Lynn Hunter Colwell '67
By Alice Smetheram Bass ’88
Lynn Hutner Colwell ’67 possesses a true liberal arts spirit, which she put to good use at Rollins exploring a variety of courses before deciding on a French history/literature major and geography minor. Adopting that spirit in her career, she has been a Lamaze instructor, PR consultant, communications writer, Erma Bombeck biographer, and life coach. “I want to enjoy my work, make a contribution, and move on to the next opportunity,” Colwell said. The latest “next opportunity”: launching a business called The Green Year, LLC with daughter Corey Colwell-Lipson.
The spark for the business was ignited when Colwell’s daughter mentioned an idea for creating “green”-themed Halloween. Colwell-Lipson wanted her children to have the experience of trick-or-treating, but when her research revealed the average child collects 10 pounds of candy, she asked herself, “Why does Halloween have to be all about candy and how much candy?” Colwell and her daughter approached their local Whole Foods Market with the concept of Green Halloween®, hoping to create a community movement of parents interested in reducing the over-consumerism (and the sugar content) of the holiday. Colwell’s PR know-how helped create local buzz, but when the story exploded nationally, they were overwhelmed. “Calls came in from all over the country, ‘When are you bringing Green Halloween to our city?’” Colwell said.
Colwell had the vision to extend the concept to other celebrations. “I thought about how we overdo on holidays and just knew this was going to be huge,” she said. After that first successful event, Colwell and Colwell-Lipson established The Green Year, LLC, modeling their business after Paul Newman’s Newman’s Own companies in which all profits go to charity. “I loved the idea of being in the position to give money away,” Colwell said.
Colwell’s imagination took off once again when she connected with a new publisher whose mission was to publish green-themed books on recycled paper, using non-toxic inks, and run the business in as eco-friendly a way as possible. Within an hour, the entrepreneur had book contracts. Problem was, Colwell-Lipson had little writing experience and Colwell was new to green living. “My daughter is green from the top of her head to the tip of her toes and I’m just in up to my knees” Colwell laughed. The mother-daughter team quickly created a system for collaborating, using Colwell’s free-wheeling spirit and writing skills to develop the books’ stories and activities while exploiting Colwell Lipson’s depth of eco-knowledge for content. The joint venture turned into the single most exciting experience of Colwell’s life—“aside from giving birth to my three children and seeing my grandchildren born”—and their book, Celebrate Green! Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations & Traditions for the Whole Family, was released this fall.
Colwell hopes that the simplicity of their message will inspire families to look again at their holidays. “Just ask yourself, ‘Is it good for me, the planet, and the community?’ Make a few simple, economical changes, and in no time, you’ll be celebrating green!”