Women to Watch: Terri Beth Mitchell of Paradowski

Women to Watch: Terri Beth Mitchell of Paradowski


Terri Beth Mitchell is an Associate Creative Director at Paradowski, a creative agency based in St. Louis dedicated to branding and advertising. Mitchell’s history with graphic design and art has played a role in both her career and in her own personal story. They’ve both enhanced her abilities at her job, skills that she plans to use as she moves to serve the new cannabis market in Missouri.

She and the team at Paradowski are hard at work developing fresh and creative ways for businesses to set themselves apart in Missouri’s burgeoning cannabis industry. It is a new territory that they are eager to explore as the industry unfolds over the next couple of years. 


One of their first cannabis-related branding projects was just unveiled at MoCannBizCon+Expo 2020. Mitchell and the Paradowski team’s work in helping develop the logo for MizBiz – an organization specializing in connecting influential women across different Missouri businesses – was key in aiding its foundation.

She and the team traveled to Missouri cannabis conferences in St. Louis and Kansas City, gaining valuable insights and making connections to the industry. They took Green Flower certification classes, worked with CBD companies developing their websites, and met with hemp farmers. Their goal was to not only get a better understanding of the cannabis business landscape, but to integrate themselves into it as well. Through this research, Mitchell met with several influential women in the cannabis industry, one of whom would introduce her and the team to the MizBiz family.

“We met Mitch Meyers, a pioneer in the CBD industry who introduced us to the women-in-cannabis group,” Mitchell said.  And from there, Terri and her creative colleagues went to work on the group’s brand. Writer and Creative Director Caitlin Steever came up with the name MIZBIZ. “It’s a call for ‘All the Misses in the Business’” says Mitchell, quoting the group’s new tagline. With a name to kick off the project, Mitchell went on to design the logo and overall look for the new group. And the ladies in the group were as enthusiastic about the brand as she was.

MizBiz unveiled at MoCannBizCon, courtesy of Mitchell

“I’ve never in my life presented a logo to a group of people and had them clap,” she says, laughing. A testament to the enthusiasm of the women in the Missouri cannabis industry is in part what drives Mitchell in her quest to use her time and talent to serve the cannabis community.

“With this industry being new here, and so many people starting businesses and being genuinely excited about it, you have a perfect recipe for doing work that is meaningful, purpose-driven, and extremely creative,” Mitchell says. “There’s a fearlessness there. Maybe even a bit of rebelliousness. It’s a direct reflection of the people choosing to get into this business in the first place. It’s such a new frontier, that it lacks a strong precedent – and that’s a good thing. We’re starting fresh. We’re taking chances. We’re redefining what cannabis means symbolically. That’s a dream scenario for people like me.”

Some of Mitchell’s paintings, courtesy of Mitchell

A designer by day, Mitchell paints on her own time and has presented her work at shows. Her personal work revolves around bringing humor and fun to complicated issues. “I’m naturally critical of things. I’m constantly finding things that frustrate me, that doesn’t make sense, that annoys me––” she says, “so with my paintings, I try to turn my negative feelings into something fun. There’s almost nothing that doesn’t have a humorous or absurd angle to it if you approach it the right way.”

Some of Mitchell’s paintings, courtesy of Mitchell

Mitchell said one of the things she loves about painting is the contrast it lends to her profession – whereas as advertising and branding is generally not something you want to be open to interpretation, art can have ambiguity. “I actually enjoy it if people have an interpretation of a painting that I never intended. And I don’t think they’re wrong for it. The world is shades of grey and so are our perceptions of it.”

Some of Mitchell’s paintings, courtesy of Mitchell

Mitchell’s personal background is also influenced by her time in the military. She was enlisted in the Air Force for 5 years, stationed mostly in Oklahoma. She believes her veteran status offers her a unique lens as it pertains to her career. 

One of Mitchell’s paintings, courtesy of Mitchell

“It gives me a different perspective culturally than most people in my career field have had. Many have had no direct experience with it, and there are a surprising amount of completely incorrect perceptions about the military that well-meaning people have. So I think it’s valuable to have a diversity of thought and experience.”

Mitchell told Greenway Magazine that her time in the service prepared her to take higher education in design seriously. “By the time I went to college, I was 23, so I felt very old and wise and mature. I wasn’t, but I was really serious about my work,” she said. 

From her time in Oklahoma to living and working as a designer in San Diego for 10 years, to moving back to the midwest 2 years ago, Mitchell is now closer to her rural Illinois family. “I was really lucky getting hired at Paradowski. Thankfully, they took a chance on a random person that lived 1,800 miles away. I picked up my entire life in San Diego really impulsively. People were like, ‘What the hell are you doing?’ I was actually afraid I might regret moving.” Thankfully for her, she hasn’t regretted a thing. “It’s all been pretty magical, honestly. I especially like not paying $2000 a month for a studio apartment. That’s one of my favorite things about living here.”

One of Mitchell’s paintings, Copcake, courtesy of Mitchell
Mitchell and her mother, courtesy of Mitchell

Mitchell said she felt caught between two worlds as her creative career developed, pairing rural roots with working in design with “fancy people” as she calls them. Her identity is one of interesting contradictions and intriguing complexities that lend to her creativity. “I always feel misunderstood, but I think if I felt understood, I would hate that even more,” she jokes. “That’s just part of my identity, I guess.”

Raised by a single mom who was the first female police officer in their town, one of her paintings features a police car with donuts for wheels. “That’s a perfect example of perceptions affecting the meaning of the work. Some people think it’s a critique of law enforcement. Cops think it’s an homage to them. My mom thinks it’s just about her. The truth is, it’s all those things. That’s a kinder way to think about the world. Complex and weird, and above all, donut-related.”

When asked what her greatest achievement is, she says, “Honestly, it’s probably just the way I have – out of some luck, some will and a lot of stubbornness– managed to get into a position where my career involves so much of what I’m good at. Designing things that are important to me and having to think deeply and strategically about them. It’s pretty miraculous that I’m doing this and not anything else, really. Whatever credit I can take for getting me into this career field has got to be my greatest accomplishment.”