Perspectives on WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP—Chris Do

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.

Chris Do is the Founder, Chief Strategist, and CEO of Blind. Known for design and production of commercials, music videos, and broadcast promos for advertising agencies, artists, and tv networks, Blind has added branding and strategic thinking, and operates as a business design consultancy. Chris is also Design Director and Cofounder of The Skool, and sits on the Board of Directors for SPJA.

Do you work from an office, from home or other?

A Santa Monica Office. Our culture is vibrant, fun and a little weird. We love to work hard and play harder. We often have strange dress up days (twin day/ pajama day/ formal Friday), picnic at the park, host ping pong tournaments, encourage others to tell stories through film and produce videos and short narratives.

Please describe your family situation (married, single, kids, no kids, etc.)

Married with 2 kids.

How does your current status from the previous question impact you in your career?

My wife has been the single biggest supporter of my career and enabled me to succeed. She is also a designer, but has since retired to raise our children. I would not be where I’m at today if it weren’t for her support, encouragement and love. My 2 boys have made me a better person. I’ve learned to look at the world differently, hold myself to a hire standard and think about the impact I’m making on the world and their lives. I’m constantly striving to blur the lines between work and life.

From your perspective as a man or woman, are your career goals or current opportunities at all impacted by your gender and or family situation?

Initially, I would say no. Aside from having a need/desire to provide for my wife and family, my career goals have been to learn and grow. But now, as my kids are a little older, I’ve started to think about the time I have left with them before they go to college, get married and have their own lives. This has made me rethink the decisions that I’m making at work, so that I can spend more time with them. It’s also made me realize how precious time is. There’s a finite amount and I need to be more careful about how I spend 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?

Yes. I think women have a hard time being accepted in leadership roles in industries that are dominated by men (visual effects and post production). They have to work twice as hard and get half the credit of their male counterparts. In general, some of my clients are female, have confided in me that they are generally not treated with the respect.

What do you think are the most damaging cultural norms about women or issues that affect women in the creative industry? What do you think the creative industry has to gain if these things change?

Having a plurality of interests, abilities and points of view is important to any society or creative endeavor. By keeping women out of leadership roles we are eliminating half of the ideas that will never come to fruition because of artificial barriers.

What do you feel are the biggest challenges to women’s careers when it comes to the creative industry?

The big barrier that I see is in the more technical fields of design (coding, visual effects, etc…). There tends to be fewer women interested in these types of jobs, but that’s probably more a stereotype than reality.

How has your career or perspective as a professional working in a creative industry been impacted by working with women?

At different stages of our company, we have had moments where every employee was female except for me. We don’t take gender into consideration for roles. We look at competency, artistic ability and personality.
Published September 14, 2015
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