Blog & Calendar

Finding Success Through Collaboration: Dorothy Shain's Message of Kindness and Connection

Ellie Dalkin, Director of Young Alumni Relations and Communications

Dorothy Shain ‘08 embodies the saying, “practice what you preach.” During her visit to the Upper School on Monday, she delivered a message on the importance of being kind to everyone you meet and valuing relationships above making a dollar. It just takes one conversation with Dorothy to experience these values in practice firsthand. 

As Founder and Creative Director of Dorothy Shain Fine Art & Design, she has learned how to balance the demands of being both an entrepreneur and an artist. Funding future projects requires a sustainable revenue stream, which is where her creativity shines. She has discovered her niche in collaborative ventures, showcasing her artwork in diverse spaces, from the shelves full of Callie’s Hot Little Biscuits in local grocery stores to the stylish confines of Anthropologie with her bathing suit collections. 

These collaborations would not be possible without the relationships that she has built along the way. In fact her “first big start” came from a conversation about her work with a stranger at a cheap Mexican restaurant in California. The stranger ended up being the assistant to famous actress and screenwriter, Mindy Kaling (best known in her role as Kelly Kapoor on The Office). In a decision showcasing her business prowess, Dorothy traded her artwork for publicity on Kelly’s Instagram page, resulting in thousands of visitors to her website overnight. Without curiosity and kindness, this life-changing moment would not have been possible. 

She shared lessons like this to the students in Sarah Teal’s Innovative Design Class, where students have the opportunity to brainstorm and create their own projects. Sitting around a table, students asked Dorothy questions ranging from “Do you have any pets?” to “How did you build your business?” She went through her website and expounded on some of her favorite projects. 

After class, she spoke at the beginning of the Upper School assembly. Reminiscing on her years at CCES, she shared a story on how this school community comforted her during a difficult time in her life. On the first day of senior year, Dorothy received a phone call from the police department. Her dad, who had embarked on a 1-hour short hike in the woods outside Lake Kiawah, was lost and his cell phone was about to die. As one day turned into three, her family anxiously awaited the return of her father in the parking lot outside of the trailhead. Looking around, Dorothy vividly remembers seeing multiple faculty, staff, and students waiting alongside her. She says, “This community supported me in one of my worst moments and has continued to support me throughout my life.” 

She also gave a shoutout to Suzanne Abrams, a beloved retired art teacher at CCES, who encouraged Dorothy to pursue an art major in college despite her self-described stubbornness. These relationships changed her life and showed her the importance of treating others with kindness and compassion. 

Following assembly, a line of students waited for the chance to shake her hand and ask her a question. She met each student with a warm smile and a generous spirit. Dorothy exemplifies the profound impact of nurturing relationships, embracing opportunities, and embodying the values one preaches, and we are so grateful to her for giving her time and talents back to the CCES community.
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