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Shelly Immel
Works at Obsidian Art Space
Attended Southwestern University
Lived in Houston, TX
4,358 followers|45,585 views


Shelly Immel

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Attention, WRITERS! 
Have you seen Hugh Howey's recent reports on AuthorEarnings? He's analyzed a large sample of current, public book sales data. There's good info on sales and writer earnings depending on how you publish (indie, trad, etc.).  The great thing is that this analysis is done on the largest, most representative data set I've seen so far. I love me some good data.
Link for GENRE FICTION only (>2/3 of all sales):
Link for data including LITERARY FICTION and NON-FICTION:
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Shelly Immel

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Canopy tour, aka ziplining--fun for speed junkies and tree huggers alike! In the middle of our 10 "wheeeeeeeeeee"s, we took a snack break on a platform 50 feet up in the trees, complete with ocean view. A spiny-tailed black iguana (Mr. Stripy) came to snag his share of pineapple. Super fun mini-adventure!
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* #entrepreneurship  as Co-Creation*

Awards are wonderful external recognition, and I am soaking this one up. (That's me in the brown sweater in this picture.) But as an entrepreneur, it is a daily honor to me that our employees have taken my vision of The Place I Want to Work and made it reality. As an owner, I hold the space for this kind of culture. I support it in tangible ways in terms of policies, hiring, how we spend money on people and work environment, and what behavior we officially recognize as outstanding. All of that matters. 

But is the staff who embody, adapt and apply the culture, who manifest it every day. They put their hearts into our work not just for a paycheck, but because it's rewarding work they're proud to do with people they care about. Their personal investment exponentially multiplies an owner's investment (money, energy, time, attention). It is truly a joint effort. I am grateful for the people who have made this company their work home.

It is amazing to me that our small business (<30 employees) made the NATIONAL list of
#bestandbrightest  companies to work for. There are only 101, after all. I am overwhelmingly proud of and grateful for the people who make +Obsidian Learning what it is.  
We're delighted to announce that we've made the national list of the Best and Brightest Companies to Work For!
Shelly Immel's profile photoBernie DeKoven's profile photo
Thanks, +Bernie DeKoven! 
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Need to save time creating Instructor-led Training Materials? The latest version of the GuideDocs tool for automating development of ILT materials was announced at the #devlearnconference . Did I mention my peeps developed it? It saves us hundreds and hundreds of man hours every year. 

#ObsidianLearning   #training  
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#bestandbrightestcompanies   #houstonbusiness   

It's a proud day for me as an #entrepreneur ! My company +Obsidian Learning was named one of 65 "Best and Brightest" Companies to Work For in Houston

One of the main reasons I started my own business was to create The Place I Want to Work. I am honored to work with people who share and realize that vision every day. And hey, external recognition feels pretty good, too!

And by the way, we're hiring. We are always looking for top notch Instructional Designers, Instructional Strategists, Project Managers, Programmers, and Graphic Designers. More info at
More good news! Obsidian is proud to announce that we are one of 65 Houston companies named "Best and Brightest" to work for by the National Association for Business Resources.
Shelly Immel's profile photoTroy Ingram's profile photo
It takes two, baby! (Actually, it takes about 28 of us right now, but it takes at LEAST 2! We're working on getting more support on the theater side, too.)

Amazing is a pretty irresistible recommendation! Most of our instructional designers are not from school education background, but one of our strategists made that industry leap and is doing great with us. :-)
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Have her in circles
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Shelly Immel

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The sky was gorgeous--obviously. But what I really enjoyed was trying to capture the reflections in the wet sand and how they added another dimension to the sky's beauty. From subtle to jaw dropping, it was an inspiring stroll on the beach that evening.
Shelly Immel's profile photoSteven Self's profile photo
We did! Iguanas, monkeys, sea turtles laying eggs, too many colorful birds to count, butterflies, and, well, a zillion bugs intent on biting me and ignoring Tom. Not to mention playing in the ocean and hiking in the jungle. What's not to love!
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Got back last week from a lovely trip to the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica. Wildlife came right up to (but thankfully not onto) our balcony at Lagarta Lodge, which borders a biological reserve. 153 (or 135?) steps down from our hilltop, and you arrive at the river's edge. My husband and I kayaked one of the rivers, played in the ocean, and saw lots of cool creatures, most of which we didn't get pictures of. Too busy looking to use the camera!
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Super inspiring story for the difference a teacher made in the lives of his students. Even more inspiring for the potential within kids who are encouraged to learn by exploring, researching and teaching themselves.

Sugata Mitra's TED talk on this was excellent. (He inspired the teacher in this story.)
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This beautiful poem by John O’Donohue (click Read More below) touches on the profound meaning you can derive from, and give to, the work you do in your life. So glad to have run across it today of all days! Thanks for posting this, +Gideon Rosenblatt

Work as Blessing

I was at a board meeting this weekend, where someone very wise shared this poem about work. It captures beautifully the essence of deeper, more satisfying work. And I like it so much, I'm going to buy the book from which it was published, providing the link to you too, should you wish to do the same. 


May your work excite your heart,
Kindle in your mind a creativity
To journey beyond the old limits
Of all that has become wearisome.

May this work challenge you toward
New frontiers that will emerge
As you begin to approach them,
Calling forth from you the full force
And depth of your undiscovered gifts.

May the work fit the rhythms of your soul,
Enabling you to draw from the invisible
New ideas and a vision that will inspire.

Remember to be kind
To those you work with you,
Endeavor to remain aware
Of the quiet world
That lives behind each face.

Be fair in your expectations,
Compassionate in your criticism.
May you have the grace of encouragement
To awaken the gift in the other’s heart,
Building in them the confidence
To follow the call of the gift.

May you come to know that work
Which emerges from the mind of love
Will have beauty and form.

May this work be worthy
Of the energy of your heart
And the light of your thought.

May your work assume a proper space in your life;
Instead of owning or using you,
May it challenge and refine you,
Bringing you every day further
Into the wonder of your heart.

- John O’Donohue,
To Bless the Space Between Us

#work   #soulfulcompany - From the author of the bestselling Anam Cara comes a beautiful collection of blessings to help readers through both the everyday and the extraordinary event...
Shelly Immel's profile photoGideon Rosenblatt's profile photo
Well, it's great to read your smiling comments and posts. 
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#houstontheater   #ObsidianArtSpace   #DangerousLiaisons  
So excited to see the culmination of all the hard work my honey Tom Stell, the director, cast and crew have put into Dangerous Liaisons! This staging is set in New Orleans in the late 1800s - very sexy, beautiful costumes, even the floor of the set is magnificent. I remember the movie w/ John Malkovich and Glen Close vividly. Now I get to see it brought to life at Obsidan Art Space. So wonderful to see one of Tom's dreams taking flight. 

Y'all come see! It opens tonight and runs for 3 weekends. Info & tickets:
Shelly Immel's profile photoTroy Ingram's profile photo
Thanks, +Troy Ingram! Opening night went well. Tonight I get to go see for myself!
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Have her in circles
4,358 people
Fiction writer. Owner/CFO of Obsidian, a learning consulting/development company (
  • Obsidian Art Space
    Board Member, 2011 - present
  • The Big Life Project
    Contributor / Owner, 2011 - present
  • Writer
  • Obsidian
    Owner, CFO, 1998 - present
  • DACG
    Operations Manager, 1991 - 1996
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Houston, TX - Llano, TX - Georgetown, TX - Koblenz, Germany - Osnabrueck, Germany - London, England - Aki, Japan
Entrepreneur. Writer. Blogger at The Big Life Project. I write coming-of-age novels about adults with messy lives.

What I Love / What I Do

I write novels with messy, imperfect characters who still manage to grow and love and live big.

I am fascinated with the same thing in real life: people telling stories about how they make choices and live their lives to the fullest...especially after setbacks and losses. Regrowing my life during / after chronic illness was my inspiration to blog on, part of my effort to fulfill the tagline's promise: *Grow Your Heart. Live Big.*

I work part-time at Obsidian (, a learning consulting / development company I founded 15 years ago to be "The Place I Want to Work." I am proud of the cutting edge work we do in learning, and of the employees and culture that keep us both sharply competitive and fully, compassionately human.

Before settling in Houston, I grew up in an artistic family on a cattle-ranch in the Texas Hill Country, then hopped back and forth as a student between Georgetown (Texas), Europe and Japan. I still love to travel, though my destinations now involve nature and loved ones rather than big cities.

  • Southwestern University
    Sociology, German, 1987 - 1990
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