Today’s guest was Kyla Paolucci, artist, graphic designer, coder and entrepreneur whose clients include World Wrestling Entertainment, Seventeen Magazine and now, Home Box Office (HBO). The Life Skills host for today’s class was Travis Barbour.
The continuous theme running through Kyla’s story today was ‘change’.
“I was an athlete in high school. Sports were my total focus. I was always in the weight room getting stronger and continually working out to refine my skills. My favorite sport was soccer followed by track. While I always enjoyed art, it was never a consideration for a career until I overheard a friend of mine saying she wanted to study advertising in college. Advertising….hmmmm….. Something instantly clicked.
I got curious.
That tiny bit of information made me focus on what I was really interested in. I quickly realized that art and design, things I was good at and enjoyed doing, could be an ideal job and an attainable goal. I decided to attend a pre-college art program that helped students figure out if they really wanted to pursue an art and design career. I found out I did. When I came back to high school for my senior year, I still kept running but it was not the priority it once was. I had changed and my goals shifted. I applied to RISD (Rhode Island School of Design). I was focused, ahead to my future, on a career in the arts and forming a new personal identity. My brand was no longer ‘the jock’ but now ‘the creative’. And I felt good about it.“
Kyla spoke about her personal network.
“My personal network has been very important in my life.
My mentor is a tough boss from my first job. He continues to guide me today in my career choices and connects me with his network for job opportunities. And my mother remains a constant. She earned my trust, she’s always there, and, as a result, I continually bounce ideas and pass critical issues by her before I make a final decision.
I’ve made some tough decisions about who is in my network.
I realized there were some people I was with, having a good time, who were jeopardizing my dreams. So, I made changes. It wasn’t easy to stop hanging around with them but I knew it was the right decision.”
Kyla explained she continues on her career journey.
“Stay relevant! Force yourself out of your comfort zone to try new things. The world is constantly changing and your career is often affected by these changes.
I was trained as a designer for print. But, today, more and more design opportunities are digital; print is not as popular. So, I taught myself how to use new and different software that aided in production for apps rather than the old and familiar print techniques. As a result, I’m getting more and new job opportunities; I design for social media and online communications.”
The class ended with a Life Skills networking opportunity as students exchanged their business cards for Kyla’s and adding new people to their network.