Blow people's minds.
I have a foundation in the arts, experience in the advertising industry, and a masters degree in communication. I marketed goods to consumers for nearly a decade and became a UX designer to flip the table. Now I make products better by delighting users rather than persuading them.
1. Started as an artist
My father handed me a film camera when I was 10 years old and the rest is history. I became engrossed in the art of black and white photography and hosted my own solo gallery show when I was just 13 years old. I took as many photography classes as I could and went to a high school with a strong visual arts program.
I shot portraits, weddings and fashion photography for over a decade during my young adult years. Before Facebook, I was a pro user of the photo sharing site, Flickr; publishing nearly 15,000 photos on the service before archiving my work.
Even before going to college, I thought I would become a photographer and designer—studying at two globally-acclaimed art colleges: RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) for Industrial Design and SAIC (School of the Art Institute of Chicago) for Photography. I hadn't even graduated high school yet.
But as I grew up and learned about the challenges of being a freelance photographer at such a young age, and move towards a career in something related but more lucrative. I went on to graduate from Boston University with a degree in Film & Television.
2. Worked in advertising
During my undergraduate career, I decided to feast my talents on graphic design and worked as a designer at multiple marketing agencies. I created hundreds of different online assets, just as Facebook Pages were being launched. I also created print graphics for large events, organizations, and concerts in the Boston area.
I lived in Sydney, Australia for nearly a year, working on marketing campaigns for food and beverage brands. And as I learned more about the inner workings of marketing and advertising, I became hooked on the power of well-designed and creative promotion of products. I moved to Los Angeles seeking work at a flashy ad agency, and I took my creative skills with me.
In Los Angeles, I became a video editor and worked my way up from editing TV Commercials to directing them. I worked with brands like Microsoft, AT&T, Whole Foods, and more. It was a thrilling time, but I wanted to work in an industry that was more altruistic. So after working in the industry for a handful of years, I attended the top school in the country for communication studies: The University of Southern California.
I graduated with a master's degree in Communication Management and worked briefly as a consultant for internal communication projects and published academic articles. But even with a graduate degree, I was missing the career fulfillment I once had with my past creative roles.
3. Pivoted into UX design
For a change of pace, I moved back to my hometown of San Francisco and looked for a new opportunity that would build on my past professional and creative experience. Design was a consistent theme throughout my career journey and I decided to double-down by doing a 12-week UX design bootcamp at General Assembly in SF. I worked on multiple design projects, tirelessly put in long hours, and honestly slept very little.
Something clicked during the bootcamp, because I cultivated a strong passion around all of my coursework during the bootcamp. Soonafter, I was hired as a Senior UX designer at Asurion. My visual design skills assisted me throughout my previous career in advertising and I now utilize it everyday in my UX work.
Graphic design was fun to craft when I was younger, but UX design is enthralling both in the challenges it presents and the altruism, empathy, and communication skills it asks of its designers. While I'm not behind a camera as much as I used to, I still continue to take photos and respect the visual arts background and career journey I've taken so far.
And not only that, I've worked with some fantastic artists, designers, and friends along the way.