Today I went to a Meet the Pros event, this was the first one I ever went to and I’m glad I did. The speakers at the event were Keni Thacker, Chris Phillips, Andrew Berard, Emely Perez, and Mo Osunbor. They are all designers at J. Walter Thompson.
Emily Perez was the first one to speak she’s the Senior Editor, and Illustrator for J.W Thompson.In fact she was actually a student at City Tech and helped start the whole Meet the Pros events. She was even the captain of the Art + Design Club. Emily spoke about how you don’t necessarily need a high end education to make it in this industry. She began to show her work that the created, one that stood out to me was the one she did for Walmart. Which was a a campaign that focused on being more environmentally friendly for the Holidays. SO what she made was bag for Walmart the converts into wrapping paper, and the handle on the bag can be used as a ribbon. What I liked most about this project is that it’s not something that you normally see from companies. Normally companies promote products and price markdowns, never really about how you can help the planet while also saving money.
She also mentioned this program that she attended after she graduated which MAIP, which is a program that promotes diversity in the advertising Industry. She recommended that it would be a great experience for anyone who wants to build their portfolio, and get experience in the field.
Someone in the the crowed asked “What if all they wanted to do was animate, do they still need to know about all the other aspects of design?” What Emily said was really great, she told him that “it’s always good to know about typography and graphic design even if the only thing you do is animation. If you only focus on one thing you only become a pair of hands. You wont get the experience of collaborating and actually being APART of a project. Instead of actually putting in suggestions and contributing, you will forever be told WHAT to do instead of being asked what do you THINK?” I thought that was something that stuck out to me a lot, because no one wants to be just “a pair of hands” I think thats what’s so satisfying about being a designer, having the ability to say you had something to do with the project, and you help execute the idea.
Another thing I notice was that she was the only women on the panel, which made me wonder a lot about the lack of diversity in the Design world. That was another thing I found interesting about the event was that they did focus on social issues and what it’s like to be a person of color in the field. A lot of the people that were at the Meet the Pros event asked a lot of questions about diversity in Advertising.
Andrew Berard was another person I thought had a cool story. He started talking about the process of actually getting the interview with big companies, and making sure you stand out from every other applicant. He started to go on about how it was hard to find a job after he graduated, and that no one was emailing him back. So intead of going the “corproate” route he started sending different companies emails about why he loved pizza.
He created this pizza box and inside was strips of reason of why he loved pizza on the back of the strips of paper we’re links to his portfolio site. Which actually landed him and Interview at Sagmeister & Walsh. He said he didn’t get the job, but it didn’t, it got their attention, and gotten him an interview at one of the most prestigious Design Firms. He told us “the next time we go on an interview it’s good to explain your work, but get to know the interviewer and ask them about what makes them happy, because people love to talk about themselves, and you will leave an imprint in their heads.” This was probably one of the greatest advice I ever gotten about getting a job.
Overall the experience was great, it open my eyes to things I never even considered. I’m glad I went.