Below are excerpts from her visit:
“I don’t think I ever really thought I was talented, I always thought it’s just something I really like to do, so I wasn’t a really confident kid. In my family when I grew up - it might be different from yours - women didn’t really work, and my mother didn’t work, and my father didn’t expect me to work, so there wasn’t really a conversation about what are you going to do to make money, it was more ‘oh - she likes to draw.’ There wasn’t a lot of attention put to, what can you do with that, what can you do with that passion.
When I was in high school, I didn’t have the easiest upbringing, I went to a new school every year and sometimes I felt like I didn’t fit in. One of the things I started to do was run. I first started running around our driveway, and I drove the car around, and I figured out it was a 10th of a mile, so I’d run it 10 times to run a mile, and we didn’t have Nikes or anything like that back then, we just had Converse. I really liked it, and it made me feel better. So when Evy met me, I was a runner.
I dabbled in art, and then when I went to college with Evy, I was starting to think, OK, what can I do, and funny enough I thought I would become a teacher. When we were growing up, you didn’t get exposed to any other professions other than doctors, teachers, the person who cleans your teeth, and a nurse. They never had career days or anybody come to talk to you about what you might do when you grow up, how to earn money. Then I went to college, and I didn’t really think art was a thing you could do unless you were Picasso. So, I got a French Lit degree. I wasn’t a super great student. I have to say I barely passed. We had to do an oral exam and a written exam, and I could read and write really well, but the teachers almost had to cheat to get me to graduate.
I realized I had to work and earn a living and get a career going, so I decided to go to design school. And I didn’t really even know what design was, I just knew it was art that you do in an office. I went to CCA, it was called CCAC, California College of Arts and Crafts. When I went there, it was like I’d finally met my people. I met people that thought like I did. When I was there, Nike called, and companies will call all the graduates of a school when they’re recruiting, and so Nike called me, and I thought, OMG, it’s design and running. Wow, I can really get behind sports and running. And I moved to Portland, and I never looked back.
I started as a Designer 1, the very bottom there, and I just kept focusing on the work and loving the work. I started in graphic design - which is kind of what you’re doing here, which is 2-dimensional work - there were no computers then - there was no web - so we were making books and printed materials and catalogs. And then as the web started up, I started working in that, and I started doing buildings and exhibits and things like that. After about 8 years there, I got the opportunity to start a company with some people, and I was in charge of everything visual. So I did that for a couple years, but when I was there, I missed Nike because I missed the global reach of Nike, how big it was, and how big the projects were, and a small budget at Nike was a gigantic budget at other companies, so you get to do a lot of really big projects. So I went back there. I’ve been in product design, footwear apparel, equipment, I’ve done retail, all the t-shirts, you know 2000 t-shirts a year, and I lead really large teams of people. And one of my big passions is creating an atmosphere where everyone can do their best work and encourage people become their best selves at work.”