Welcome, Joy! Goodbye, Organized Sister.

Please join us in welcoming our newest employee, Joy Lussenden, to the Spark team. Joy is a graduate of Augustana College and worked for us as a marketing intern during her senior year. She recently completed a social media internship in Norway and is now back in the States to start her "real" job as she jokingly stated in her blog. We're thrilled to bring on board someone who is excited to soak up all that the stationery industry has to offer and to collaborate with our retailers in making them even more successful.

Joy is going to fill a much needed spot here at Spark as we say goodbye to Diedre Johnson, Spark's Organized Sister, when she and her family head to Hesse, Germany in September. Diedre's husband, Joel, is a professor of government at Augustana College and was recently awarded a Fulbright Scholarship as a senior lecturer at the University of Marburg. Joel and Diedre, along with their two boys, will make the trip to Marburg, a picturesque German town (see ridiculously beautiful image below).

All of us at Spark will miss having Diedre here as she has been the main contact for our retailers and helps out more than you know in our production area. Thankfully, she will be working with Spark on a part-time basis while in Germany, so don't be surprised if you hear from her! She plans to be a great resource to Spark in finding stationery trends and inspiration throughout Europe - so stay tuned!

On a more personal note, it goes without saying that the Creative Sister is sad to have her best friend be so far away for so long. I've shed more tears than I care to admit, but at the same time, I couldn't be more proud of Diedre and her family for embarking on this exciting adventure! For now, I am making goofy plans to buy extra clocks so we can have a visual reminder that she is seven hours ahead before we pick up the phone to ask her a few questions about pricing.

The next time you call Spark, please take a moment and introduce yourself to Joy. She'll appreciate it as she learns who all of you are.

Valerie