What’s With The Tree?

Since we’ve rebranded, a few of you have been wondering this and have asked how the tree became part of an image consulting company’s logo. Luckily, I have this blog and can tell you the secret tale of what I like to call “treedom”. When my awesome integrated marketing specialist (Allison Cousins of REX Image – woot!) was taking me through her unique brand discovery process, I did a large chunk of exploratory work, figuring out what ICU’s values were, what the brand represented and how that might best be expressed. I changed my mind a lot, as the company was fairly new and hadn’t undergone this type of analysis before. Essentially, we reached the point where we were both a bit stuck. Finally she asked me about some of my inspirations and I shared a very personal story about how I wrote a little kids’ book when I started my own development, way back when.


The Katherine Tree

There is a poet in San Francisco, Mary Mackey, who wrote a poem with a line that I’ve never forgotten: “I grew in rings, like a tree. At the center I’m always 10, with pink glasses and braces.” I really identified with this idea of growing as a tree and so I got doodling one day with crayons (I love crayons, I always have) in a little sketchbook and came up with the story “The Katherine Tree”.

I described what it was like under the tree (warm all the time), what the tree did (tickling your ear with treesongs, truesongs) and how it bloomed (hothouse flowers of joy), and added pictures for each page. At the end, I wrote ‘Where is your tree?’ to accompany the last page, with a small seedling sprouting, and this came to represent that developmental journey, the process of ‘uncovering’ or ‘treedom’.

Each of us starts as a little seedling full of potential and when we grow older and begin to rediscover ourselves, we sometimes need to get back to the core of who we really are, as if we were looking under the layers to the heart of a tree.



I think who you are at four is who you are at seventy-four. It’s important to uncover the essence of you and then regrow and blossom into who you were meant to be. At ICU I am lucky – I help people grow.  What inspires you? Are you living your best life? In short…………………………………………………………………………………………..



  1. Nicole July 5, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    Spoken like a true artist, poet, singer and creator! Love it!

    • katherinel July 6, 2012 at 7:04 am

      Thanks Nic! Regarding our earlier Facebook thread, I think emotional releases are just winnowing down into the heart of the tree, so keep going!

  2. Dominique July 5, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    I love the tree Katherine, and i can see the little girl with the pink glasses is still very much a part of you!

    • katherinel July 6, 2012 at 7:03 am

      Hi Dom, thanks for the props. I really identified strongly with Mary Mackey’s poem and I think I’ll have to track her down and say thanks for the inspiration. Now where is *your* tree?

  3. Clare maxfield July 6, 2012 at 12:14 am

    I love that story and analogy. Do I have your permission to repeat ‘My friend katherine’s analogy that we are the tree. we will always be who we are at our core and while our leaves may change and flowers may bloom for a while, we should be true to the person we are in our centre.’

    Thanks it is so well described

    • katherinel July 6, 2012 at 7:02 am

      Thanks Clare! You’re more than welcome to repeat the story, thank you for asking! I’m happy you liked it enough to share.

  4. Julia James July 6, 2012 at 12:23 am

    Thank you Katherine for sharing your tree-story with us!!! It is so true that we stay the same at our core. You do such an amazing job of helping people express their true essence or “treeness” by way of aligning their external image with their inner truth.
    Thank you!

    • katherinel July 6, 2012 at 7:01 am

      It’s my pleasure, Julia! Although it felt pretty vulnerable at first, Allison showed me how it was okay to have my business themes based closely on very personal stories. I wonder what it would be like to have more people show up this way?

  5. Phyllis Harber-Murphy July 6, 2012 at 2:36 am

    Well, I must say that tree rings are a much more attractive image than Shrek’s comparing himself to the many layers of an onion! A lovely story, Katherine.

    Best regards,

    Phyllis Harber-Murphy

    • katherinel July 6, 2012 at 6:58 am

      Thanks Phyllis! I like the solidity and continued growth of the tree too. Parfait on the other hand…

  6. Allison July 6, 2012 at 4:50 am

    Love this post… So true.

    • katherinel July 6, 2012 at 6:56 am

      Thanks Allison! To think it never would have come to fruition in such a neat way without you!

  7. Rowena July 13, 2012 at 12:56 am

    How timely. I just got back from Oregon where I climbed like a kid on a 700 year old tree.Took pictures and marveled at how amazing mother nature is to have created such wonder.No 2 trees are exactly alike and no 2 people are exactly alike. I can see how this would tie in to image. good on you Katherine

    • katherinel July 16, 2012 at 7:25 pm

      Hi Rowena, I agree, trees, especially old trees, have a great energy about them and I do love their unique qualities. Just like people, as you say. Thanks for commenting.

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