Who We Are
Depending upon your needs we have right person to assist you. Follow the links to read the bios of our collaborators.
Melissa Dinwiddie — Founder & Chief Instigator, Lead Facilitator, Innovation Strategist
Before starting Creative Sandbox Solutions™, Melissa earned her Masters of Social Science at the University of Birmingham, England, and built a successful business as a freelance artist and calligrapher. Her own experience with creative block led her to build another business, Living A Creative Life, helping people get creatively unstuck, via online courses, a membership community, and in-person workshops and retreats.
Her front-of-room experience ranges from traveling the country teaching calligraphy, to speaking on stages from Connecticut to a packed house in Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley, to performing as a singer for audiences as big as 6,500. She currently performs improv with a number of different groups in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Melissa is the author of The Creative Sandbox Way™: Your Path to a Full-Color Life, and host of The Creative Sandbox Way™ podcast. She lives with her husband in Silicon Valley and spends her free time doodling, playing ukulele, or chasing kitty fluffs that have fallen off her Siberian cat, Nika.
Van Lai-Dumone — Facilitator
After earning her MBA from Pepperdine University, Van began her career as a Regional Manager for an educational division of the Washington Post. There, she managed successful teams through creative leadership and empowering management techniques. She went on the hold the COO position at Body Glove’s women’s active wear division, overseeing operations and sales.
As an entrepreneur, Van co-founded FashionLab, developing and facilitating business workshops for fashion entrepreneurs, owned and operated the first Dailey Method Barre Studio in Southern California, and joined a boutique consulting firm as a Change Management Consultant.
Van most recently became a Certified Kaizen Muse Creativity Coach as part of her continued research on the benefits of creativity in business. She is also the Vice Chair for HappyCity, a non-profit organization whose mission is to help businesses and cities live, work and play happy through events, social progress and public policy.
Erica Marx — Executive & Leadership Coach
Erica Marx (M.S.) is a confidence coach and communication skills trainer who works with creative trailblazers who are following their unique mission to make a difference in the world. She is a certified professional coach through the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), a NYS certified conflict mediator, and a certified practitioner through the International Applied Improvisation Network. She is on the leadership team for the Northeast Regional group of the Applied Improvisation Network and the President of the Advisory Board for Mama’s Comfort Camp, a project of the Center for Transformative Action.
Erica has over 15 years experience as a mediator, workshop leader and instructor with businesses, organizations, and university students. She completed her B.S. at Cornell University and has a Master’s in Interdisciplinary Ecology from the University of Florida. Erica brings effusive energy, creativity and profound insight to her trainings and personal coaching.
Joyce Washington — Virtual CFO
Having earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting from Morgan State University, Joyce started her career in accounting at a small CPA firm before moving on to supervise accounting departments at real estate management companies in the Washington, DC metro area.
Pursuing the more traditional accounting career path, she became a Certified Public Accountant but it wasn’t long before the entrepreneurship bug bit her.
After years of working as a consultant, she started Common Cents Consulting in 2002. It’s here that she has the pleasure of working with entrepreneurs and small business owners as their Virtual CFO, advising them on their money matters as they build their businesses.