My name is Shirley.
I began my career in design while attending Academy of Art University back in 2009. I threw myself in the real world starting with internships when I was around 17, then worked at startups full-time as well as a consulted for other well-known companies at a fairly early age. To sum it up, I had a pretty early start in my design career and I loved every moment. What intrigued me the most to put me back into working with start up mentality companies, is that everyone is incredibly motivated and passionate about what they do.
I've been told by many that I'm an old soul. Essentially, designing has become my life and it's who I am. I'm able to create awareness, change perception of people, educate, and do so much more through design. As much as I love leading talented, hard-working people, being able to be a part of the process of creating nothing into something, is absolutely amazing.
Why I Became a Designer
Back when I was around 13–14, I remember sitting on my grandparent's bed in China and watching TV. I saw this soda commercial and it was a really bad commercial and that's when I said, "I could do better than this!" When I told my grandpa (may he rest in peace), he encouraged me to pursue a form of communication. I come from a traditional Chinese family so my other family members didn't support my decision, while my grandpa encouraged me to become a designer. I worked incredibly hard to make him proud so I could graduate in 4 years in a 6 year program to show him my diploma. When he unexpectedly passed in 2010, work and school became the easiest things to focus on and act as an escape route. Eventually, I found out that right before he passed away, he told my father that he knew I could do it after he was shown some of my design work and my brother's graduation photos. After that, I knew I wanted to do something meaningful with my skill set.
I believe everything that happens is a learning opportunity and experience.