March Designer Spotlight: Jess Pollis

Jess serves as the Education Director for AIGA Pittsburgh and works as a Graphic Designer for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and Jess Pollis Creative, LLC. Growing up with a passion for drawing, she later discovered the joy of photography during her teenage years. She became the family photographer and enjoyed creating creative gifts for friends and family. Despite feeling uncertain about her career path in high school, Jess explored the Graphic Design program at Butler County Community College, where she found her calling.

After graduating from BC3, Jess pursued her Bachelor’s degree at Youngstown State University. She faced new challenges but received encouragement from professors like Rich Helfrich. Rich provided Jess with the feedback and encouragement she needed to create a professional portfolio and resume. 10 years later she still reaches out to Rich to collaborate on projects. She encourages you to find a mentor and is looking forward to being one herself.

Jess worked numerous internships to build her portfolio and attended AIGA Pittsburgh events for networking throughout college. Following graduation, she applied to hundreds (no exaggeration) of Graphic Design jobs. Jess began her career in the corporate world, working at Zoom Media, Jefferson Hospital, First National Bank, and Berkshire Hathaway.

Working in a corporate setting presented challenges, such as being perceived solely as a designer and struggling to have her voice heard in brand strategy discussions. Being a woman with an introverted personality added an extra layer of daily challenges. Despite the ups and downs of the creative industry, Jess emphasizes the importance of enjoying the journey and adapting goals, as her initial plan to become a creative director evolved into finding joy and fulfillment in assisting small business clients with brand development.

Jess’s advice to fellow creatives and students is to connect with others in the industry. Though it can be a social challenge for some, it is rewarding to connect with other artists and visionaries. She finds great value in attending a variety of events such as entrepreneur meetups, Women in Business presentations, and AIA (Pittsburgh Chapter of the American Institute of Architects) events. You never know who you will meet!

She left her comfort zone taking on the role as the AIGA Education Director but quickly realized how rewarding the position would be. There is never a shortage of opportunities in Pittsburgh when it comes to art and networking, keep your mind open and never stop learning! As the Education Director for AIGA, Jess is enthusiastic about assisting students on their creative journeys.