“You’ve never laid out a magazine before … why should we hire you?” That is one question I remember from my interview with Serendipity 15 years ago. My response: “I may not have the exact experience you’re looking for, but I have the drive to learn.”

My experience before coming to Serendipity was at an ad agency on the east side of the state, where I worked in the graphics department for two years. I was lucky enough to get a part-time job right out of college through one of my friends, and my main role was assembling presentation materials for client pitches along with printing materials needed for a variety of campaigns. The opportunity to design was limited to smaller projects here and there: logos, flyers, brochures and promotional material for our company’s holiday events.

Towards the end of my second year at the agency, I went on FMLA to take care of my dad who was battling cancer and living with my sister and brother-in-law near Grand Rapids. We had lost our mom nine years before and being able to have that time to drive to appointments, pick which stock to invest in (he once invested in FRED b/c well, that was his name, so why not!), hear childhood stories and have the laughs and eye rolls that only dads who are stubborn with a dry sense of humor can offer was priceless! After my dad passed away, my husband and I decided that it was time to take a leap; once again, we were reminded that life is short, and you don’t have to wait for it to happen. We both quit our jobs and made plans to move.

Before we headed this way, I came across a job for Art Director at a small publishing company. I didn’t have a ton of experience, let alone layout experience, but I figured “why not” (common theme). 😉 I was contacted for an interview and drove over to meet the team. I remember saying to myself that if I got it, awesome, but if I didn’t, that was okay too. We were doing all of this on a whim and whatever was going to work out, would. That thought process helped calm my usual ‘first interview’ nerves and I sat there as I was asked the question I remember above. They called a half hour after I left, and I immediately thought I must have forgotten something! I hadn’t even made it out of Grand Rapids and pulled over into a hotel parking lot to take the call when I realized I was being offered the position!

Being able to take the time I did to help my dad and have conversations we would have never thought to have if time wasn’t limited, are periods that I will never forget and will forever be grateful for. My dad was one of the most creative people I knew, and this position was one that I was so excited for. It was something that was going to push me beyond my comfort zone, introduce me to so many new friends, allow me to grow and find my niche and above all else, it allowed me to showcase my talent … a talent that came from him.