Speaker: Miranda Urbanski
March 28, 2014
Miranda Urbanski from Bell Mobility was our guest speaker today.
Miranda is Manager, Web Marketing Communications with Bell Mobility.
Miranda has a fine arts background. She has an MFA from Waterloo and, with a Sotheby’s Art Scholarship, completed a Master of Art Business in the UK. Between her master’s degrees Miranda completed the new media design program here at Sheridan in 2007. When Miranda was ready to enter the workforce she was advised to emphasize her web design credentials.
Miranda shared some insights she has learned in her career so far:
- There is more than one way to get where you are going
- A career path is more like a jungle gym than a ladder
- Always have a Plan B
- Nurture your network
- Learning is lifelong (creativity favors the interested mind)
- Pay it forward
- If you are not learning in your job or it cannot advance your career then it is not the job for you.
Thank you Miranda for returning to Sheridan to share your experiences with us. It was interesting to me on a personal level as my educational background is also in fine arts. I hope you continue to find time for your art. That is what I hope for myself also.
LinkedIn: Miranda Urbanski
Speakers: Alexander Younger
March 21, 2014
Today we were lucky to have Alexander Younger, Founder of Design Lab, talk to us about his company and give us us pointers for a successful job search. Design Lab, founded in 1992, is a Toronto web design and marketing agency and calls some of Canada’s biggest companies their clients, including RBC, Loblaws and The Beer Store. They also represent the brand of my favourite interior designer, Sarah Richardson, who is also Alexander’s wife.
Alexander stressed the importance of the culture of a company: attitudes, goals, practices and values that contribute to the overall character and community. He stressed how important it is for us as prospective employees to research a company’s culture. Design Labs is committed to helping their employees grow their careers and they recognize the importance of a work/life balance. It is also a green company, all their technology is run off solar power.
Next, Alexander talked about the process, comparing two of the most prominent methodologies, Waterfall vs. Agile. Waterfall is a very linear approach with distinct steps. It is favoured by clients because there is a clear timeframe and price structure. The Waterfall method works well if the requirements don’t change during development. The Agile method is delivered in stages. Each stage is tested and the overall requirements can be revisited at the end of each stage. Clients are wary of this process because it is difficult to price and to specify delivery date. Design Lab likes to combine the two methodologies, starting with Waterfall and moving to Agile at the design stage.
Alexander had some pointers for our job search. He said the Sheridan program is held in high esteem by employers which is a real confidence booster. It is important to get to know the people in our program and to stay in touch after graduation, they are important contacts for our future. This won’t be a problem as they are a great group of people.
Alexander’s job search tips:
Do your research
- go through the company website
- jot down points and thoughts
- talk to peers about the agencies you are interested in
- short and sweet
- give a reason for them to hire you (hint on how you know the company)
- good resume (can include what you do outside of work)
Prepare your portfolio
- make it nice and simple
- showcase your skills and experiences
- list the goals you had for each project
- links to Facebook and linkedIn
- ask questions
- be polite
- interview them as much as they interview you
Ask lots of questions
- what is my role
- describe an average day
- what opportunities do you offer
- describe your culture
- ask to meet the team
After the interview
- write thank you letters
- write down questions for next interview
- most importantly Never Settle
Thank you Alexander for a very interesting and informative talk especially the job search tips.
LinkedIn: Alexander Younger
Company: Design Lab
I take the Weather Network for granted, I’m glad it’s there and find it very helpful (especially this winter), so when given the opportunity to visit I wasn’t sure what to expect. I never imagined such a fascinating, diverse and complex place.
First we had a presentation hosted by John Gallant, V.P. Design and User Experience.
John explained that the Weather Network’s twenty five years of success can be attributed to their culture which is built on clearly defined values:
- Open direct communications
- Strong leadership
- Promotion from within
- Encouragement and support of employees to grow their careers.
The Weather Network is operated by Pelmorex Media Inc. Pelmorex also operates Météo Media, Canada’s only French weather network. Internationally they operate in the UK and Spain. Pelmorex recently acquired Beat the Traffic which provides real time traffic info for your location.
The Weather Network operates on many platforms: web, apps, smart TV, TV and sponsorship. Each platform has to to be tested for user experience: research, usability, heuristic evaluation and experience mapping. And then you have consumer integration. Testing is done throughout the design process and across all platforms. The scope of the operation is amazing.
After the presentation we were treated to lunch and had the opportunity to speak to people in the Design department, some of them graduates from our program.
Finally, we were taken on a tour which was great fun. We visited the green room, watched Fatima do a weather forecast in front of the green screen and visited the Beat the Traffic studio and talked with one of the presenters.
Thank you John Gallant for an eye-opening presentation, Stacey Litrenta for a great tour, and all the designers who took time to talk to us. Thank you for lunch and gifts, always appreciated by students.
LinkedIn: John Gallant