Steve Coomber and Courtney Verk came by to visit from Mosaic, an agency that specializes in helping brands connect with consumers. Mosaic is a leader in experiential marketing and retail services; in short, they help brands come to life. Steve and Courtney shared their experiences with different clients as well as practical tips and advice regarding how to handle tough situations in the workplace. They held an open Q&A that allowed us to probe into their professional life and ask the tough questions like “what is the creative process like at Mosaic?” and “what is Gillian Chubb‘s middle name?” (now I know that the answer is Sarah–just like my middle name). Most importantly, they shared the scoop on ~The Destiny Philosophy~, wolf moon pics and all.
…Yes, I said WOLF MOON pics. If that isn’t a strong enough hook, I don’t know what is.
After graduating from Sheridan College, both Steve and Courtney went on to do great things. Steve is the Art Director at Mosaic, and Courtney is the Content Creator, which is a cooler form of content writing. These guys really know how to make their presentations engaging and informative.
Courtney graduated from Seneca before coming to Sheridan. Her design portfolio is colourful, creative and consists of illustrative elements.
Steve’s portfolio consists of mobile and web designs as well as good ol’ fashion art and design for the sake of it.
Steve graduated from the University of Guelph with a BA in Fine Arts. I was surprised to learn that he wanted to become an animator for Pixar because I, too, wanted to be an animator when I was in high school. I’ll be honest, I still daydream about how that would’ve gone, and the spark to make animations hasn’t left me quite yet. Anyway, back to Steve. He previously worked at Y&R — no, not Young and the Restless, I meant Young and Rubican. He was involved in TV related projects, but then wanted to do more digital design so he left the company and worked for TAXI for a few years. He was recently hired at Mosaic and currently manages a team there.
Okay, so the introductions have been made. I bet you’re still wondering about The Destiny Philosophy. Well, here it is, wolf moon pics included! (Yay)
This essentially means you can create your own destiny. Don’t let fate or someone else direct your career path, take the reigns yourself! Here are some words of wisdom that Steve and Courtney shared with us:
NEVER TAKE SHOTGUN
Don’t sit back and let others dictate how you run your career. Figure out what you’re good at and DO IT WELL. Explore your options, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. I was surprised to learn that after graduating from a design-based program, Courtney realized that design wasn’t for her, but she was great at managing projects and later became a project manger at Mosaic. In this position, she jumped at opportunities for copywriting because it was her passion, and she never stopped until she landed her current position as a Content Creator. Likewise, Steve was passionate about automobiles and Flash animation. He highlighted these interests in his portfolio and landed amazing jobs, some of which he scored via peers. Connections really do make a difference.
FIND A MENTOR
Mentors know more than you and want to help. Your peers might even become your mentors. For example, Sean Patrick, VP of Digital and Creative Services in Mosaic, is Courtney’s mentor. He’s also my marketing professor, and he sure knows how to liven up a late night class. His energy is contagious; I enjoy listening to his lectures. Anyway, for some reason, during these guest speaker talks I keep hearing the phrase “the industry is small.” Shernaz said it last week, too. I had always thought the industry was huge. I guess it’s just interconnected. Bottom line is find a mentor, and you’ll see how interconnected the industry really is.
MAKE THE WORK WORK FOR YOU
This was the point that I connected with the most. Represent yourself in your work. If you have drawing skills, show it. If you have writing skills, write well! Don’t just half-ass assignments and barely get by. Treat each project as though it was one tailored to you. If you aren’t enjoying what you’re doing, make it enjoyable. Remember, your destiny is in your hands. *cue mystical wolf howling sounds in the distance*
One idea to make your portfolio stand out is to weave a theme through it. Courtney said her passion was in writing, so she showcased her writing skills in her portfolio. Steve did the same by showcasing his love for automobiles and Flash animation in his portfolio, turning his end-of-year site to focus on his passion.
Personally, this got me thinking what do I want to showcase in my work? I definitely want to highlight my love for illustration. I’ve got a lot of researching ahead of me since I want to work for a company that will let me do illustration and flash animation alongside web design projects.
Boston Pizza‘s website redesign by Steve and the TAXI team. Ordering revenue increased by 54% as a result of the new design.
Companies have character, so get to know them first. And when you do land a job, remember that not everyone follows the same career path. Some like to climb the corporate ladder, others like to test different waters before plunging in. There’s something for everyone. Find a work/life balance in the company you want to work for, but always do your research. When you’re in an interview, remember that you’re interviewing them, too. Ask questions about typical work days and schedules. You might find out that the workplace isn’t for you. Having a great portfolio might be nice and dandy, but companies are also hiring you for your character and personality. They want to know if you’re compatible, adaptable, and will work well with others. No one wants to work with a kill joy.
- Being adaptable gets you recognized
- Be someone you wanna work with
- Be available and active on social networking sites like Twitter. Follow companies you’re interested in; it could lead to job opportunities.
- Speak up, no one can read your mind
- Be social and have fun with everyone
- Set realistic goals and be practical
- Don’t be afraid to fail
- Get feedback and take it as a challenge
And, if it isn’t already clear, DON’T TAKE YOURSELF TOO SERIOUSLY.
Have a great week!