Podcasting Pzazz: Your Career with Jane Jackson Eps 168

It was an absolute pleasure sharing my business journey with Jane Jackson of janejacksoncoach.com. We speak of my work history from working in the US and in Australia, both agency and client side.

I explain how we use tool to gather a deep understanding of our clients goals, strategies

and requirements to ensure the greatest success for any business implementation.

For your convenience I have added a transcription of the video audio below. You can find more about this video at https://janejacksoncoach.com/bernard-kassab/. Jane also makes reference to the following in the video:

  1. 3 Secrets to Personal Branding for Career Success is a FREE Masterclass that takes you through the essential elements to build your powerful personal brand. www.janejacksoncoach.com/3secrets

  2. The Job Search Guide helps you, as a job seeker, to avoid the 7 deadly mistakes that job seekers make. www.thecareersacademy.online/freejobsearchguide


[Music] Welcome to Jane Jackson careers a podcast that takes your career to the next level. Here's your host Jane Jackson author of Amazon careers bestseller Navigating Career Crossroads.

Well hello and I hope you're having a great week, now before we hear what my talented new guest has to share about what it takes to get into graphic design and ultimately running your own successful graphic design business. I have some exciting career resources for you and I'd love to share them with you.

The first one is to help you attract the career opportunities and job promotions that you deserve you must build a powerful personal brand so that the opportunities come to you rather than you chasing after them, and so I have a free masterclass called the three secrets to personal branding for career success. It's only 40 minutes long and covers the most valuable insights for your personal brand those top three secrets so if you want to attend you can register for free at www.janejacksoncoach.com/3secrets and that's the number three, okay.

You can register for my free masterclass the three secrets to personal branding the career success and so you can learn how to attract those job opportunities and the job promotions that you deserve.

Secondly if you're really looking for your dream job and you're just not going anywhere I've created a job search guide for you so that you can avoid the seven typical mistakes that job seekers often make when they launch their job search campaign and so in order to download my free job search guide it's actually in my online membership site the careers Academy. You can download it if you go to www.thecareersacademy.online/freejobsearchguide.

I'll also have the links in my show notes for you at https://janejacksoncoach.com/bernard-kassab/ so it's easy to find okay let's get on with the show welcome back to my Careers Podcast where I interview fascinating professionals who have made amazing career changes.

Now today I have with me Bernard Kassab who has been working in the brand and design industry for over 10 years. He's worked in a multitude of business environments including corporate agency and running his own business Designer.iam. With this diverse range of experience he identifies obstacles within a business leverages design-led thinking and creates solid strategies to facilitate change or growth for a business across print, digital and social channels.

So whether you're a business just launching all your businesses become stagnant and need to hit the ground running, Bernard and his team that Designer.iam can help identify new opportunities to position yourself to connect with the right customer.

Solid processes tools and structures ensure many successful brand executions with outcomes always surprising client expectations.

Now I met Bernard at a LinkedIn Local networking event and I was really impressed with everything that he does so I wanted to podcast interview him for quite a while and I finally got him so welcome to the show Bernard.

Thank you for coming on the show let's find out about your career journey because you've had a really interesting creative career journey, so to kick us off how about you tell us a little bit about what your career aspirations were when you're a little boy.

In short it all kind of started in primary school and I found myself drawing a lot. I would spend hours and hours and hours every single day just drawing on my own at home, my family would call me to dinner and I would keep drawing.

From that it led me towards looking for career path in animation. That was something that I really wanted to do and back then it was still hand-drawn animation. It was something that I wanted to experience and when it came to year 10 and I had the opportunity to do work experience, I went and found a job with an animation studio here in Sydney.

When I was there I found that it wasn't exactly what I expected, the way that the atmosphere and the culture in this animation studio wasn't exactly what I was looking for. I found myself a little bit more commercially minded, a little bit more business centric and I wanted to know how how businesses work. I wanted to find a career pathway that allowed me to take advantage of my creativity, my artistic skills and my business skills.

After doing some research I found Billy Blue College of Design and I researched graphic design. That's what started the whole pathway down the graphic design journey.

Hmm...now Billy Blue was a wonderful place to get into really cut your teeth into graphic design. As you may know, I have to share with you many, many years ago, about a hundred years ago I also study design but I was no good at it. After two years I realized I needed to make a career change, however you obviously did really well because you've had a truly solid career history in graphic design. So when you graduated from Billy Blue, after toying with animation side of things for a while, tell us how your career started and and how difficult is it in Sydney to start out as a graphic designer?

Oh that is that is a good question.


I started my initial stages or initial learning in graphic design after I took a year off between my second year and third year of college. I found an internship for an engineering firm where I worked underneath an art director within a commercial comms team. It was basically himself and myself but he was pretty much set my foundations in all the skills that I use every single day. My design role really accelerated my design capabilities.

From there after going to a very very creative college, I felt the need to go into an agency. To this day I look back and I say, "Well that was that might have actually been one of the most productive moves in my career moves back then."

I moved to a small agency and the type of work and the way that the agency had been built it wasn't really structured for any kind of progression. I kind of found myself stuck. I stayed there for about 18 months and I needed to then progress.

I then started traveling. I traveled to the US and from there I found a opportunity to actually work in the US. That's when I started working for PostNet as a Senior Graphic Designer.

That would have been a fun time because I can see here on your LinkedIn profile you're at Steamboat Springs in Colorado.

Yeah, it was quite a lot of fun but because it's a small town, that was a real culture shock for me. 12,000 people live in the town, they don't even lock their doors there. It just blew my mind. People would just knock, then walk into the house. But being so close to the ski fields and being right in the middle of the peak season it was fantastic, you know. Hit the mountains every other weekend when I could, then drive back to Denver every other weekend and spend time with family and friends.

The work culture out there is is nowhere near as positive and as enhancing as working in the work culture here. The culture here, especially as an employee, there's so many more businesses that are looking to progress people, to teach, to invest in their staff, their employees, their teams.

Over there, there's almost this culture of everybody is replaceable and that was very distressing for me because well, I've got all these bills all of a sudden, I'm in a whole new country, I've got to support myself, I can't all of a sudden be out of a job.

That actually was kind of the factor that culminated to me not wanting to continue that adventure. I started applying for jobs in New York, in Colorado and in Sydney. I said, "Whatever pulls off this is where I'm gonna end up." About a month after that I get an opportunity interview with a publishing house here in Syndey.

I interview with them, two weeks later they give me a call and tell me I got a job, three days later I hopped onto a plane. I landed here, three days after that I did my orientation and a week after that I started working. It was great just to be able to come back and land a position like that which was a lead production position for a publishing house called BT publishing. I was producing two magazines for them a travel magazine and events magazine.

So you've gone from animation to graphic design to production as well, so you were really learning everything in the business weren't you?

Yeah, I kind of found myself getting bored in a role if I was there for too long and if it wasn't challenging enough or if it wasn't continually asking me to progress and add value, create new systems and create new efficiencies, then I would I would run out of things to do.

My first agency roll out of college, when I started working in them within the eight or 12 to 16 months that I worked with them, I was able to clear out all their residual briefs that they had lying around the office. By the time I had left, there was one brief left on the shelf and it was only there because I didn't want to do it.

Tell me Bernard, what's your favorite part of being a designer? Well what is it that you really, really enjoy doing the most?

I think the definite thing that I enjoy the most is working through obstacles. So a business owner comes to you and they're so lost. Either they've either they've been super successful within their business and they've achieved a lot but they kind of hit a plateau or there's a lot of change in their business and they don't know how to take advantage of it.

They may just be kick off and they need somebody to set them on the right path and just help them take advantage, leverage as much of their knowledge and experience and be able to communicate that effectively.

Being able to work through those little obstacles for a business and understand the value that they bring, understand how to communicate that effectively, understand completely new industries every day, every week, learning so much more. That's what is really exciting about my industry.

From that you get to basically turn somebody's dream into a tangible communication or visualize art or a creative piece that represents that business. Then you see that business become successful and that's the real kicker.

So it's not just the graphic design it's actually helping businesses to grow, that's a strong focus for you isn't it?

Yeah. All the way though my college experience I was always very commercially minded and all the projects I did I tried to focus as much on "How would this work in the real world?' Like if this was a real client there would be budgets, there would be an ROI that would need to be proven. You can't just walk out there and say I create 'cool' things. Businesses want to invest in something that brings an ROI, a return to the business. You know there's got to be some business acumen to a project that you create and that's definitely what I like to bring out through the work that we do. We're not just there to create cool things we create things that help you connect effectively with your customers and that helps you grow your business.

Yeah, you know what's interesting is looking through your career history before you actually start Designeri.am, your own business, as a senior designer and then you are a lead UX designer as well as working on client development, so there was a lot of relationship building as well as the creative side.

Yeah! Definitely. I don't know what it is about connecting with people but it's something that just engages me and inspires me. I love just understanding and drilling into all the little nuts and bolts of how a business works. That also has driven us towards starting a software and app development business to provide better efficiencies and communications within the operation side of a business.

It's not just about how your brand looks to your customers but if you promises something to your customers that becomes the expectation that you've set up. If you say we provide a quality product and we create a quality design for you to communicate that. Then on the back-end you can't actually facilitate that service or provide that product, well that just deteriorates the whole brand and all it does is create a really recognizable brand that doesn't fulfill it's promises.

That's right, you know it's interesting, I'm just looking at your career journey. You're working for other organizations for quite a number of years and then in Colorado and then back in Sydney again. And then you founded your business so what was it that prompted you to transition into entrepreneurship and start your own business Designeri.am?

I did have the business actually on the side for quite a long time, about 10 or 11 years. In the last four years I transitioned 100% into my business and it was really all about that client interaction.

When you work for an agency, you get so disconnected from what the actual objectives are of that business. You're literally turning around pretty work. "Now here's the brief, this is what the client needs, I need a nice brochure. Create the brochure." I'm like cool, I can create a brochure.

Oh, that's no trouble but then you end up getting all these disconnects where you're continually revising, revising, revising and that misunderstanding is that you don't actually understand what the goal of that business. You've just been briefed in from an account manager or something like that, to create a brochure.

So that's a really key part of my business too. All my people within my team have direct communications with the client, we have briefing documentation, we have our Brand Tool that we use which helps us really get a deep dive into those businesses, what they want to achieve, what their objectives are.

Then the team gets direct contact with that client so they're able to actually drill a little bit deeper to have a solid understanding what that business is trying to achieve. Instead of just creating for creators sake, you know. We