By Devin Thomas
It all started on a brisk Florida winter day, the sun was shining, the birds chirping, it was 43 degrees. I wormed my way to my desk keeping my warm blanket armor safely around me like the plot Armour of a Game of Thrones Character. Flicking open the browser on my laptop to check my email and make sure everything was set for class I realized something. This was the day we had to choose what our role was going to be for out Agency project. I knew what I wanted to be but I wasn’t sure how confident I was about choosing it.
None-the-less I make my appearance web-cam ready and logged into class. After much discussions and the role I wanted taken first….. I decided to pick up Creative Director (DC) only because it was a director position. I knew I didn’t want to have a lowly designer position (no offense designers we’ve all been there) I wanted to be a director! I had verge knowledge of what a Creative Director was and figured it was all the things that I need to work on the most.
Being a CD is like being a dungeon master in a D&D campaign. Everyone’s on the same adventure but you never know when one of them is gonna do something completely unexpected. Planning everything down to a T, and then someone roles a nat 20 and now we’re improving why the bard has crush on the dragon…
Let me break that down in easier, less roleplay terms. You’re the one at the top, the final say, the head honcho. But you have schedules to make, meetings to plan, clients to keep happy, and LOTS of public speaking roles. You’re a mediator with your team, a designer, and you learn to multi-task like an octopus (I’m not sure if they multi-task… was going for the arms thing). Some of these things I could do but I would need to work at others. Being
a Turbulent Logician, INTP-T on the 16 Personalities quiz makes some of the CD process easy. But the extroverted part like leading a team, organizing roles and meetings, pitching a proposal were all kryptonite to me! All of this worked against the technical, logic driven part of me and I wasn’t the empathetic leader that I needed to become.
Once I got past the first week, a few one on ones, and some shaky team meetings I started to see what it took to fill a CD’s shoes. I knew be organized and have a plan was the plan. Armed with a wall of white boards, dry erase markers (and the cool color expansion ones) I got started. Everyone had a color, a space, a time, and what they needed to do. Calendars were made, reminders were set, coffee was made AND spilled! I was finally breaking free
from my laissez faire thought process on when things should be done.
I was exited for being a team lead and moving everyone to victory! This project would be an awesome portfolio piece but something else was lurking in the shadows… Proposals and public speaking, confidence, and planning, my nemesis. Being nervous was an understatement for the proposal and it showed… I felt defeated after that meeting. That I let my team down and knew I would have to do better as the leader to make sure we (me) were prepared.
We’re a few weeks in and I have learned that patience can pay off but it’s also something that can sink you. Leading a team has taught me the importance of due dates, response times, and staying on track. Leading a project like this can enhance my portfolio and allows me as a student to work in an agency setting. This way we are more versed with the departments and are familiar with proposals, expectations, team structures, and accountability.
Exiting this project I want to keep the same organizational and time structure that I have learned. Exploring and building more of a leadership mentality with improving empathy in regards to teammates. Leading my team has taught me that with hard work you can accomplish anything. I hope to have a finished work that my whole team can use in their portfolio which will help them secure a industry position.
Devin Thomas is a student in Jeff Janelle’s Spring 2021 Advanced Web Page Design course. As the volunteer Creative Director of the course’s group project, this reflection details Devin’s first few weeks working on the project.