Charged Chats are a series of interviews featuring inspiring voices from the pros. What motivates them, what inspires them, and what can we take away from their stories to charge ourselves up.
I am a passionate brand and digital designer. I love designing pretty things and then testing them over and over again to understand what makes people move. I believe that a modern paradox is that it’s simpler to create complex interfaces because it’s so complex to simplify them. When I’m not working on a computer, I love the outdoors and have an affinity towards all frozen sports (skating, skiing, snowshoeing), and hanging with my canine bestie.
Tell us about your career path. How did you get to where you are now?
I have a truly mixed media career path. I originally went to school to be a Journalist in 2001. I always had a love for storytelling and photography, and Journalism was the perfect fit to combine those interests. At this time, we were still doing darkroom photography, and the first digital camera literally took a floppy disk. After Journalism, I went onto obtain a BA in Communications at Laurentian before entering the work world. I started off as a Communications Officer with the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines writing press releases and speeches. However, the drive for storytelling pulled me back to the Journalism side and I began freelancing for nature magazines and The Sudbury Star. That eventually landed me a full-time gig with the Star, just not in writing. All they had at the time was a design job, and I thought a foot in the door was better than no foot at all. I did not realize at the time, this would be my pivot into the wonderful world of design. I loved it! It was a totally different type of storytelling. It had content, photos, visuals—all of it. However, I could see the tides changing. Print was moving online and I changed gears again. After 2 years with the paper, I went back to school for Web Design, finding a new medium to tell stories on. Today, I am the Creative Director and Partner at Fuel Media where I get to tell amazing stories every day. The stories of people, the stories of brands, and I embrace whatever medium is coming next.
Describe your current role?
In my current role as Creative Director at Fuel Media, I oversee the design department and creative direction for a wide variety of marketing, design, and online projects. Every day, we help businesses perfect their brand and deliver their message. A primary focus of our business right now lies in UI/UX and creating websites that extend well beyond the bounds of a traditional marketing site, and function as rooted business tools for our customers.
How do you stay motivated when you’re going through a rough patch?
For me, continuous education is key. I simply accepted a long time ago that I don’t have all the answers, and that’s awesome. That motivates me to learn more and keeps my thirst for new information. There are experts out there, and people who have solved similar problems. I love seeking out those answers. I also understand that there is no success without a little failure. You need to try things and some of them won’t work, but that should be a drive to try again.
Do you have any words of wisdom for anyone looking to follow in a similar career path?
I think a lot of young people will follow similar career paths to me. I entered the work world during a major media shift, which made me versatile. The reality is that we don’t know what the jobs of the future will look like. My advice is to stay adaptable and be excited about change. If you are willing to learn new skills and take on challenges where you don’t have a training manual, you will do great. The world needs innovative thinkers that are ready to take on what’s next.
Best piece of advice you’ve received?
The best piece of advice I have received is to simply:
“Figure it out.”
Someone else does not always have the answer for you. Sometimes what you need is way outside of your skillset, and sometimes what you’re looking for doesn’t even exist (yet…hint, opportunity!). These three little words have expanded my knowledge base time and time again over the years because not knowing the answer is not a barrier to finding it.