In the early part of this century, Kelly Thomason, PA-C’05, was juggling a lot. She graduated in 2003 from Iowa State University with majors in business and marketing and minors in biology and Spanish. She married husband Patrick, enrolled in DMU’s physician assistant program and launched an event design firm, Bella Flora, in Urbandale, IA. When daughter Grace was born in 2007, Thomason found herself juggling motherhood with the business and her dermatology practice.
Something had to give.
“It was bittersweet. I really love medicine, and I miss it,” she says. “But we’ve been able to grow the business every year, even in this recession.”
Bella Flora indeed has bloomed. From corporate parties to fundraising galas to weddings, holiday celebrations and other events, Thomason and her crew manage all the mind-boggling details – flowers, lighting, centerpieces, “tablescaping” and more – all to fit specific budgets, quirky tastes, unforgiving deadlines and inevitable last-minute changes. They offer one of the largest collections of linens in central Iowa. Typically managing multiple events at any given time, the staff have to turn away more than half of their callers. They’re outgrowing their space.
“It can be a crazy job, but I love the balance of business, creativity and motherhood,” Thomason says, calmly cradling month-old son Grant amid the firm’s colorful tableau of tables, covered chairs, centerpieces, partyware, pedestals, fabrics and flowers. Among other events, Bella Flora created the eye-popping floral arrangements for the inauguration of DMU President Angela Walker Franklin.
“It’s a great sense of accomplishment when we’ve carried a large event a long way,” Thomason notes. “When you see a big weekend come to a successful close and things went well, it’s very satisfying.”