Designity is a company that wears many hats. Sure, we house the top 3% of creatives and very experienced creative directors as the face of our brand, but what about what happens behind the scenes? The real businessy side of being a successful design company?
Today, we are thrilled to introduce you to our VP, People, Joy Banfield. She’ll take us behind the curtain and share what it takes to not only get your dream job at Designity, but also how to thrive in your role.
Joy is not just a successful executive, but also an avid motorcycle enthusiast, proud corgi parent, and a talented seamstress. She has a unique blend of interests and passions, which contributes to her killer work and makes her a true inspiration to us all.
Let's dive into Joy's world!
Q. Explain your professional journey. What lead you to Designity?
A. I started fresh out of college and landed a job as an executive search consultant which, if you know anything about talent acquisition, is essentially a sales role. So it’s really about selling your services to potential clients and then selling clients to candidates, then selling candidates back to clients.
It was an interesting cycle. I ran a full desk there for several years until I made the intentional decision to shift from an external executive search firm to an internal position.
Q. What is your educational background?
A. My education background is in industrial and organizational psychology. I wanted to leave the firm because I wanted to use that to go beyond just recruiting, but I knew my skill set was in recruiting and so that's where I would probably be, you know, hirable.
Q. How did you move on past your first job?
A. I was hired into a company as a recruiter and then I just started raising my hand for everything.
I offered to participate in any HR project that came up, whether it was a compensation project or a shift differential project or a scheduling project.
I just said yes to everything I could, and by participating in those types of things, I ended up landing an HR business partner role where I supported a large organization of about 1500 production level workers.
So, I did that for a period of time and then I wanted to grow in my leadership and go to a smaller company, so I ended up working for an entrepreneur as their first HR hire.
I grew that department from 0 to 5 by the time I left, and the focus there was still heavily on talent acquisition and hiring, but also all of the other HR things that needed to be done to support the team.
After that, I landed what I would call my dream job with a company that was just in a really good position, founder owned and led, and I was their first HR hire, too.
I built out that department as well, and ended up with several people working under me by the time I left there.
Q. Do you prefer working remotely over being in-office?
A. So, if the company is a hundred percent remote, then I would say yes, I definitely prefer remote.
If it was a hybrid company, I wouldn’t enjoy it because I have massive fomo– like, massive. If I knew there were people in the office doing stuff together, I would have to be there.
Q. What is the biggest challenge about remote work for you?
A. I think for my position, especially because I’m in people operations and that includes employee engagement and employee satisfaction and those types of things, I don't see the inner workings of what's going on in somebody's life.
I don't always have the same visibility into when someone may need help, intervention, or when someone is really struggling. That's one of the things that a people-person or someone who is working directly with their colleagues can see and hear.
And because it's remote, I have to be very intentional to find those things out. I think that's probably the biggest challenge.
Q. You're in charge of hiring and recruiting and making sure that people are happy here. What would you say is your number one tip for people who are applying for Designity?
A. For potential candidates, it's going to depend on the role. If you're applying for the creative community, I would say to make sure you have a solid portfolio with an eclectic group of strong pieces so that when we are reviewing those, it helps you stand out.
Keep in mind that we are very, very careful in how we vet members of the creative community, so your portfolio is going to matter a lot more than your resume.
For the in-house positions, I think it's all about telling your story and letting your personality shine through. We do a variety of video interviews that we use to get to know people. Our application process is very unconventional, so never worry about keywords in a resume.
Because we don't do that here– I don't even look at resumes, honestly– it's more about sharing your experience, mindset, skillset, and your goals for your own future.
Q. What do we look for in potential candidates when it comes to fitting into our culture?
A. If I were to look at just personality traits and rate what's important? Honestly, I would say having no ego is probably number one. We're a culture of feedback and we're all about sharing and being very open and transparent.
People are always getting feedback from their clients, right? Everyone on the creative side always has to listen to clients pick apart their work, and they have to take it and fix it and adapt from it, not fight against it or take that feedback personally.
Q. How would this apply to the in-house team?
A. It just needs to be part of our DNA. The willingness to set our ego aside, listen, collaborate, and work together instead of trying to stand out, and you know, be someone who's got a really big ego.
Adaptability is really critical. We're in startup mode, so most roles on the in-house team have to bob and weave. You may think you're totally focused on one thing one week, and the next week, things change and you need to go spend time somewhere else because that is what the business needs.
So there's a lot of pivoting, that's critical, and you can't get so intricately involved in one specific project that you have trouble moving or shifting priorities.
Q. What is one trait that everyone at Designity, regardless of position, should nurture?
A. Being willing to learn and sharing your knowledge with the rest of the team. So, while none of us ever has as much time as we’d like to devote to learning, we try to get in those little tidbits and little gems when we can find them.
I think it is really important to have this ability, and the drive to stay up-to-date in your field.
It’s vital for us to know what's going on in the world because we're a forward-thinking company. We're trying to make sure that we are always ahead of the game. You have to constantly look to the future and be willing to adapt and accept new things, even if they might be uncomfortable.
Q. What are the top roles that we're hiring for right now?
A. Right now, I would say it’s our sales division. We're so small, it's hard to say a specific department or division, but our sales roles because we're growing so fast. Honestly, with where we are in the economy right now, and where our business model sits, our service is positioned particularly well.
With all of the upheaval and with people getting laid off and companies doing cutbacks or pausing on hiring, a lot of companies are looking at their bottom line, and payroll costs are a huge part of that.
So they want to lower payroll costs, which means reducing their teams. Some of the first teams to go are marketing and design teams, but that work still needs to get done somehow. We have positioned ourselves to be that place.
We are growing but the market is retracting. This is exactly why we need to bring in great salespeople. Great salespeople who can think futuristically about both the transactional and the relational side of sales and move us forward in closing clients.
Q. Let’s pivot back to the design side: What are the top three things that you look for when vetting potential Creative Directors?
A. Okay, so the first thing we like to see when vetting potential Creative Directors is a clear portfolio that shows the breadth of their work, because this is a senior position. They really need to be able to present a variety of experience because our clients are so varied and have different needs.
An important thing to remember is that this role goes beyond just the creative side, so they need to show interest in going beyond just the design aspect of the role.
I know I said this before, but another important thing would be ego. This is crucial because CD’s often have to listen and take hard feedback from clients. They have to listen to what the client wants instead of what the CD thinks the client should want. That can be really hard for some people.
Another thing that I immediately pick up on is someone who is only interested in doing design itself. So, people who start talking about how much they really love the creative work right away, I know immediately that they wouldn't be happy in our roles.
If you want to do creative 80% of the time, you'd never be happy here as a Creative Director.
Q. What would you say are the most important qualities for potential Creative Directors to have?
A. It goes back to the ability to lead remotely. I think this is important because you have to be able to put many pieces of the puzzle together.
So really, for our Creative Directors, project management is a very big piece of the role. You have to be willing to do some of the more administrative, leadership, and project management pieces to move projects forward in the most efficient way.
A Creative Director should be great at communication and their presentation skills need to be up to par because they are the primary point of contact for the client. It's about listening to the client and sharing that feedback with your creatives, building upon those, then taking the creative work back to the clients, and so on and so forth.
The last piece honestly, is the ability to work remotely in a collaborative environment, and not everybody is as comfortable with that as you may think. We have to use a lot of collaborative tools. We have to be much more intentional because design is not an individual job. It's a collection of ideas that come together.
So proven positive experience of working from home is helpful, too.
Q. Last question. What is a fun fact about you? (You know how much we love our fun facts.)
A. My fun fact, I would say are my very eclectic tastes. So the three things that I enjoy most are my corgis, quilting, and riding my motorcycle. I have two corgis, who I am wildly obsessed with, love my dogs, they're definitely part of the family. One sleeps on my pillow at night and steals it from me most nights.
I have a 10 ft sewing machine taking up my entire basement that I use for quilting and have actually volunteered time to finish quilts for a nonprofit group called Quilts of Valor that gives quilts to veterans.
And then I've got an amazing little Honda rebel (a motorcycle) that I just picked up last year as part of my midlife adventure plan.
It's a dream of mine to travel across country someday on a motorcycle trip with my husband as soon as our kids get older and leave the house.
<div class="c-blog_comp-cta cc-component-2"><div class="c-blog_comp-cta-left"><div class="c-blog_comp-cta-left-wrap"><img src="https://global-uploads.webflow.com/61cdf3c5e0b8155f19e0105b/63695243d096983691046ac3_Potential-Creative.png" loading="lazy" alt="" class="c-blog_comp-cta-left-img"></div></div><div class="c-blog_comp-cta-right cc-dark"><div class="c-blog_comp-content"><div class="c-text-wrapper cc-mb-32"><div class="c-title-4 cc-bold"><strong>Like to work as a freelancer with consistent income?</strong></div></div><div class="c-text-wrapper"><div class="c-text-2">Designity's collaborative model is designed to give you all of the perks of being a freelancer without the income instability.<br></div></div></div><div class="c-blog_comp-wrapper"><a href="http://designity.com/creatives" target="_blank" class="c-button w-button"><strong>Join Our Creative Community</strong></a></div></div></div>
More than just an executive.
So, there you have it, a glimpse into the world of Joy. A successful executive, motorcycle enthusiast, corgi parent, and philanthropist all rolled into one.
If you’re trying to land a role at Designity, visit our Careers page to see if we have an opening in your specific field. Side note: we suggest you take her expert advice.
We hope you enjoyed this interview as much as we did, and don't forget to follow Joy on her next big adventure.
Until next time, keep those engines revving and needles sewing!