It wasn’t until college that I sort of got my act together. Prior to then, I nearly failed out of high school, sat around making weird crafts and smoking cigarettes, then went on to spend a summer homeless in San Francisco because “damn the man.” An aimless young adult at a loss for what else to do, I eventually enrolled in community college. After sort of fumbling my way into graphic design, I scored a series of mentors who helped me understand my talent for communicating through visuals. Angsty apathy transformed, I worked multiple jobs with very little sleep in order to continue my studies. I graduated top of my class, but being Detroit there weren’t a lot of jobs available. A friend at CP+B in Boulder, CO convinced me to interview. I hadn’t considered advertising up until that point, yet off I went. I wore a tie. They took a chance on me; helped solidify my sense of fit in this profession and within myself. I will always be grateful to them for that.
Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to work with more great folks on great brands like JetBlue, Cadillac, Hummer, Burger King, Coke Zero, NIKE Running, National Geographic, Barnes & Noble, National Park Foundation, and American greetings. I’ve won awards from the Art Directors Club, D&AD, Webby’s and the One Show.
I’m proud of these experiences and accomplishments, but even more than that, I feel super fortunate that I’ve had so much fun getting here. I love that my job combines visual problem solving with strategic business problem solving. I love learning about new industries and businesses and how they work. And I love being challenged to translate that knowledge into something visual that speaks to large audiences.
Genuinely enjoying what I do is the craziest feeling. Not sure if I ever would’ve gotten there had it not been for a few critical people understanding my perspective in a way that my teen self would’ve never thought possible. Consequently, that sense of connection is something I care deeply about people feeling when interacting with my work. It’s something my kids help me practice every day when outside of the office.
I’m glad I got my act together. Although, I may or may not still be making weird crafts.