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Three Former Educators Are the Latest Additions to AWAI’s “Wall of Fame”

AWAI members Tonis Rockis, Cassandra Lee, and Tonimarie Marrese are the latest additions to AWAI’s “Wall of Fame.”

Toni Rockis recently retired from a 30-year career in education. As much as she enjoyed her job as a university professor, she really wanted to be writing copy – especially grant proposals – full-time. “It’s just as much fun, every bit as rewarding, and it certainly pays a lot better!” says Toni.

She launched her career as a copywriter after approaching the owner of a local business center and asking about his current marketing activities. That turned into a project writing a brochure to market the available office space. She also started writing grants for her local school district to get money they desperately needed.

Today, Toni works for herself, has total control over her schedule, and can work as little or as much as she chooses.

Toni’s favorite niches to write for are grant writing and business-to-business. Because of her expertise in the field of grant writing, Toni in the final stages of completing a new grant writing program and promotion for AWAI. Says Toni, “I’m hoping this product will encourage other AWAI members to consider building upon their current copywriting skills and become successful grant writers.”

Cassandra Lee joined AWAI after a career in teaching and sales. Her first project was creating logo designs and brochures for a kids’ website.

Today she designs and writes direct-mail pieces for the financial niche. She also enjoys self-help, business-to-business, and health.

According to Cassandra, “When I worked for someone else, I felt like life was just something that ‘happened.’ As a freelance designer and copywriter with control over my own schedule and income, I now believe that the quality of my life is determined by the actions I take or don’t take – life doesn’t just happen; I make it happen.”

With each new client and project, Cassandra says she feels closer to that ultimate freedom.

Tonimarie Marrese used to be a parts rep at Kodak, then a substitute teacher and a stay-at-home mom. Now she’s enjoying her new career as a freelance copywriter and entrepreneur.

She landed her first project doing pro bono work for a local nonprofit organization that takes in abandoned animals. Now she’s busy writing SEO copy, website copy, press releases, eBooks, and email and pay-per-click campaigns as a web copy specialist.

According to Tonimarie, “Copywriting gave me back my passion, and a renewed sense of purpose. Now I look forward to new experiences, and I’m enjoying a new career.”

Read these profiles and others on the “Wall of Fame” and get inspired today!

We want to hear from you. If you think you’re ready to join AWAI’s “Wall of Fame,” submit your story today.

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The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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Published: December 11, 2008

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