Ellen Wong, Executive Creative Director at RED Interactive Agency*, gives us a behind-the-scenes look at her career as a female designer and leader. Hear about how she got her start designing rave flyers, the struggle to find work-life balance, finding her voice and being taken seriously as a female designer, and the best way to initiate and sustain relationships in your career.
*Since we recorded, Ellen has moved on to an exciting new venture of her own. Listen for the update at the end of the episode!
Heads up: LA Interns and students! Come wrap up the summer with a talk + hang, hosted by our friends at RPA. Whether you're headed back to school, transitioning to a full-time role, or looking for your next job, we'll talk about how to handle what's next. RSVP here.
- How she found her design voice through rave flyers, and leaning into things you love to fill your portfolio.
- The struggle to find work-life balance, and the extra weight she puts on herself as a female designer.
- Creating things that people want to engage with at RED Interactive, what kept her at the agency for 7+ years, and examples of the social media work its doing for its clients.
- Figuring out how to find her voice and how to be taken seriously, and helping to build people’s confidence to speak up.
- Starting a women’s group at RED Interactive, celebrating small wins, and building community in your workplace.
- The best way to initiate and sustain relationships in your career, including looking outside yourself.
- What goes into putting an internship program together, what the agency looks for in its interns, and the value interns bring.
“...Clear the room and allow a lot of the female members to speak up in a way that makes them not feel like they have to fight or break in really aggressively. Everyone has such valuable things to offer and contribute that sometimes I think you just need that confidence, and you need somebody to rally for you.”
“Keep it positive. I think it’s really easy for some of these groups to go into a downward spiral of turning it into a bitchfest. And that’s the exact opposite of what we wanted to do. It should feel uplifting, it should feel encouraging, and it should feel like a safe space for everyone to support each other.”
“Ask to sit near people that you feel like you’re going to be able to learn from. If you ask your office manager or your CDs, ‘ I feel like I really could benefit from sitting next to Jenny over there.’ The proximity thing is just so beneficial. That’s something [my partner and I] recognized, it’s because we were able to sit close to each other and actually see each other work and learn from each other side by side—that actually made us grow even faster.”
Keep in Touch
I’ve found joy in the challenge of creating and problem-solving in the digital space for over 16 years, collaborating with some brilliant thought-leaders across brands like LEGO, Adidas, FOX, Warner Brothers, Roku, BET, Netflix, OWN and Disney. While I was an ECD at RED, I was responsible for providing the creative vision on select accounts, focusing on new business opportunities, as well as managing the creative discipline. When not racing from meetings or obsessing over a pitch deck, you can find me planning my next solo road trip adventure or exploring my DTLA Arts District stomping grounds.
Currently, I’m co-creating a brand called Daughters that seeks to inspire women everywhere to thrive and persevere through shared empathy, support and self-care. We’re going to be curating a collection of self-care products inspired by the stories, rituals, cultures and advice of real women everywhere. We believe self-care is a conduit to discovering your truest self and living a fulfilled life.