13 Months, 1 Jail Sentence, 3 ERs, 9 States and 1 Ancient Roman City Later …

It’s here! Today is the official launch of my new brand and this website, www.tasseyrusso.com.

Yes, new, but in so many ways this is a reframing of my business and not a complete overhaul. Many of the services remain the same, but all are now infused with a new focus on bringing more of you, the individual, into your brand’s value proposition and identity.

More than ever before I am now setting out to help my clients find their unique voice and story so that the connections they make to others are memorable, close and long-lasting.

That what they offer is unquestioned and in demand.

That there is an undeniable brand proposition, fully executed.

Creating impact. Gaining influence. Realizing success.

This is My Story

Many of you who have kept up with me the past year know that I took, perhaps, a road less travelled to get to this day. It’s not been a straight path. My journey to this announcement has had twists of fate, decisive acts, and fanciful flights. I admit that I accepted some points along the way with frustration, anger, disappointment and, yes, even fear. But I also found many times that were filled with hope, excitement and gratitude.

It’s uniquely my story of transformation and it forms the bedrock of my rebranded business. I have laughed and cried, cracked a huge smile in glee at the triumphs and felt defeat when something should have been easier to do.

It seemed at times that nothing went right …

13 Months

In August, 2016 I was pretty confident about the direction I wanted to take. It would mean a new focus and brand. A huge decision.

I made another big decision; I would hire a web design team to help. I myself work with others on their brand, to find their core messaging and key services. But, I was excited and though I believed I could do most of the website work myself, I just wanted to get it done, and fast. So I hired others to make that happen. I was so determined to get my next business evolution up and running I would, as they say, throw anything I possibly could at getting it done. We set a ‘go live’ date of mid-October [2016], then a short 2 months away.

And the best laid plans ….

1 Jail Sentence

About 6 weeks into the project, my designer disappeared. All communication just stopped. I heard nothing.

After 3 months of many attempts to find out what happened, with no work done on my site’s development, I finally wrote a plaintive but very terse email to the team’s copywriter and developer. I wanted and was owed an explanation and, most importantly, I needed work to once more commence. My frustration was heightened since I had made payments for design and development months earlier.

This email demanding some answers finally received a response. Disbelief and anger swept over me as I read it.

My web designer was in jail! Yes, jail. With jaw-dropping disbelief I read newspaper articles and court documents to find out the details. She had been sentenced to 8 years for fraud, stealing close to 800K.

I had no realistic legal course to pursue. I knew I had to just move beyond this stunning news.

I made plaintiff pleas to the team copy writer and developer to help me finish the site. They agreed and in the first weeks of this year, more than 5 months from the project’s start date, we began work again.

And then a twist of fate …

3 ERs

An old foe ‘knocked on the door’ and forced me to swerve again. With a swift, unexpected return, my ulcerative colitis changed an average work day in February to one filled with anxiety, pain, and fear. A day that started with business meetings ended with doctors in my local ER sending me at 2 a.m. by ambulance to another hospital ER that was experienced in the surgery all thought I might need.

For 5 days I had IVs only, nothing to eat or drink, not even ice chips. I was so depleted that reading was impossible and TV became a blur. But the protocol worked and I avoided surgery. 8 total days in the hospital to pull through this health scare.

And it was not to be the last as 5 months later, just this past July, I again found myself in the ER and once more in the hospital.

And the calendar pages turned …

9 States and 1 Ancient Roman City

With each setback to the schedule, I questioned the time and space I found myself in. Was I on the right course? Should I just slip back to business as usual or push on to finalize the new brand?

Oddly, I found answers not in the most familiar places but rather in travels both near and far. From Tuscany to Texas I eagerly plunged into excursions that were challenging, unfamiliar, and a bit off the beaten track, too.

All provided time to feel and think about what I was doing – or not doing.

I spent 4 hours exploring the ancient Roman port city of Ostia Antica and climbed 551 steps to the cupola in St. Peter’s dome. In both instances I experienced the sheer exhilaration of stepping back in time and remembering why I loved history so much. And I remembered why looking back is so important to the present and future.

Every week in August I found myself on a different trip. I drove about 4500 miles covering parts of 9 states! And though I love driving and the open road, I wasn’t just out there, free wheelin’ down the highway.

I was the designated parent to help drive my son to and then back home from his summer job in Dallas. A family wedding in New York another weekend and then a fashion exhibit in Richmond. At the end of the month, I enjoyed an anniversary trip in Delaware visiting Longwood Gardens and Winterthur.

And there was meaning in the miles …

Now I know this – it all went right, and I know it will continue to be the case.

  • Renae Whitacre
    Posted at 20:03h, 04 October Reply

    Excited to continue to watch your evolution.
    We need to catch up!

    • Tassey Russo
      Posted at 11:42h, 06 October Reply

      Yes, we do, Renae! Thanks for taking a look and reading the article.

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