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Senior Designer & Studio Animator - Public Sector

"My job is to understand key messages and communicate those visually. Creating visual elements is my trade, but my skill comes from understanding what the clients are trying to say. I get the most satisfaction out of my work when I know I am contributing to the health of the planet. Although I am now working in an innovation lab, I have spent time working in industry as well as volunteering and using my skills to support a couple of my favorite charities."

Salary Range:

$60,000 - $100,100

The Tip

Listening and paraphrasing were skills I didn’t get taught in school but have been critical to my success at work. Spend time figuring out how to improve your listening skills. And when you think you have mastered them, just wait—you will meet your next client who will show you otherwise.

Priority Knowledge & Skills
Systems Thinking

Knowledge & ability to:

  • Understand systems thinking

  • Analyze and map systems

  • Recognize trends, opportunities and underlying patterns


Human-Centered Design & Design Thinking

Knowledge & ability to:

  • Apply human-centered design principles to solve problems

  • Think laterally

  • Identify patterns

  • Work with third-party groups, such as think tanks, labs and accelerators

  • Synthesize key issues


Communication, Collaboration & Facilitation

Knowledge & ability to:

  • Use contextual knowledge

  • Communicate effectively in all formats

  • Design and facilitate collective impact initiatives

  • Cultivate new collaborations and partnerships across sectors

  • Use technology and specialized collaboration tools

  • Compelling presentation & report writing skills


Knowledge & ability to:

  • Be authentic, empathetic and ethical

  • Apply changemaking principles to create impact

  • Ask questions

  • Embrace challenges as opportunities to create systemic change

  • Demonstrate long-term social impact and sustainability

  • Break down silos and leverage relationships

  • Engage a changemaker mindset


Oversight & Knowledge Management

Knowledge & ability to:

  • Leverage stakeholder relationships

  • Develop and implement program schedules


Core Transferable Skills

Be an expert at all core transferable skills:

  • Thinking skills

  • Communications skills

  • Organizational skills

  • Interpersonal skills

  • Technical literacy

Building Block Experiences
Education & Learning:
  • Bachelor of Arts (Graphic Design)

  • Other people read romance novels; I voraciously consume new or evolving computer graphics and design trends


The projects I worked on during my degree really helped me to develop a professional portfolio, so I could showcase the design work I was capable of producing.

Employment Experiences:
  • My dad helped me get my first graphic design job when they had an unexpected vacancy at his work. It was a steep learning curve, but everyone was really great about communicating what they needed to express visually in their documents.

  • I was thrilled when I got my first job, without my parents’ help, as a junior designer in a graphic design firm, incorporating infographics into reports for a wide variety of clients

  • I was later promoted to designer, which meant I could meet with clients on my own. I took the initiative to learn how to create interactive charts and infographics. This eventually led to a supervisor position with another company.

  • Next, I made a lateral move to a graphic design firm where their clients were mostly social enterprises. I finally felt like I was contributing to a better world. I found it invigorating and energizing, and it showed in the creativity of my work. This helped me to be a better supervisor as I looked to understand what fueled my team’s creativity.


I enjoy the challenge of telling someone else’s story using visual tech. The more clients I work with, the more ways I realize there are to tell a story and highlight a point. The more stories I tell, the better I get at understanding what the key message needs to be to engage the reader and enhance the learning.


When I took the initiative to learn new software, it caught the interest of some co-workers, so I showed them what I had learned and that led to training other staff. It turns out I have some decent training skills. I made a deal with the company that I could keep us on the leading edge of tech if they gave me the resources I needed to learn. Then I taught our other staff, which benefitted the whole company.


Community Experiences:
  • When I was travelling and got caught in an earthquake, I became very familiar with humanitarian and disaster relief issues and I continue to provide support in those areas as my time permits


This experience really contributed to my growth as an individual and as a volunteer. I really don’t take things as much for granted as I used to.


Contextual Experiences:
  • In high school, I worked on the yearbook and a monthly newsletter

  • My mom volunteered with a board and she really disliked reading reports, but knew she needed the information. So, she shared the document with me and I illuminated the information. She liked it so much, she showed it to the board who later asked me to do this for all their reports.


Volunteering from a young age has made it feel like a natural way to spend some of my free time now.

  • I have a lot of artsy friends. When we hang out, we tend to gravitate to creative activities or physical outings. We like to feel like we have accomplished something.


I would not have felt successful at work without the help of my mentors. I really recommend finding someone at your job who can show you the ropes.

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