CAREERS: Where I Work - Catherine Ryan, VP of (in association with National Geographic)

How long have you been in your job? It'll be two years in


Describe the space you work in: I have a seventh-floor view of the Santa

Monica Mountains and the Getty Museum. No smog today.

Who is the smartest person you work with? We're brimming with brainpower

here. Our CEO/cofounder Roberto Milk is brilliant. Fran Seegull, our VP

of business development, is one of the most brilliant businesswomen I've

ever met.

Who is the craziest? We're all impassioned, not crazy yet.

How comfortable are your offices? Comfortable, casual, open, decorated

with wild artworks from all over the world - each handmade by the master

artists who participate on the website.

What is the best thing about working there? Our contagious mission, and

success. With each new report on an artist's life, we help it change for

the better as we connect thousands of artisans directly with customers

and collectors all over the world. For example, one carver in Ghana now

has two kids in university, and traditional Peruvian tapestry weavers

are emerging from the copper mines to return to their traditional


(Above, I'm pictured with Aphi Mina, an 87-year-old master weaver in

northern Thailand.)

And the worst thing? Knowing we're only scratching the surface and can

only reach so many artists.

And your luckiest break? When we captured the attention of Gerry Hadden,

an excellent NPR reporter who traveled within Mexico to visit

participating artisans, and he was moved to file a report about how the

internet/Novica had changed their lives.

What is the biggest thing to hit your office in the past year? Business

continues to snowball, despite the dot-com "shakedown." Hundreds of

papers have reported on our work, along with dozens of major magazines.

Both the PR department and the website itself have managed to become

very successful, very quickly.

Sneak us a good piece of gossip from your office: We all stay in close

contact with our regional counterparts. One day, the gossip was that

Komang Ayu and Komang Pariatna, directors of our Bali office, may

marry ... then they did. We watch romances develop from afar, then share

wedding and baby photos across the planet via e-mail as events unfold.

Nothing too tantalizing here. Yet!

Number of employees: 150 in all, 2 PR

Address: 11835 W. Olympic Blvd., Suite 750E, Los Angeles, CA 90064

Phone: (310) 479-6685, ext. 237

- If you want to be featured in "Where I Work" or "My Big Break," e-mail

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