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“I never planned to go to grad school, yet fate firmly decided otherwise.”

I never planned to go to grad school, yet fate firmly decided otherwise.

Prior to attending the Brandcenter, I was working at a social media firm in Richmond, previously known as Create Digital. The Directory of Strategy at the firm was Andrew LeVasseur, an adjunct professor at the VCU Brandcenter (now the chair of the Experience Design track at the VCU Brandcenter). One of my coworkers at the firm was a VCU Brandcenter Creative Technology alum. At home, my next door neighbor was a second year Copywriter at the VCU Brandcenter, with a window decal on his car that I parked behind everyday. All signs pointed me to the Brandcenter.

I had never experienced the feeling of inspiration and rightness as I did sitting in an info session for the program. The decision was not only intrinsically made for me, but undeniably the best I have ever gifted to myself.

My goal in enrolling in the Brandcenter was to switch departments, head to more strategic and conceptually driven work; I wanted to become “the idea person.” I ended up finding a role I didn’t know existed: creating digital experiences that change people’s behaviors and everyday lives. I now design Mobile Apps, that are launched into the hands of thousands… an industry that barely existed before I went to school, and definitely not on a consulting companies level.

Cue a mere two years and two jobs after graduating, I have jumped two departments over and four positions up to the Director of Experience Design at Intrepid Pursuits about 3-5 years ahead of personal trajectory. It was a unplanned opportunity driven by our CEO and CMO. Everyday I am challenged and grateful. I feel I have found my true place, surrounded by passionate and brilliant talent who motivate me to achieve more. Without the Brandcenter instilling the sense of “winging it confidently” and “strategically tackling the unknown,” I highly doubt I would be where I am and with the preparedness I draw upon.

As the unofficial Brandcenter motto goes: If you’re afraid to fail, you will never come close to winning.-Christine Pizzo, Director of Experience Design at Intrepid Pursuits, Freelance UX Consultant and Mobile UI Designer, Brandcenter creative technology track, class of 2014