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RuNT. You Do What? Recap

Written By Hannah Risser-Sperry | Jul 30, 2019

#RuNTPortland comes but thrice a year, and we like to make ‘em count. This time around, we examined the jobs (and job titles) that make some people stop and ask “wait… what do you do?” Whether you’re a newbie looking for a job or an industry insider, job titles are strange. Some of them perfectly encapsulate the duties therein. Some of them, not so much.

In search of answers, we found three speakers: an Experience Strategist, a Creative Producer, and a Creative Strategist. Here’s what we learned.

Leah Noble Davidson, Experience Strategist and Researcher

Leah was an English major when she first got into design; she created a grocery-list-generating application with her software architect boyfriend and his graphic designer brother – they were in charge of the code and graphics; she took on the usability design. She went from strategy to design to research; now she incorporates all three into her company, Because Human.

Her talk started off with a slide demonstrating the exact reason for this RuNT topic: “so and so said they couldn’t explain what you did, but that I needed you…” [[insert the slide?]]

Yeah, we’ve heard that one before.

She ran through all the titles she could hold, if she wanted to. After all, her work covers a lot of ground and a lot of overlapping disciplines. But ultimately, she’s more interested in knowing “who you want to help, what’s expected of you, and how you fit into a larger goal” than she is in having an easy-to-define role.

Tomás Valladares, Creative Producer

Tomás went from film school to a Masters in Arts Management to gallery work. All that training in the arts influenced his work as a Producer; he’s responsible for everything from budgets to setting up shots to logistics to snacks.

Ultimately, he’s responsible for enabling his fellow creatives to make the thing they need to make. Do they need a desert in December (in notoriously rainy Oregon)? He’ll find it. And more than that, he’s a collaborator in charge of executing a vision. That means finding the right person for each job (and managing the final team), identifying problems before they arise, and dealing with the inevitable things that go wrong.

His least favorite bit? Being the time police. But someone’s gotta be the bad guy.

Charley Zheng, Creative Strategist

Strategist? More like therapist. Charley helps brands figure out who they are. She helps them identify how they show up in the world, and what their unique value to others may be.

Her definition of strategy is “the practice of solving problems thoughtfully and with intention.” This means understanding any number of things before setting out on research, brainstorms, or any other duties: she has to understand her client’s business, its competitive environment, and of course the target audience’s wants and needs. Plus she’s keeping up to date on culture, technologies, behaviors, and any number of other influences impacting the business landscape.

But she also says that the greatest thing about strategy is that anyone can think strategically. Every single one of us can identify a challenge and think through how to approach it. No matter how specific or broad it may be, everyone can approach a problem with a strategic mindset.

In addition to our wonderful speakers, we’re always grateful for our incredible sponsors:
Swift, for the beautiful gathering space
Buoy, for the beers
Adelsheim, for the wine

Thanks to all of you for coming out. To those who missed it, we hope to see you next time.

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