Meet Our Mascot Hazel

Ess-MeeHaz-Hazel-WPWhen I first conceptualized the Center’s mission, I thought a lot about the inspiration I receive from the women I work with. Quite a few clients have said that they feel as if they are trapped in a cage of their own design, but can’t figure out how to get out. Much of the work I do involves identifying what that cage is made of, how it was built, and how women can find the open door.

Quite a few clients have said that they feel as if they are trapped in a cage of their own design, but can’t figure out how to get out.

Another great source of my inspiration was Maya Angelou’s poem, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” a poem which reminds me that we become stronger through the adversity we face. I tell my clients that confronting strife builds character, and that each of us deserves to be free, be it from a cage of our own making or one that society has built around us. Through my development of the Center’s mission, the cage became a foundational theme in the development of our logo.

Ess-MeeHaz-EarlySketch2-WPMy husband Mark and I started a mood board, collecting design elements that spoke to us. During an early brainstorming session, the idea for our logo began to crystallize: A cage with an open door, and a bird sitting atop the Center’s crest, a symbol of strength and protection. As my husband was gearing up to start designing, we realized that many of the creative elements we fell in love with were by one artist, the amazing and talented, Teagan White. We ended up contacting her out of the blue and asked if she would collaborate with us to create the logo for the Center. At the time, she was just 19 and a sophomore in Minneapolis College of Art & Design. She was very enthusiastic, a little nervous, and a whole lot of cool. With direction from my husband, she turned our logo concept into a beautiful and powerful graphic.

Just after the Center opened, a colleague and I were admiring the logo and commenting on how cute the bird was, but we were a little sad she didn’t have a name. Hazel was soon suggested as a fitting name, and it stuck! In fact, it turns out many people are initially drawn to the Center by Hazel. All of us in the Center family have fallen in love with Hazel, and now that you know her back-story, we hope you do too.

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