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Updated 2 hours ago

Emily Marko always has been a creative and visual learner. The Scott woman knew this as she approached college and, later, the workforce.

Marko graduated from the Community College of Allegheny County with an associate's degree in graphic communications, then earned her bachelor's in graphic design from La Roche College in 2001. She worked at different jobs in corporate training, higher education, furniture retail and, eventually, an NFL team, finding with each position a commonality in the challenges faced and the tools she employed to overcome them.

In 2010 she became involved with International Forum of Visual Practitioners, or IFVP.

These professionals use custom visuals, diagrams, illustrations, storyboards, mapping systems, drawings and more to capture information, communicate ideas, and stimulate creative thinking. Working online and in person, they have been used to consult and coach for the business world, government organizations, nonprofits and educational institutions and with clients such as the National Park Service, Stanford University, Google, eBay and the National Science Foundation.

Today's global marketplace has people with different communication styles, cultural backgrounds and native languages.

While words can be misinterpreted, images are universal and when a visual practitioner captures a conversation or facilitates a session, team members and employees can see that their ideas are being understood and incorporated.

Marko continued researching graphic recording and visual thinking and then used these skills and her passion for storytelling to open her own business in 2012.

She has held public workshops most often at the Whetstone Workgroup in Sharpsburg, but most often facilitates private workshops with groups such as educators for professional development days, students for classroom projects, and businesses that are serious about fostering and supporting their employees' development planning.

“My business and its visual storytelling process provide a clearly defined action plan that helps to fuel forward progress,” Marko said. This means setting goals, expanding ideas, defining a process, and visualizing words and the core of a business. She offers specific packages for both individuals and groups.

“My clients have amazing ideas. My mission is to help people solve problems and share their stories so they can change the world.”

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Charlotte Smith is a Tribune-Review contributing writer. Reach her at 724-693-9441 or

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