Lily Therens is a graphic designer and illustrator based in midtown Sacramento. As a former staff designer for Comstock’s magazine, she continues to create illustrations for the publication. She remains true to her modern, isometric style with a subject matter focused mainly on characters and their environments. When she’s not working, she’s hanging out with her pug Stanley and watching SF Giants games.
View more of her work at lilyct.com.
By this person
As millenials climb into their highest spending years, financial institutions must go digital to catch their coveted dollars
Ann Thompson, a regional sales executive for Bank of America, knows that the surest route into the hearts and minds of millennials is through their hands — not hand-holding, but talking to them through technology. “They want to be self-served and want things convenient,” Thompson says. “So, we have to reach them through that thing they hold in their hands, a smartphone.”
Can Neurofeedback Change Your Brain?
Evidence suggests that it has the potential to treat common ailments, without medication
Thirty years from now, we all might be getting some sort of neurofeedback. Scientists are now using this cutting-edge method — a way of scanning the brain and giving it course corrections — to treat a battery of conditions that range from ADHD to depression and seizures.
The New Meat in Town
V. Miller Meats in East Sacramento won’t let anything go to waste
A few months before the National Restaurant Association named artisan butchery and “new” cuts of meat among their top 20 food trends for 2016, Eric Veldman-Miller and Matt Azevedo opened a shop on the corner of 48th and Folsom streets, with the intent to serve locals with something new — in a way that is actually very old.
Quick Bites in the Capital Region
5 hotspots for fast-casual dining
Sacramento is teeming with local restaurants and semi-local chains that aim for value and efficiency. Here are some of our favorites:
The Big Pitch
Local investors are taking a leap of faith to bring Major League Soccer to Sacramento — what comes next could define a new era in the capital region
In December, the Sacramento City Council unanimously approved a preliminary term sheet to finance and build an MLS stadium at the Sacramento Railyards, drawing the region closer than ever to bringing a major professional sport to the city since the Kings set up shop 30 years ago. If it seems like this has happened seemingly overnight, that is because in many ways, it has.
Are You Listening?
Internal communication that starts at the bottom can launch your business to the top
Every well-meaning small business owner is capable of inflicting wounds that stifle drive, trust, employee engagement and motivation. Maybe not as blatantly as calling out incompetence, but neglect and disrespect through lack of communication de-motivates too. Worst of all, we don’t even know we are doing it.
Book Review: Eyeing New Frontiers of Innovation
'Flash Foresight' helps readers see the future a bit more clearly
Like a prophet from on high, global futurist and author Dan Burrus’ has a rare knack for technology predictions that provide us with a blueprint for change in the business world. His book Flash Foresight challenges leaders to examine hidden trends, using them to shape the innovations of tomorrow versus allowing for aimless solutions that lack relevance.
Sexism in Hackerspaces
Hacker Lab founder Gina Lujan says gender doesn’t matter
The most significant challenge for tech coworking spaces is usually having enough physical space, equipment and bandwidth for multiple creators to be able to work on a diverse number of projects at the same time. But women using hackerspaces often face another challenge as well – overcoming the tech world’s male-dominated “brogrammer” culture.
Status Check: 2014 Design
An update on last year's featured designers
Last December we featured regional designers who create unique, user-friendly art (“Function with Flair,” Allison Joy, December 2014).
Here is a look at what they have been up to this past year.
Avoid the Event-Planning Headache
How to create a template for your business events
It’s event season and whether you’re throwing a simple holiday party at the office or gearing up for your spring conference, there are some simple systems that can keep stress at bay.
Show Them That You Care
10 ways to let your clients know you appreciate them
Of course we care about our clients, but are they feelin’ it? You may think you are doing a great job of appreciating clients, but consider this disconnect: According to a Harvard Management Update generated by Bain and Co., 80 percent of companies believe they deliver a superior customer experience, but only 8 percent of their customers agree. Obviously, it’s time to consider some appreciation tactics.
Difficult Employees with Good Intentions
Don’t give up on a great worker who can’t communicate
You might experience a scenario like this at the office: A colleague, boss or employee is incredibly gifted; they are technically skilled, knowledgeable, strategic and very smart. But a frustrating paradox is that they are terrible communicators: unable to take on other’s perspectives, constantly interrupting and long-winded, putting themselves ahead of others, defensive, inflexible, emotional — you get the drift.
Digitize Your Operating Manual
A company wiki will make office life easier
It’s September, the nationally recognized time to get back to school and learn something new. Even if you graduated long ago, it’s still a great time to introduce new systems to improve your business. Whether you’re a brick and mortar, a solo entrepreneur, exclusively online or fall somewhere in the middle, documenting what you do and how you do it is more important than ever.
Public Relations: It Does a Business Good
All that work on your marketing and advertising plans could fizzle without a focus on PR
An engaging, on-point, 30-second spot can be a thing of beauty. But a good advertising and marketing strategy has two engines: awareness and relationship-building, and the driver of those engines is public relations.
The Power of the Bean
How former President Ronald Reagan became a fixture in jellybean lore
It’s a story as old as marketing itself: A company looking to sell more widgets pays a famous person gobs of money to pitch their product and drive up sales. Some celebrities pimp so many products — we’re looking at you, Peyton Manning — we almost forget what made them famous in the first place.
3 Tips for Taking a Vacation
You’ll have to plan ahead to truly unplug
We often get so caught up in the planning of our time away that we fail to consider what needs to happen at the office while we’re gone. Make it as easy as possible for your team to cover essentials while you’re gone, and set yourself up for success upon your return
Polish that Message
10 strategies for creating a diversified ad campaign
Super Bowl ads aren’t for everyone. If you’re a multi-billion-dollar global brand, shelling out $4.5 million for 30 seconds of airtime may be perfectly reasonable. For the rest of us, there are a few, slightly more affordable options for spending those marketing dollars. And spend them you should. A solid advertising strategy is essential to growing your business.
Is Your “Be Like Me” Mentality Hurting Your Team?
It takes both introverts and extroverts to keep the office humming
We are all born with preferences for introversion and extraversion. Some of us sit in the middle of the continuum (ambiverts), but people typically fall into one of these two categories. And you might be surprised by how the two different groups perceive one another.
Sick Leave Switches
How does the new law impact household employees?
I am a working single mom, and about six months ago I hired a nanny to help around the house on days I work late or the occasional weekend. Until now I’ve paid an hourly wage for hours worked, and I’m wondering how California’s new sick leave act will impact how I pay my nanny?
The Business of Charity
Unwise antiquated thinking is handicapping the nonprofit sector
Over 20 years ago, Peter Drucker, the American management consultant whose writings contributed to the foundations of the modern business corporation, said it was time America changed the way it addresses our ever-increasing social problems. Unfortunately, little has changed since then.
The Branding Bamboozle
For authentic city building, Sacramento must look across the river
For eons, the construction and government sectors drove Sacramento’s economic engine. You either worked in one of these two areas or you knew someone who did. It was that simple. Remember 2005?
How to detox your social media strategy for increased engagement and better outcomes
Some of social media’s best qualities are also the very elements that contribute to its complexity: It is immediate, constantly updated, flexible and inclusive. Connecting with audiences in real-time is great — so long as you have the ability to monitor and respond in real time.
Minimum Wage: In Support of the Working Poor
Letting the minimum wage remain stagnate is inhumane and bad for our communities
When the economy serves people by allowing them to earn money, they can invest money back into the economy, thereby increasing economic health for everyone. We want an economy where full-time workers are self-sufficient and not dependent on government aid to supplement their wages. We want an economy that works for us. But here is a glimpse of our reality:
Minimum Wage: In Support of Struggling Businesses
Sacramento’s economy cannot support a Los Angeles-sized solution
Calls for a minimum wage increase are growing louder, and these proposals are neither minor nor manageable for the city of Sacramento. Sacramento’s city-specific hike proposals range from $13.50 to as much as $15 per hour.
Portrait of a Wage
The what, where and who of making minimum wage
Where are minimum wages higher? Who makes minimum wage, and who supports raising it?
Status Check: AgTech in the Central Valley
SARTA AgStart kicks off new Field Day program
Last February we reported on advancements in agricultural technology in the Capital Region and the Sacramento Area Regional Technology Alliance’s effort to better connect growers and investors to agtech in the Central Valley (“The New World of Ag,” by Allison Joy). On May 21, SARTA showcased four entrepreneurs at its first AgStart Field Day.
Is Your Client a Problem Child?
3 steps for setting boundaries and knowing when to say goodbye
Every service business has had one: the dreaded problem client. These clients seem to bring more trouble than their business is worth, and dealing with them can quickly become a time sink. When dealing with a problem child, you need to implement solutions and be prepared to sever the relationship if those solutions don’t pan out. Here’s how:
Directing versus Informing: The Dual-Language Quagmire
Successful communication hinges on the ability to meet in the middle
Scenario: You open the refrigerator to find a near-empty milk carton. What would you tell your partner or roommate? Whether you would say, “Get milk when you go out,” or something more like, “Hey, we’re out of milk,” can tell you a lot about your communication style.
Cleaning Up the Paper Trail
How to ditch marketing materials that don’t match your brand.
Every company’s brand collateral begins with the best intentions. There’s usually a business card, maybe some letterhead and envelopes, possibly a brochure. Then it all just gets away from you until one day you find yourself standing in your office’s storage room staring at boxes of mismatched promotional items. Before this spins into a business identity crisis, take charge and detox your branding collateral.
Legacy in Waiting
If Mayor Johnson moves on, just what will he leave behind?
I think Mayor Johnson is ready to move on. He has been a big fish in our small pond long enough. The grand opening of the arena in October 2016 will likely be his public farewell, a metaphorical victory lap. Cuts ribbon. Drops mic.Take my prediction with a grain of salt. But if 2016 is his last year in office, how will he be remembered as mayor?
Cashing in on Comics
How the con industry pays out
Attendance is up, and that’s translating to big bucks for the Capital Region and beyond.
Make sure you're getting the most out of your website
Old or poorly planned content can render your website ineffective and obsolete. Here’s how to flush it out.
Bring on the Building
To capitalize on future growth, downtown Sacramento needs smart, dense housing
Creating a viable housing market in the city’s core is a top priority of the Downtown Sacramento Partnership and the city of Sacramento.
Building a Legacy
3 steps to ensure your business lasts long after you’ve stopped running it
It’s a challenge that faces many entrepreneurs of self-built companies. How do you gracefully and lucratively transition a business to a successor or new owner when it’s time to retire?
From Dreamers to Movers and Shakers
Past winners of Calling All Dreamers still going strong
Ask Andy Paul or Ana Manzano about launching their businesses and they’ll answer with smiles. The two previous winners of the Downtown Sacramento Partnership’s Calling All Dreamers contest have gone on to successfully launch their dream companies, including brick-and-mortar storefronts that will serve as milestones in the revitalization of downtown’s shopping corridors.
This Time, It’s Personnel
Will legislation to protect employees from workplace bullying stifle demanding managers?
Carrie Clark, a former teacher, says bullies aren’t confined to playgrounds. Sometimes, they run the whole school. And they do more than demand that work get done. They threaten, humiliate or intimidate for reasons unrelated to job performance.
Avoiding the Push Over
How to make an anti-bullying policy work
The Society for Human Resource Management has developed a model procedure for handling bullying complaints. Key language includes:
Like a Good Neighbor
A citizenship strategy provides your company with competitive advantages
Investing in your community is about more than just doing what’s right; it’s smart for your business’s future — and its bottom line.
Follow the Money
How the recession impacted America's largest wealth transfer
Fun facts about where your money, and everyone else’s, is going.
Time to Move It, Move It
When and how to plan ahead to avoid office-move headaches
Has the day has finally arrived to move your business into a new home? Learn how to survive the transition without losing your patience, computers or sanity.
A better way to look at startups
Instead of taking a shortsighted and high-cost approach to business building, counter-culture entrepreneurs start with that earlier question: What happens when the dream dies?
Past the Ping Pong Tables
Your internal brand matters more than your office perks
Thinking about progressive company cultures probably brings to mind businesses like Google, Twitter, Facebook — companies with free snacks and bean bag chairs. But it’s not the toys and perks that create these cultures. Collaborative-style seating and ping pong tables are the side effects, rather than the catalysts, of enviable and innovative company cultures.
Old Neighborhood; New Look
WAL completion a sign of development upswing on R Street
Development activity on R Street has gained momentum, with at least six renovation projects taking place in formerly obsolete industrial buildings on the corridor between 11th and 20th streets. The formerly grungy corridor has become arguably the most active development area in downtown Sacramento.
Happy National Blood Donor Month!
Here's a breakdown on the business of blood
The American Red Cross recognizes January as National Blood Donor Month. Here’s an infographic on what we have — and what we need.
Raise It Up
Our minimum wage should leave no one behind
Improving the minimum wage and making Sacramento a better place to do business are not mutually exclusive goals. Done properly, an increase to the minimum wage targeted at Sacramento’s working poor will strengthen the economy, benefit the entire community and help create the Sacramento that we all want.
Rise of the New Passionates
Entrepreneurs and retirees are creating opportunities — and even entire markets — through which to share their personal interests
Today, new passionates are creating a bigger impact than ever. Quite literally, they are changing the world in their image. And the businesses, nonprofits, community groups and governments willing to support and embrace them can also benefit.
On the Cover: Function with Flair
These local designers make art that's user-friendly
What more can your storage cabinets do for you? How can your placemats become conversation pieces? What if sitting down to read a magazine felt a little bit like being at the carnival?
A Year in Design
Checking in with last year’s featured designers
Last year we highlighted Sacramento’s newest design superstars, just in time for the holidays (“Fresh Perspective,” by Kibkabe Araya, December 2013). Here’s a look at what they’ve been up to over the past year.