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Perspectives on WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP—Diane Lindquist

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September 16, 2015
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In support of AIGA’s Women’s Leadership initiative, AIGA LA is embarking on a series of events, interviews, and discussions to celebrate the achievements of women in design, cultivate awareness of gender-related issues, and creating connections by facilitating relationships within and beyond the design industry.

This interview occurred in Fall, 2015, as AIGA LA prepared for it’s first Women in Leadership panel discussion.


 

 Diane Lindquist is Creative Director for Team Friday, a marketing agency that covers everything from campaigns, digital strategy, web and app development to creative design. Team Friday typically works with brands and social good organizations.

Do you work from an office, from home, or other?
We rent an office at City Labs Boyle Heights. It’s the first civic leaders workspace in Los Angeles for innovators, entrepreneurs, and creatives. We partnered up with LURN and Toledo Development, to propel this ​social impact ​​workspace into reality. Our aim is to accelerate local business growth by working together and within the community.

What is the company culture?
Team Friday is a small but mighty agency. Company culture is very important to us. We believe in cultivating everyone we collaborate with and ​embrace the unique opportunities for creating and building projects at every stage we meet our colleagues (our employees) and partners (our clients). We also encourage our colleagues to seek out and/or create side-programs. We believe it fuels creativity—theirs and our own. We all work from one big table. It allows us to keep communication open. We also invite our clients and colleagues to co-work so that we can learn from each other. These are just a few things Team Friday believes in.

Describe your family situation.
I am married to a filmmaker and professor. No kids (just two cats), but we do foresee having children in the future.

How does this status impact you in your career?
I am very fortunate​ that my husband is very supportive in my professional decisions​ and it helps that we​ are both very passionate in our professions. We both understand that all of this requires time and so we really respect and are cautious with each other’s workload. We make sure ​to share our schedules as much as possible and give ourselves ​enough time to spend with​ each other. This has been the most positive impact in each other’s ​personal and ​professional ​life​ because​ there is so much​ care and love​ for​ each other to respect our passions.

From your perspective, are your career goals or current opportunities at all impacted by your gender and/or family situation?
I believe that there are no limitation that I can’t overcome. I was raised in a humble environment. Everything that I have achieved I had to work for myself. It hasn’t been an easy path, but I have never seen any obstacles as insurmountable. If there was a gender obstacle, I fought against it. If there was a family situation I have overcome it.

Have you or anyone you know, ever experienced a disparity or career setback that you felt was based on gender or decisions centered on family situations?
Before getting married, I was working for a web hosting company. I asked for time and was given a few weeks off for my honeymoon. It seems that they couldn’t wait for my timeframe and found a replacement. Upon returning to work they told me they no longer needed me. That was the first time I encountered something like it. The company was mostly men and I didn’t file a complaint because I knew the opportunity wasn’t something I saw myself being part of for long. Though this was a minor disparity, most small to medium companies still have these standards. I don’t know​ if​ it’s so much a standard, but perhaps a need to meet clients’ deadlines. This is something that not only women but men encounter. We need time to live life’s moments combined with the understanding we’re capable of doing great work. I feel like the work suffers in an environment where work is the only thing being built and not the people doing the work.

What do you think are the most damaging cultural norms about women or issues that affect women in the creative industry?
We still see life-changing events as something that takes away from the work we do. I still hear and have witnessed women say they needed support when getting married or extra time off when they gave birth, but they didn’t request for more because they didn’t feel their environment would have supported it. This is not just a women’s issue, but an industry-wide issue. We are all, both men and women, required to give up more of our personal time to meet deadlines.

The change needs to occur not only in our perspectives but also the agencies and companies we work with. It’s crucial that we value everyone’s time and understand that if they are happy at home they will be both happy at work and more productive.

What do you feel are the biggest challenges to women’s careers when it comes to the creative industry?
The biggest challenge is overcoming our social norms and taking a stance. Whatever the challenge is we need to talk about it and we need everyone’s help​ to work on these challenges.

In your community, who stands out to you as a leader and advocate on the topics of equality and diversity? Why?
Unfortunately to be honest, I haven’t found a leader I can relate to that I feel really advocates on these topics. There are women leaders in the community for sure but I haven’t totally connected with their agendas. I look forward to rallying with other women designers on this important issue and act as my own advocate as a designer and as a woman of color.

How has your career or perspective as a professional working in a creative industry been impacted by working with women?
Right now, Team Friday consists of mostly women. It is great to be surrounded by amazing women who come together to make something happen. I find myself evermore impacted by each of my colleagues.

Who are you most excited to hear speak?
I am excited to hear all of the participants speak but I do have a special interest in Jes​s​ica Hische. She is a new mom and I would like to hear her perspective on how she balances her work and profession. Jessica has been an amazing advocate for women in the creative field. She’s definitely opened up to share her journey and I’m appreciative of that we could learn from someone else’s story.

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