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Year 1: 2020 Annual Report


This first year has been a learning experience for me. I developed a more formal structure for my business than when I was a freelance science writer/editor, and I began (but have not yet finished) the challenging work of integrating business development and business process with my needs as a multiply minoritized person. I owe a particular debt of gratitude to my systems ecology colleagues for their assistance, patience, and generosity in helping me to develop and apply my systems thinking skills to restructuring my life in a way that is intended to help me thrive mindfully, on the scale of decades rather than years. I am also grateful to my postdoctoral mentor Dr. Rebecca Drenovsky, who has helped me build field experience and develop a sense of my strengths and weaknesses in the context of plant ecology research, and to Dr. James Watling, who put me in touch with my first client of 2020.


Business & Professional Development:

  • Initial filing with State of Ohio and federal government

  • Began courses through Ohio Means Jobs to support business planning & operations

  • Completed COVID-19 Contact Tracing course through Ohio Means Jobs

Education Consulting:

  • New opportunities considered: 4

    • Curriculum development contract accepted & completed

    • Research Coordination Network invitation accepted (participant)

    • Decadal Vision response (participant)

    • Declined one curriculum review contract to prioritize manuscript editing

Grant-Funded Research:

  • Current funded projects (PI): 1

  • New grant proposals, notice of intent stage (PI, science): 2

  • New grant proposals, full proposal stage (Co-PI, science): 1

Unfunded Projects:

  • Research manuscript drafts revised with senior author review (lead author; science): 2

  • Datasets uploaded to NCBI (science): 2

  • Regional COVID-19 data monitoring and reporting (statistics)

  • Development of portfolio models for teaching, student mentoring, and educator mentoring across the biology curriculum (education consulting)

Financial Summary:

  • Change in capital during 2020: +78%

  • Net income as proportion of total work income for 2020: 7%

Goals for Year 2:

Business & Professional Development:

  • Articulate mission and vision

  • Define sustainable work parameters

  • Develop financial targets for five-year plan

  • Draft plan for transition to a new structure at end of Year 5


  • Submit top priority manuscript for peer review

  • Successfully deliver on project commitments made prior to December 31, 2020

  • Submit at least two research proposals as PI, any stage


  • Increase net income as proportion of total work income to at least 50%

  • Define thresholds for continuing business into Year 3 and for seeking new contracts

Current Status:

Maintaining stable business operations currently requires that I focus on Year 2 goals defined above. During Q1 2021, I have defined financial targets and thresholds to better assess available opportunities and risks. Available offers collectively exceed 50% of the minimum income necessary to continue into Year 3 and are well aligned with longer-term goals. To help ensure quality work on current offers, I do not plan to actively seek new clients during Q2 2021.

L.K. Tuominen

March 31, 2021

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