Kendra has a variety of print, digital, and animation design experience prior to joining LEAD Marketing. She has worked with clients like Amway and Grand Valley State University over the course of her career. Kendra graduated magna cum laude from the GVSU Frederik Meijer Honors College, with a BFA in Studio Art, emphasis in graphic design. While studying design at GVSU, she was the only Studio Art major to receive the Excellence-in-a-Discipline Award. In addition to graphic design, Kendra has worked hard to develop her illustration, photography, and copywriting skills.
Where I’m from: Marne, MI
Where I went to school: Grand Valley State University
What I do: I craft solutions to real world problems to help clients achieve their goals. I turn thoughts into visual results.
Project: I really love branding and hand lettering, so a project that merges the two really gets me excited.
Client: My ideal client is just thorough enough in what they expect, but still open-minded to the solution I create for them. A client who is flexible and willing to tackle a branding problem that may arise during a project, rather than band-aid it with another brochure.
Quote: My favorite quote changes all the time so here are a few: “She designed a life she loved (Unknown)”, “Be fearless in pursuit of what sets your soul on fire (Jennifer Lee)”, and “Well-behaved women seldom make history (Laurel Thatcher Ulrich)”.
Pastime: How do I pick just one? It honestly depends on the season in Michigan. When it’s nice out, you’ll find me camping, boating on Lake Michigan, or hanging in a hammock in the woods. When the weather outside is frightful, I’m inside painting (typically last minute for a craft show I have next weekend), drawing, or watching This is Us with my mom. Somehow I squeeze in some time to run, swing dance, and cuddle my very needy Golden Retriever, Simon.
An Insight: Empathy is key. If you are able to have empathy for the end user on a project, you will address their actual needs, rather than just producing more “noise” in the marketplace.
Someone who has influenced my professional career: I would have to say my high school art teacher, Mary Lamson-Burke. Art never really seemed like a career option to me until my junior year of high school. Her guidance and encouragement led me to exploring art further in college and landing on graphic design. I had many teachers who would ignore my creativity and tell me to go into STEM, but Mrs. Burke proved art is a viable and necessary career choice.
An out-of-the-box solution: Any solution that utilizes user research first. The structure of the marketplace for a long time has been to create something that a company thinks will solve a person’s problem, without getting to know their customer. If you start with user research, you learn sometimes the problem you thought you would solve is not actually the problem at all! Big innovators like Apple pay attention to this kind of thing. Consumers didn’t know their life was missing an iPhone. Then Apple paid attention to their users’ problems and created a phone that called/texted/took photos/stored music/woke you up in the morning/kept you connected socially, etc. We obviously know what happened there.
Did you know…
When I was ten: I was awkwardly taller than my counterparts (I’m a 6’0” tall lady today), and I compounded the problem by occasionally walking on stilts for fun! All joking aside, at age ten I was convinced I would be a lawyer one minute, and a novelist the next. I was reading all things Harry Potter and watching all things High School Musical.
I aspire to: Never be bored. If I’ve become bored in this exciting industry, I’m doing something wrong!
I’m a LEADer because…
Skills: I think leadership isn’t necessarily about having the best or the most skills, but it’s about being willing to take time to better yourself for your team to move forward. For me, learning didn’t stop when I left the classroom. If there is a skill I need but don’t have, I will seek out a way to learn it.
Attitude: I believe a leader encourages their team and learns from them. It’s important to me to let everyone have a chance to communicate their thoughts. I try to be quick to listen and slow to speak, so everyone feels comfortable sharing their unique ideas, questions, and concerns. A team is stronger when they feel like their contributions are valued by their leader.