get this book and I did. He’s correct. Luck has nothing to do with it…
Another Favorite is The Ning Nang Nong, by Spike Milligan – a British comedian.. I adore poetry and this is a poem for kids that I also find delightful. I love poetry and verse with the children. It’s so amazing to learn it together.

MR: What was your life like growing up in England?

Michelle: My parents were quite poor- my mom would put me in the garden and I would be out there all day! I think this is how I first became so aquatinted with nature. We don;t do that as a culture anymore…send the kids out to play and say- DON’T come back till supper, like we used to. It’s sad, and look….not so hot for our relationship with nature.

MR: How do you get your own kids related to nature?

Michelle: Bikes, Water, Snacks and we go for miles. It’s gotten so that if we don’t go out on an extended outdoor adventure they pester me for it. We look at leaves and study them and use them in art pieces, and stick them on paper we do all sorts of things!

Getting people outside is the big trick now…. how much good is really going to get done if an individual is never OUTSIDE? It’s nuts to think you would learn about being green but not get OUTSIDE.

MR: What kind of car do you drive?

Michelle: I have a company car so can I not count that? Mr. Harley is what I prefer to use.

MR: Where can you most likely be found on a Friday night?

Michelle: At home with a glass of wine.

MR: What can you tell us about you that no one knows about you?

Michelle: I write poetry and I love photography and singing in the car much to the horror of my children who BEG me not to, Michelle: I have 2 rescue cats called Stinky Woo Woo and Toby.

MR: If you were to choose one of our Earth Savers Gangs as your soul mate character who would it be?

Michelle: I would be Zach, (I’ve always been a tom boy!) I live in a fast paced world of being a working Mom and I am always busy. I am lucky enough to work in the place that Zach would like to create, through Lightmaker and my fabulous team of creative minds we help to bring people all over the world together and make vision become reality.

MR: So what advice would you give our readers at The Earth Savers Gang Blog?

Michelle: Start with what you know…start with what’s in front of you. Everyone feels that there is this massive pressure (and there is) but in spite of this we all need to start small. Start with your family, kids, home…educate them and help them, but don’t scare them. As adults we need to start behaving in ways we want them to model and adopt.

On the Ning Nang Nong

On the Ning Nang Nong
Where the Cows go Bong!
and the monkeys all say BOO!
There's a Nong Nang Ning
Where the trees go Ping!
And the tea pots jibber jabber joo.
On the Nong Ning Nang
All the mice go Clang
And you just can't catch 'em when they do!
So its Ning Nang Nong
Cows go Bong!
Nong Nang Ning
Trees go ping
Nong Ning Nang
The mice go Clang
What a noisy place to belong
is the Ning Nang Ning Nang Nong!!

Spike Milligan

For more on Monica Rodgers, visit www.earthsavers.typepad.com

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