Our September community meeting focused on owning your strengths and navigating career transitions for emerging and experienced designers. Read more for a recap of the meeting and an overview of chapter events this September.
Part 1: Owning your strengths
Meredith College President Jo Allen headlined our chapter meeting with a talk about identifying and honing your strengths. She began her presentation with a personal story about her mother staying calm and confronting a stressful—and dangerous—situation. Through this story, Allen stressed that understanding your strengths doesn’t mean you always have a game plan; it’s about applying them to a variety of situations.
Allen went on to highlight four ways we can understand and improve these personal qualities:
- Know your strengths
- Study your strength
- Develop your strengths
- Celebrate your strengths
Allen said going through this process can help determine the difference between things you’re good at but drain you, and things you’re good at and thrill you. When feeling drained, she said to ask yourself, “What is right about me?” to find positivity and direction.
Lastly, Allen discussed four ways you can apply your strengths to everyday life.
- Focus on positives and strengths
- These strengths can be in and outside of work.
- Applying strengths in times of uncertainty (like Allen’s mother) can help you move forward.
- Work and reflect to enhance your best self
- Journaling is a great way to do this
- Redefine work/life balance
- Allen said it’s not about spending an equal amount of time at each, but spending more time doing things that thrill you.
- Accept the reality of being strong
- Know what you’re capable of and be ready to deploy those strengths at any time.
Part 2: Emerging Designer Speed Dating
For the last part of the meeting, we divided the room between emerging/student designers and experience designers (those with 3+ years of experience in the real world). Small groups of emerging designers met with experienced designers to ask their burning questions about professional life, like:
- What is your favorite and least favorite thing about the work you do?
- Do I need to learn how to code?
- How do you handle disagreements on design decisions with a client?
- How did you handle a career transition?
- What should I include in my portfolio?
And then….rotate! Emerging designers spoke with three groups of professionals for advice on all of these topics. Here’s some of their insights:
- Create a few different versions of your project to show your boss or client and explain their strengths.
- After lots of experience working with clients, you will learn the right questions to ask to avoid confusion and disagreements later on.
- Only put pieces in your portfolio that you’re proud of and that you know you can sell.
- Most of the time you don’t need to know code. You just need to be able to have a conversation with developers.
- Don’t take harsh feedback personally.
- When navigating career paths, find the thread of continuity taking you from one place to the next to help you feel less lost.
Part 3: Events
If you missed the meeting, check out other chapter and community events coming up:
Video & Animation Meetup
When: Sept 21, 6-8 p.m.
When: Sept. 23, 9-10:30
Where: Umstead Park Main Entrance, Sal’s Branch Trial
In-House Design series
When: Sept. 28, 6:30 p.m.
Where: RedHat Annex
When: Sept. 30, 9-11:30 a.m.
Where: Morning Times
FREE Creative Live course
A Brand Called You, taught by Debbie Millman
Free through the end of the September
Triangle Designers Slack Group
Join today to be part of a larger design community!
Freelance Happy Hour
When: Sept. 21, 5:30-7 p.m.
Kvetch & Collaborate
When: Oct. 1, 1-4 p.m.
Where: The Nest Raleigh
Triangle Push Cart
When: Sept. 16, 10 a.m. (race starts at noon)
Where: Dorothea Dix Park
Carlos Hernandez Screen Printing
When: Sept. 23, 3-5p.m.
Where: Supergraphic in Durham
Celebrating Brian Allen
When: Sept. 23 4-5:30p.m.
Where: Horse and Buggy Press in Durham