My roots are a bit tangled so this is the quick, unraveled version — I was born in New Jersey and I lived in Hawaii for a couple years before moving to Florida where I’ve lived since 1994. Although I’m not a native Floridian, I often identify myself as one and in true Floridian style, unapologetic about it!
I grew up around two people who have a passion for art and design. Amongst many other artistic skills, my mother is an extremely accomplished oil painter. My sister matriculated from the Fashion program at Parson’s School of Design and was/is an amazing illustrator. Even with both of these talented people around me, ironically, I did not know I wanted to be in design until much later.
I graduated from Florida State University in 2003. After a brief stint in New York City and a couple years of doing insurance-related work in Florida, I realized quickly that I was not doing what I was meant to. In 2007, I decided it was time for a new career path, which led me to think hard about what I naturally gravitated towards. Design had always been something I’d been interested in and in 2010, I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design.
Towards the end of my time in design school, I was nervously getting ready to present my student portfolio to a panel of judges. One of those judges happened to be a well-known Creative Director/Designer working at one of the top ad agencies in Tampa Bay. That night, I worked up the nerve to thank him for ripping my portfolio apart and gracefully inserted a “You wouldn’t happen to need an intern, would ya?” salutation.
Long story short, I landed the internship, got hired on full-time and got to learn and work alongside some of the best talent and some of the brightest minds. After 2 years of working and learning under some very brilliant people, I took a job with a couple friends working for a hotel marketing company in Clearwater, FL. For the next 5 years, our small team shipped hundreds of websites, launched several applications for hoteliers, and had an unbelievable amount of fun along the way.
I got into this industry because I wanted to work in a space where I was excited to go to work everyday, passionate about solving the problems before me, and where nurturing relationships could lead to personal and professional growth. To this day, those core values have not changed.