Emily's Expert Q+A

When did you first realize you wanted to be a graphic designer?
Actually, for me the opposite happened—I realized I didn’t want to be a graphic designer! Initially, I went to art school and naturally, since I like making money, I moved to the more commercial aspect of the art world—graphic design. But, after working about 5 years as a graphic designer, I realized that I wasn’t good at it and would never truly be a great designer. But, I still loved the profession. After asking everyone I knew for advice, what I uncovered was that I was really great at the business side of design. I was very lucky, as I was able to stay in a profession I adored while still leveraging my hands-on work experience and translated that to the business-side. It’s a win win all around!

What was your first job in the design field?
I can’t tell you—as it will show my age :) . Enough to say it involved a wax machine, rubylith and other archaic tools…

Do you have a pet project—a side business or a charity to which you donate time or services?
I have a daughter who is a senior in high school so my “side business” or “charity” is dealing with her stress about going to college! We are in the waiting game and that’s a challenge as well. Luckily, she is interested in marketing with a minor in design, so it’s something I care about.
Can you tell us a little more about your Conference topic? What personal or professional experiences led you to this topic?
I’m sort of ashamed to admit it, but I’m slightly obsessed with those reality shows, like Tabitha’s Salon Takeover on Bravo, where some expert reinvents struggling businesses. Despite the addicting camera-inspired drama, I find the challenges interesting and the solutions even more fascinating. The style of these shows also aligns with my own personal approach as a consultant which is to be very forthright with clients and help them solve complex problems based on my years of best-practice, real-world experience, and well nurtured instinct. I love the idea of translating this type of show for a conference presentation; bringing an actual client and providing a live, on-stage consultation. The opportunity to donate consulting services to a worthy non-profit is especially rewarding. And, in exchange, the audience will have a great behind-the-scenes look at a typical consultation and learn several operational and organizational strategies that they can bring back to their own teams.