Angela Bains

I am absolutely thrilled to share my conversation with Angela Bains with you this week. Along with being the co-founder and strategy director of international branding agency TransformExp, Angela is also a design educator at two prestigious Canadian colleges — OCAD University in Toronto and BCIT in Vancouver. Wait until you hear her story!

We took a trip down memory lane as Angela talked about growing up in the 1970s in London, being exposed to graphic design and typography as a young woman, and starting her own design studio in the 1980s along the advent of the personal computer. Her story continues with emigrating to Canada in the 1990s, starting over and networking as a designer in a new country, and keeping the spark for design alive for then next generation of designers through teaching and decolonizing old design traditions. Angela is truly a design icon!

Kevin Bethune

Design can change your life in unexpected ways, and Kevin Bethune is a testament to that. He is the founder and chief creative officer of dreams • design + life, a think tank that delivers design and innovation services using a human-centered approach. (It sounds lofty, but with over 20 years of experience in mechanical engineering, product creation, strategy, and industrial design, Kevin is a true master of his craft.)

We started off talking about how business has shifted over the past year as he’s transitioned further into the entrepreneurial life, and he shared a bit about his process when diving into new projects. Kevin also talked about his prior stints at Westinghouse and Nike, and how those experiences informed his later work for some of the nation’s top consulting firms. Design has truly helped transform Kevin’s life, and it can do the same for you too!

Steven Christian

Steven Christian’s motto is “create and conquer”, and that’s exactly what he’s managed to do with his career. While he started out as an athlete, a sports injury cause him to discover visual art, and he has reinvented himself as a multitalented cartoonist, podcaster, animator, and AR mobile developer. Oh, and he’s studying to apply to medical school. Talk about Black excellence!

Steven shared with me how he balances all of this, and talked about how the current times helped kickstart his career. We also talked about some of his projects — including the popular Pokémon Twerk Team — and he reminisced on growing up in northern California and detailed how his injury helped open his eyes to the worlds of art, design, and tech. Steven also talked about his Skillshare courses, listed some of his inspirations, and spoke about his dream collab and the hope of building more of a community around his work. Steven is a prime example of turning what could be seen as a tragedy into an amazing triumph!

Nichelle Pace

It’s the start of a new year, and I think we could probably all use something to make us feel more resilient and motivated. Well lucky for you, I’ve got just the thing — our conversation with the dynamic and talented Nichelle Pace. As the president and founder of Brand Enchanting Media, Nichelle brings over 20 years of experience to the table to help her clients with a variety of creative services.

After a brief 2020 recap, Nichelle talked about her process for working with clients, and we spoke about why she started the consultancy and how the market has changed as culture changes. She also spoke on growing up in New Jersey, as well as her previous careers in film and video production and advertising. We even talked about her popular blog Stylemom and how Black bloggers from the early 2000s grew into some of the cultural trendsetters we know today. Kick off the year with some great inspiring talk from Nichelle!

Kristy Tillman

I’m closing out this unprecedented year by talking with the one and only Kristy Tillman. Longtime listeners of the show may remember her first appearance back in 2015, but since then, Kristy has become one of the leading design voices in our community. As for what’s next for Kristy? Well, let’s just say that tomorrow looks bright.

Kristy shared how her year has went so far, including departing from Slack, becoming an investor through indie.vc and The Designer Fund, and creating the Made in the Future Fellowship, a program for helping underrepresented emerging design professionals. Kristy also spoke on what success looks like for her now at this stage in her career, talked about making time for joy, and dove into the hard-won lessons she’s learned this year. If there’s one thing to take from Kristy’s journey and her career, it’s the knowledge that there are many opportunities available to grow your design career if you stay patient and chart your course.

Quite a fitting way to end off 2020, right?