Bio

LessZoa is the tag used by Lessie Z. Mitch, an internet professional and gamer. She also writes under the nom de plume of Kirthag in the gaming industry. Being fascinated with the internet since 1993, Lessie pokes, tinkers, studies and codes websites while helping others establish a presence on the web. She utilizes her experience with online communities and social networks to help businesses understand the necessity and pitfalls of social media.

80s

Pre-Internet [1980’s]

Lessie’s introduction to gaming came in 1982 through an experimental club in middle school: “Dungeons and Dragons”. The persona, Kirthag, although not named at this time, was rolled-out as a female fighter. For that young girl, this character was already the flame-haired celtic barbarian that runs amok in such games as Ultima Online, The Elder Scrolls Online and World of Warcraft.

In 1985, Lessie was first introduced to the Apple IIe by a teacher at her high school. It was a cute and shiny object which intrigued many for it didn’t work at all like the TRS80 machines used in the new BASIC programming classes; or even the Commodore64s several students had at home. Lessie, being a curious girl, decided to tinker with the Apple, and promptly broke it. She spent several fretful hours attempting to make it work again (it kept booting with the iconic sad-mac image) until the teacher, who had been watching without Lessie knowing, came over and showed the student what to do. This pivotal moment in Lessie’s young life helped to establish a fundamental belief: computers are not scary objects, but puzzles to be explored and used as tools.

Inspired by the Centipede and Asteroid arcade games at a bowling alley, Lessie also taught herself how to program a very simple “centipede” like game on the Commodore64, sneaking time on the computer without her parents’ knowledge (sorry Dad!).

Being interested in how the computers worked, Lessie joined the US Army Reserves at the age of 17 as a repair tech for Teletypes and Facsimiles which soon became computerized communications systems. Through this military training, Lessie learned the basic principle of laying networks, how devices communicate to each other, and the technical gadgetry that makes it all work. Teletypes were a dying tech while computerized faxes were the precursor to full blown computer usage in military communications. Lessie will still find an old “frakenstein” or “spring machine” hiding out in garages and tinker with them in glee.

90s

Critical Introduction to Publishing [1990’s]

Having not yet found her career path, Lessie was exploring several different types of jobs…

  • Retail sales of pools, spas and other luxury items
  • Secretarial and Executive assistance
  • Direct sales and promotions of Kirby products
  • Large scale trade shows and events
  • Party & social sales (Tupperware and Amway)
  • Photo studio sales (how to make screaming babies laugh and smile)

During a visit with family in Las Vegas, Les was introduced to the world of Magazine Advertising and Publishing. She learned about galleys, fitting text onto a page digitally, and yes, how to scan and manipulate images. This short lived introduction triggered a deeply passionate drive which in turn spurred Lessie into wildfire research on publishing concepts, layout and design philosophies, and the dissection of various advertising campaigns. She dove into the world of commercialized communications and her lifelong need for expression found a creative outlet – Desktop Publishing.

  • Graphic Designer – Lehigh Valley Real Estate Weekly
  • Art Director – Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce
  • Desktop Publisher/Graphic Designer – MacTemps (now Acquent)
  • Advertising Layout Specialist – Bell Atlantic Directory Graphics
  • Art Director & Preflight Specialist – MinuteMan Press

1995-2003

AO-Hell [mid to late 1990’s & early 2000’s]

Paying an hourly subscription of $2.93, America OnLine (or AOL) became the first step in many leading to Lessie’s multifaceted career. In the beginning it was simply a way to research different clients and to communicate with them via email. Then AOL began the first monthly subscription plan allowing for more than one account to login. All sorts of interesting things happened to the internet and how it spawned the “dot-com” bubble. For Lessie, it was a mind boggling combination of blessings and curses, yet it has served as the main diverging point in her life. From that first gig as a volunteer moderator in chat room to receiving “perks” from people for coding their personal pages – it was at that point Lessie knew her career and life would be driven by the internet.

  • Participation in early online communities as moderator
  • The first appearances of her D&D character, Kirthag, on the internet
  • Reverse engineering of websites to learn BB-code and HTML
  • The fundamentals of image optimization for web display
  • Adoption of internet gaming in MUDs and MUSHes
  • Advertising Art Director to Network Manager – Honolulu Publishing
  • PrePress Manager – Upscale Printing
  • Assistant PrePress Manager – Kurt H. Volk
  • PrePress Specialist – LTC Group
  • Event Coordinator – CTAutoX.com
  • Art Director & Writer – Burchell Publishing

2ks

Tragedy and Perseverance
[First Decade of the new Millennium]

The events of September 11, 2001 will never be forgotten. So much has changed with as yet untold consequences, for Lessie this was no different. She was on the cusp of establishing herself as an industry player in the tri-state area of Connecticut, New York and New Jersey, and yet it would not be so. Lessie decided to return to her home state of Hawaii, thus beginning a 2 year trek from the North East across the country homeward. She traveled to Florida, and there spent the majority of that time with friends in the Panhandle town of Pensacola. Then across the country via bus and a hop over the Pacific by plane back to where she grew up. Les thought to stay in the publishing and printing industries, however Hawaii is a completely different demographic than the rest of the world. It is isolated, with a micro-economy that heavily relies on tourism and military. The dynamics are completely different and the mentality necessary to succeed cannot be run on a New York Minute. Lessie’s career did another harsh curve.

Challenged by a man who saw her passion and drive for tech and communications, Lessie finally took the step toward formal education. First by taking certification courses in Java Programming, then RedHat Server Administration, Lessie’s career as a Web Developer came to realization.

Safety Systems Hawaii (2003 to 2012 – employee)

  • Marketing Director (retail outlet, catalog sales, internet sales)
  • Senior Web Developer (development for customized ecommerce solution built off of the MerchantSpace software)
  • Senior Web Master (all content and services related to website)
  • Web Admin (full management of dedicated server hosted by RackSpace)
  • Ecommerce Manager (all of the above plus management of 4-employees)
  • IT-Support (Windows Services, Active Directory, Network Structure, Help Desk)

10s

There is no “Try” [Second Decade of the new Millennium]

A dream realized is not a dream lost, it just means a new dream is yet to be. After being relieved of her duties at Safety Systems, Lessie explored several avenues of internet entrepreneurship. Quickly she realized that not every business is the same, but yet so many similarities exists. Foremost in every business is the fundamental requirement of Good Customer Service and the prevailing need to stop wanting and start doing.

Deciding to further her education, Les left the professional world for academia, earning an Associate’s degree while re-familiarizing herself with customer service and retail practices. She now looks forward to re-entering the professional world and is actively seeking her new role.

  • HaleNalo.com (2008 to 2017- consultant & webmaster)
    • Internet presence consultation and advice
    • Implementation of design concepts into web format (static, then combined static to WPMU and finally standalone WP)
    • Management of hosting account and web services
    • Marketing and Social Media consultation
  • Hawaii Coffee Company (2012 to 2014 – employee)
    • Data transfer between website & internal systems
    • Database Management & Conversion prep (VisualFoxPro to MySql)
    • Social Media Management
    • Email Marketing focus & list segmentation
  • Stratics.com (2012 to 2016 – volunteer)
    • Vice President of Publishing & Editor In Chief then full Publisher (currently consultant)
    • Migration of all content from old structure to new
    • Video streaming & publishing of in-game events
    • Social Media participation
    • Community leader with focus on Ultima Online
  • OneShotSupplies.com (2013 to 2014 – contract)
    • Site redesign & management
    • Leveraging of Social Media
  • Consulting Associates International, Inc. (2013 to 2014 – contract)
    • Comprehensive internet presence strategy for family of sites
    • Restructuring of site architecture and relationships
    • Redesign of websites with different themes & styles into Content Management Solution (CMS)
      • ConsultingAssociatesInternational.info
      • TheSchoolOfHolisticManagement.com (to include e-commerce)
      • PersonalStyleInventory.com (dynamic questionnaire integration)
      • www.MargoMansfieldMA.com (blog)
  • AllenDavisPhotography.com (2014 – pro bono)
    • Parallax design
    • Organization and Migration from old blog
  • Barony of Western Seas (2014 to present – non-profit volunteer officer)
    • 100% static design in HTML and CSS
    • Strict adherence to ADA, W3C and accessibility standards
    • Management of entire group’s email system
    • Social Media management
    • Officer of the Barony – Webwright
    • Includes redesign and management of subgroup web pages
  • Leeward Community College, Student (2016 – 2018)
    • AS in Management, Business Tech
    • Dean’s List and Honors Graduate
    • Phi Thetta Kappa, Member
    • Phi Beta Lambda / Enactus Business Club
      • President, 2017-18
      • Chair, 2017 Fall Craft Fair
      • Secretary, 2016-17
      • Co-Chair, 2016 Fall Craft Fair
  • Macy’s (part-time employee)
  • Walmart (part-time employee)