alice pettey, mfa

Alice Pettey, MFA

Founder, Certified Brand Strategist

I don’t know about you, but the “about” section is one that I have always hated to write.

I mean, really, what do you what to know or even care about?  Should I list my credentials and accolades? They can sound great, right? But, then again, that could just sound pompous and egotistical & hey, do you really care that I graduated Valedictorian of my Master’s program or that I’m a certified brand strategist? Maybe, what you really want is how I got here and the why behind it all. It’s not an exciting story. It definitely, has a bit of tragedy and frustration woven through, but if you’re up for it & want to know, here goes.


I guess after college makes sense. Of course, by then, I’d already set aside my dreams for the realities of having two children to support. Nothing revolutionary here, just youthful spur-of-the-moment decisions that result in lifelong consequences – you know, life. But, it did lead me into my first full-time position with an interior design agency.

I worked as the receptionist/office manager for the firm but was exposed to a new world of experience. Not in designing office layouts but in the technology used. This I found fascinating. So just two years out from getting my Bachelor of Arts (in History, no less), I enrolled in courses for Graphic Design & Multimedia Design. This was way back in 1999, but I found programs I could take fully online.

Once I got a foundation for the software and the basics of design concepts, I dug in deep through books, training programs, videos, seminars, and anything else that I could think of that would help expand my understanding of design and creativity.  I learned that there was design, and then there was DESIGN. Anyone can do design.

Today, that’s what Canva is for – making design accessible & it’s great. It provides templates and frameworks to non-designers to create pieces that look good & fulfill their needs without having to devote the hours and expense of hiring or learning design. But then there is DESIGN. This is not about making things look nice – this is about approaching things from a strategic and business focus. It’s about communication and fulfilling business goals.

Here I am all excited about this new thing, “strategic design,” and how it needs to be brought into the process SO much earlier and not seen as the afterthought to make things pretty. But 9-11 happens, and businesses downsize, and as I’m expecting my third child, I’m an easy layoff. It was a fun Christmas that year. But, come April, we welcomed our youngest son into the family, and life was never the same.


Our youngest son came with some surprises. We discovered over the course of his first three years that our baby has Smith-Magenis Syndrome. Our simple explanation is Autism on steroids, but there is so much more to it; if you’re interested, check out

With this diagnosis, the direction of our entire family’s life changed. The husband and I spent a week in mourning. No one really tells you that. You actually mourn when you get that kind of life-altering diagnosis. You mourn the life you thought you and/or your child were going to have. The plans you made, the dream you didn’t eave realize you had. Our son wasn’t quite three when he was diagnosed, but it’s amazing how much of his future I had already dreamed.

Our daughter, four at our youngest birth, responded by becoming a little mommy.  And she was, right up until the day he died while she & her father tried to save him.

Our oldest son withdrew into himself and suffered severe depression – that we missed because of the constant focus on our youngest. Thankfully, he’s still with us.

During the 18 years we had with our youngest; we were blessed with his love, isolated by his condition, ostracized by lack of understanding of his behaviors; restricted by obligation & devotion; resentful of limitations; guilt-ridden for our frustration and resentments; overwhelmed by it all, and trying to present a normal exterior to the world.

I explored so many healing modalities. In another life, I would have gone into that field, but the time and energy required to truly master any of them take a lifetime, and I recognize my limitations. That is why I respect those who devote themselves to helping others so much.  Western medicine definitely has its place, but I do so wonder, if we could have invested more into it, would eastern medicine have been able to make our son’s life better?  Would it have provided a way to have lessened the locked door that he was trapped behind?

I have so much anger at one of our local hospitals. We were there a week before our son’s passing for pre-op (he’d had a dental abscess for 4+ months that they were finally going to address, and given his condition, required an OR); during this check-up, his extremity pulse-ox was 52.  I’d never seen them take one on the forehead before – but they managed to get a peak at 93, though typically even that stayed in the 80s & they cleared him for surgery.

Of course, it didn’t matter. A week later, we showed up for surgery, and he didn’t want to go in. The hospital REFUSED to assist us in getting him into the facility. My husband fought with him for 45 minutes, and I begged for help inside. Finally, we left, and he was dead by mid-afternoon the next day. – I am A-N-G-E-R-Y.

Angry or not, it will not bring my son back. So here I am; two years have passed since his death, and I’m trying to make sense of it. What to do with my life, and how I can use my skills to make the world a better place in his memory.


I know branding – Think about your best friend, your spouse, and your significant other. Think about what makes them – them. What they wear. What they listen to. What they sound like. What they smell like. What makes them laugh? What makes them cry? When you walk through a store, there are things that are going to make you instantly think of them. You have that recognition – that’s branding.

It’s the conversation, the chance to find clarity to understand whom you are actually trying to reach, the concepts – the strategy – behind who you are and why you do what you do. It’s not about making it pretty. It’s about reaching the right people. It’s about understanding why you get up in the morning and go to your practice. It’s about understanding whom you’re trying to help and why you’re trying to help them. It’s about communicating that message to them on a daily basis. Solving their problems and letting them know what those problems are before they even realize they have them.

It is innate for every person – on an unconscious, visceral level to understand and connect with another person. What brand strategists do is help translate that from individual to individual to your company. To help you develop a visceral experience for the right people. You’re not going to be the right practitioner for everyone, and you’re not going to be the practitioner for most, but there are the right people, and for those right people, there will never be another practitioner who could replace you. Those are the people we need to make connections with, and yeah, some of it is the down-and-dirty bit, known as marketing, that gets their attention, but it’s the branding that keeps them.

I see the passion and inspiration, and desire to do good and help within the chiropractor community. I want to help you do that. I want to help the public understand what you do. There are so many misconceptions and fallacies that have been disseminated against Chiropractors that need to be set straight. Let’s battle the lies with  truth & set the records straight.

I see your frustration, and I have experienced that same frustration myself. I know that together we can connect you with the people who will not only benefit from the services that you can bring to them but will appreciate what you can do.

My purpose is to connect you with the right people and the right clients so that your frustration levels decline and your practices succeed. That it becomes more profitable and more fulfilling, and that you are servicing the group of individuals you are meant for to serve.

Connect with Alice Pettey  |  Have Questions – Ask Alice

Company Timeline

April 2024
April 2024
branding rx podcast

Podcast Launches

A bi-weekly podcast providing you the perscription for health and wellness branding. Listen in for insights & interviews with leading experts.

March 2024
March 2024
marquis who's who's

2024 Honored Listee

Alice Pettey was recognized as a 2024 Marquis Who's Who Honored Listee

October 2023
October 2023


The launch of Differentiate Magazine's premier issue. Available online at, and in PDF, flipbook & in physical copies with print-on-demand.

September 2023
September 2023
book stand up of branding your practice


Branding Your Practice: A Comprehensive Guide to Building A Strong Brand in Health & Wellness for more information visit

July 2023
July 2023
differentiate magazine logo


A sister company to Neurotic Dog Studios, Differentiate Magazine, a division of NDS Enerprises LLC was founded as a quarterly magazine focused on providing educational and actionable information to health and wellness practice owners to help them brand and grow their practices. Discover more at

May 2023
May 2023
nds enterprises llc logo


Alice Pettey Branding & Strategic Design, LLC was renamed to NDS Enterprises LLC to better reflect the diverse divisions and endevors undertaken by the company.

May 2022
May 2022
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Neurotic Dog Studios launchs the Brand My Chiro Practice program, designed to aid chiropractice in developing clarity and focus on their branding and marketing endevors through education, strategy and coaching

March 2022
March 2022
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Neurotic Dog Studios received certification from the SBA as a Woman Owned Business

March 2022
March 2022
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NDS Fonts, a division of Neurotic Dog Studios, releases it's first font, Rounded Block Display, through Monotype

August 2021
August 2021
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Alice obtained certification as a Buyers Persona Expert through the Buyers Persona Institute

February 2021
February 2021
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Alice obtained certification as a Brand Strategist through Level C, lead by Marty Neumeier and Andy Star

October 2020
October 2020
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Alice obtained certification as a Brand Specialist through Level C, lead by Marty Neumeier and Andy Star

November 2019
November 2019
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Alice Pettey Branding & Strategic Design, LLC was rebranded under the trade name Neurotic Dog Studios

December 2014
December 2014
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Alice incorporated her freelance business as Alice Pettey Branding & Strategic Design, LLC

May 2013
May 2013


Alice graduated as Valedictorian in the Master of Fine Arts, Media Design program at Full Sail University

October 2012
October 2012


Alice resumed full-time work as an independent contractor