What made you want to pursue a career in sustainability communications? Briefly tell us about the journey that brought you to thinkPARALLAX.
When I first started more than a decade ago, “purpose” or “sustainability” were not common terms yet, but designing with meaning was a value that thinkPARALLAX already had in its DNA. This naturally aligned with my own values. We were open to designing for local organizations, non-profits, and even trimming our rates if we believed in a cause. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been here as long as I have, but what keeps me here is the ability to apply my passion for visual communication to impactful work with clients who are determined to make a positive change.
What is your role at thinkPARALLAX and which clients do you work with? Describe a typical day.
As Design Director, I lead a team of creatives bent on making a positive difference through their design. Some of the clients I currently work with include International Paper, Fossil Group, Boar’s Head, Qualcomm, and Southwest Airlines, among others. On a typical day, I collaborate with my team, brainstorm solutions on the fly, aim for inspired creative direction, challenge the usual, mentor, and sit in the design seat. Between all that, I try to stay hydrated, eat on time, and remember to blink.
What is the most difficult part about your job and in communicating sustainability overall?
Designing quality content on a project with many moving parts is not easy. While we’re working to meet a deadline, I confront these challenges by keeping the bigger vision for the project in mind. On a more micro level, I try to push for “real” footage of people and places to produce authentic and inclusive design. This adds richness to a design and communication strategy. Plus, it’s the exciting part of the content we create.
What is the most exciting part about your job and why?
I love creative collaboration and problem solving with my team — we’re a collection of creatives with diverse experience, so it’s always exciting to see what we come up with. Also, I call the design team “the magicians” because under challenging circumstances we deliver quality work. No day at thinkPARALLAX is ever the same. We can design for any format from print to web, shooting photos or illustrating, to making museum experiences. These different challenges keep it exciting.
Which company do you most admire for their sustainability/social impact work and why?
There are great companies that my colleagues will spotlight next, but I want to emphasize the importance of startups, small, or local businesses who make a big difference by being sustainable from the beginning. For example, GOODONYA is a local, B-corp certified San Diego restaurant that prioritizes sourcing from local farms and suppliers to minimize their carbon footprint and support the local economy. They make everything in-house as much as possible, focus on healthy options, and pay attention to their waste outputs. Sounds like many places you hear about nowadays, but if every city set a sustainability standard for every business to use local and sustainable products, the impact would be significant.
Which sustainable development goal are you most passionate about and why?
Quality education (SDG 4) - because a good education opens opportunities for any demographic. I volunteer with AIGA San Diego LINK, an organization designed to help mentor kids from under-represented areas and expand their creative skill sets.
Reduced inequalities (SDG 10) - It’s vital to narrow disparities of opportunity, income, and power, because what makes us unique also represents our strengths. I believe that everyone’s uniqueness should be held with equal regard.
There are so many good ones, I had to mention at least two!
What do you like to do when you’re not amplifying impact? (e.g. hobbies, personal passions, etc.)
I love to see local art/artists, watch a live band, walk around the zoo, volunteer, and collaborate on creative ideas with friends.
How do you personally champion sustainability in your everyday life?
I try to take the train to work, carpool or walk when I can, I’ve switched to a hybrid car, I use my consumer power by buying products that are B-Corp or have great sustainable practices, supply chain ethics, or use smarter packaging when possible.