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News . Feature Stories . 5 Years Out: Josette Galiano


June 28, 2019

5 Years Out: Josette Galiano

What kinds of things can happen to an artist in half a decade? Grad school, new jobs, and earned wisdom, to name a few. Designer Josette Galiano is among five grads we checked in with to see what they’ve learned since 2014.

Portrait of Josette Galiano

Image courtesy Josette Galiano

What are you doing for a living these days and how do you feel about it?
Though my BFA is in industrial design, my passion lies in exploring behavior and designing immersive experiences. As a consumer insights analyst and workshop facilitator at the business innovation firm Nottingham Spirk, every day is a gift to collaborate with brilliant and inventive researchers, designers and engineers.

I recently graduated from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University with an MS in Positive Organizational Development and Change.

One year ago, I began Florette by Josette, creating fully custom, handmade works including paper florals, permanent installations, event decor, store front window design and hand lettered signage.

What’s been your biggest surprise since college?
I am most surprised in general by our relentless capacity to engage in creative expression—the unavoidable manifestation of creativity in daily life.

Since childhood, I wanted to be an artist. I took a circuitous path to CIA. I began my undergraduate journey at Case Western Reserve University, studying cognitive science and chemistry.

I loved my first year at Case—however, there was something missing. My subconscious efforts to suppress my need for artistic engagement had inevitably surfaced. I told myself (and the dean) that I would spend one brief year at CIA, to get it out of my system, before returning to Case.

After my first day in foundation drawing class, I never felt more aligned with who I was and where I was supposed to be—I could not imagine spending the next four years anywhere else but CIA.

I adored my time at CIA, particularly foundation year—and the gift of this experience continues to give as I understand its value more with each passing day. I am fascinated by the inextricable nature of the practical and the creative, the realistic and the idyllic. I now realize that I can live—and effectively thrive—within this not-so-paradoxical reality. The artist can learn from the researcher and the researcher can learn from the artist.

What’s been your most satisfying professional accomplishment since college?
The past five years in general have been my most satisfying professional accomplishment. It has been challenging and transformative, exhausting and enlightening, and I am determined to ensure the next five years are as personally, professionally, artistically and academically fulfilling.

Since my time at CIA, I have continuously pushed myself to embrace new experiences that broaden and diversify my capabilities. I pride myself on an eclectic and intentional exploration—taking every chance to be uncomfortable, to be in over my head, and to grow and evolve. I want to know the limits of my potential and challenge them.

While at CIA, I cultivated my educational experience to hone skills as a researcher—engaged in reoccurring internships at a design research firm, taking multiple independent studies on design theory and management at Weatherhead, and leading a two-year study of visitor experience in partnership with The Cleveland Museum of Art.

Upon graduating CIA, I was offered a Research Fellowship at Herman Miller. It was all I had ever wanted.

So alternately (and to the shock and confusion of my family, friends and ID professors), after a brief and serendipitous encounter at the Cleveland Clinic Empathy & Innovation Summit, I chose to move to Tennessee and work as the design lead for a health-care strategy startup as employee number five.

Working for this startup challenged me in every possible capacity—from designing my role and leading qualitative research efforts to managing client relationships and translating Industrial Design principles to healthcare services and systems in an effort to enhance patient experience for hospitals and health systems. Simultaneously, I developed a thought leadership organization focused on infusing design thinking into healthcare marketing and strategy—I developed the engagement structure, generated interactive content and materials, designed and lead reoccurring workshops and training programs, served as the editor and creative director for a publication on human-centered healthcare design, and presented at a health-care marketing conference on the value of service design. In my spare time in the South, I learned to rock climb, peddled antiques and drove a pick up.

From there, I went on to consult independently for a design research firm, conducting ethnographic research in pockets across the US, I developed a cultural engagement program for a fine arts start up, and two years ago, began a full time master’s program shortly before taking on a full time role at Nottingham Spirk and formalizing my creative outlet through an LLC.

When I take a moment to reflect on the past five years, I am proud of my ability to dig deep within myself to work as hard as I possibly can, to confront any apprehension with gratitude and grace, and to enjoy myself in the process.

If you could travel back in time, what would you want to tell your younger self?
Calm down. You have time. Drink less coffee. Go to sleep. My current self has difficulty grappling with these concepts.

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