We had the good fortune of connecting with Cyndee Whitney and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Cyndee, do you have any habits that you feel contribute to your effectiveness?
All success requires risk and risk can be mitigated by seeking out and developing relationships with mentors. Not necessarily a long-standing formal mentorship with assignments and scheduled meetings, but a skills-focused process that serves to scaffold your professional or creative development that brings you up to a new level of proficiency. Perhaps you know of someone who is a master of product promotion or development, or someone who can attract strong teams or partners to expand their market. You can see that those skills were significant to that individual’s business success. Seek out that person and let them know how much you admire their mastery in that specific skill and could you have a brief meeting or lunch with them to interview them about that competency. I know many people (myself included) who have done this and found mentors most happy to share some best practices with an eager “student.” After all, they were in that same position at the beginning of their business journey also. In some cases, the brief meeting extended to a long-term relationship benefitting both mentor and mentee!

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
While at Disney, I was sent to numerous global destinations to recruit artists for regional offices. While there, I was greatly influenced by the colors, textures, scents, and sounds of each culture. I draw on those experiences to tell stories with my jewelry using found objects and images of mythical characters. My feather pieces celebrate the beauty, endurance, and fragility of birds, and my character pieces represent an imagined adornment of another era. I began working with sterling silver 4 years ago and now mix that with other metals, glass, and chain to produce one-of-a-kind pieces that work with all styles and occasions. I continue to sell in small, local venues and also through a rep. It is important for me to meet and speak to my customers and listen to their feedback and suggestions. Since my necklaces often incorporate imagery, I can custom make pieces to celebrate anniversaries, birthdays, and other life moments. I look forward to learning new techniques and working with new, unusual materials to continue the evolution of my line.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would love to show my pride in the magnificent architecture of Los Angeles and take my visitors on a tour of some of the most notable buildings; both historic and modern. I would start with the Bradbury Building, built in 1893, and celebrate the Victorian interior court and open cage elevators. I would then continue to S. Hewett, S. Alameda, and 3rd streets to enjoy the restored and reimagined buildings, art and murals in the Arts District, circa 1905 to the 1930s. Maybe a photo op at the classic City Hall and City Library buildings, and a quick hop over to Union Station. While at Union Station I might reserve a table for crab cakes and people-watching at Traxx, or I might choose the unique restored charm of Engine Co. 28 for a great burger. The late afternoon might include macarons and lattes at Bottega Louie’s on South Grand. Of course, it’s best to see the Walt Disney Concert Hall by experiencing Dudamel conducting the LA Phil, and the Broad by enjoying the energetic work of Mark Bradford, but a stroll by each in the evening will provide a perfectly illuminated view of both structures. Complete your day with a show in The Theater and drinks Upstairs at the Ace Hotel. Viva LA!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The Ken Blanchard quote “None of us is as smart as all of us” applies to success in life. I honor those who have made me smarter with the following quotes: “You’ll know what to do, Mommy, you always do!” My 6-year old son Jason told me this all those years ago. The most motivating statement I ever heard and remains the foundation of thinking I’ve used in making every decision in my adult life. “My door is always open.” Echoed by every artist and director at Walt Disney Feature Animation and Disney Consumer Products where I spent 24 years learning and growing as a creative thinker. We all knew that asking questions and working collaboratively is essential to doing excellent work. “Always do the thing you haven’t done before.” I was urged to do this by 2-time Grammy winner, graphic designer, and Renaissance man, Ron Larson. I have always taken his advice and find that people respond positively to novel approaches and original thinking that produce unexpected results. No off-the-shelf thinking!! “Transcend your actual age–think and act beyond the limits others place on you!” The mantra of Gerontologist/Professor and friend, Dr. Jerry Binder

Website: My jewelry art can be seen at: artfullyadorned.com
Other: My jewelry is available by contacting me directly at: cyndee.whitney@gmail.com

Image Credits
Portrait photographer Ron Larson