Member Spotlight
Chelsea Conrad

​Tell​ ​us​ ​a​ ​little​ ​bit​ ​about​ ​your​ ​role​ ​at​ ​Causeway​ ​and​ ​your​ ​​1TABLE​ ​Event.

I​ ​am​ ​the​ ​Director​ ​of​ ​Creative​ ​Engagement​ ​at​ ​​Causeway​,​ ​so​ ​my​ ​role​ ​is​ ​to..​ ​find​ ​creative​ ​ways​ ​to​ ​engage people.​ ​I​ ​do​ ​that​ ​through​ ​traditional​ ​graphic​ ​design​ ​and​ ​communications,​ ​but​ ​also​ ​through​ ​some human-centered​ ​design​ ​practices.

1TABLE​​ ​is​ ​our​ ​annual​ ​city-wide​ ​Thanksgiving​ ​potluck​ ​in​ ​the​ ​middle​ ​of​ ​Martin​ ​Luther​ ​King​ ​Boulevard.​ ​We started​ ​it​ ​in​ ​2014,​ ​taking​ ​note​ ​of​ ​the​ ​disparity​ ​between​ ​the​ ​people​ ​who​ ​hung​ ​out​ ​in​ ​Miller​ ​Park,​ ​and​ ​the people​ ​who​ ​hung​ ​out​ ​in​ ​Miller​ ​Plaza​ ​on​ ​the​ ​other​ ​side​ ​of​ ​the​ ​street.​ ​We​ ​decided​ ​to​ ​invite​ ​both​ ​groups,​ ​and the​ ​broader​ ​communities​ ​that​ ​they​ ​represent,​ ​to​ ​share​ ​a​ ​meal.​ ​It’s​ ​grown​ ​a​ ​ton.​ ​The​ ​first​ ​year​ ​we​ ​had​ ​700 people​ ​show​ ​up,​ ​and​ last year 1,500 people joined us.​ ​It​ ​was​ ​covered​ ​in​ ​the​ ​​Washington​ ​Post​,​ ​and​ ​three​ ​other​ ​cities​ ​replicated it.

I​ ​love​ ​1TABLE​ ​because​ ​it​ ​is​ ​the​ ​only​ ​place​ ​that​ ​you​ ​see​ ​everyone​ ​from​ ​CEOs​ ​to​ ​the​ ​homeless,​ ​high school​ ​students​ ​to​ ​retirees,​ ​suburban​ ​moms​ ​to​ ​hipster​ ​artists,​ ​all​ ​sitting​ ​down​ ​and​ ​sharing​ ​a​ ​meal​ ​as equals,​ ​if​ ​only​ ​for​ ​a​ ​moment.

What​ ​has​ ​been​ ​your​ ​biggest​ ​challenge​ ​of​ 2017.​ ​Did​ ​you​ ​conquer​ ​it?​ ​Or​ ​still​ ​working​ ​on​ ​it?

We​ ​opened​ ​​Bingo’s​ ​Market​,​ ​which​ ​is​ ​a​ ​collaboration​ ​between​ ​Causeway,​ ​The​ ​Enterprise Center,​ ​The​ ​YMCA,​ ​and​ ​Patten​ ​Towers.​ ​​You​ ​can​ ​read​ ​more​ ​about​ ​the​ ​motivation​ ​behind​ ​that​ ​project​ ​here. Part​ ​of​ ​my​ ​job​ ​was​ ​to​ ​appeal​ ​to​ ​two​ ​very​ ​different​ ​audiences:​ ​People​ ​who​ ​live​ ​in​ ​Patten​ ​Towers,​ ​with​ ​an average​ ​age​ ​of​ ​about​ ​55,​ ​who​ ​live​ ​below​ ​the​ ​poverty​ ​line,​ ​and​ ​have​ ​a​ ​mental​ ​or​ ​physical​ ​disability.​ ​And people​ ​who​ ​work​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Innovation​ ​District,​ ​who​ ​tend​ ​to​ ​be​ ​well-educated,​ ​middle​ ​or​ ​upper​ ​class,​ ​with ages​ ​varying​ ​from​ ​20​ ​-​ ​70.

I​ ​had​ ​the​ ​pleasure​ ​of​ ​collaborating​ ​with​ ​the​ ​talented​ ​​Aggie​ ​Toppins​​ ​on​ ​the​ ​branding​ ​for​ ​the​ ​store.​ ​We decided​ ​to​ ​call​ ​it​ ​Bingo’s​ ​Market​ ​as​ ​a​ ​nod​ ​to​ ​the​ ​early​ ​stages​ ​of​ ​that​ ​project​ ​where​ ​we​ ​built​ ​relationships with​ ​the​ ​residents​ ​of​ ​Patten​ ​Towers​ ​through​ ​playing​ ​Bingo.​ ​We​ ​made​ ​time​ ​to​ ​do​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​research​ ​to​ ​figure out​ ​which​ ​message​ ​resonated​ ​with​ ​both​ ​groups.​ ​We​ ​found​ ​that​ ​people​ ​were​ ​attracted​ ​to​ ​a​ ​very​ ​inclusive message,​ ​versus​ ​one​ ​that​ ​simply​ ​highlights​ ​the​ ​items​ ​in​ ​the​ ​store,​ ​or​ ​one​ ​that​ ​frames​ ​shopping​ ​there​ ​as some​ ​sort​ ​of​ ​“good​ ​deed”.​ ​The​ ​tagline​ ​for​ ​the​ ​store​ ​is​ ​“Bingo’s​ ​Market:​ ​Where​ ​Everyone​ ​Wins”.​ ​So​ ​far​ ​it​ ​is going​ ​really​ ​well!​ ​The​ ​store​ ​is​ ​open​ ​for​ ​a​ ​six​ ​month​ ​pilot,​ ​and​ ​we​ ​hope​ ​to​ ​get​ ​it​ ​to​ ​a​ ​financially​ ​sustainable point​ ​in​ ​that​ ​timeframe​ ​so​ ​it​ ​can​ ​keep​ ​going.

​Have​ ​you​ ​learned​ ​a​ ​new​ ​design​ ​skill?

Right​ ​now​ ​I​ ​am​ ​learning​ ​the​ ​art​ ​of​ ​delegating.​ ​I​ ​freelanced​ ​for​ ​a​ ​bit,​ ​and​ ​for​ ​my​ ​first​ ​couple​ ​years​ ​at Causeway​ ​I​ ​was​ ​the​ ​only​ ​creative…so​ ​I​ ​was​ ​used​ ​to​ ​completing​ ​all​ ​aspects​ ​of​ ​a​ ​project​ ​on​ ​my​ ​own.​ ​As Causeway​ ​has​ ​taken​ ​on​ ​more​ ​work,​ ​and​ ​now​ ​that​ ​I​ ​have​ ​a​ ​killer​ ​Design​ ​Intern​ ​and​ ​Communications Coordinator​ ​(and​ ​several​ ​other​ ​very​ ​helpful​ ​teammates),​ ​I​ ​am​ ​learning​ ​how​ ​to​ ​pass​ ​off​ ​tasks​ ​with​ ​the​ ​right level​ ​of​ ​creative​ ​control​ ​that​ ​is​ ​neither​ ​micromanaging​ ​nor​ ​completely​ ​stepping​ ​away​ ​from​ ​a​ ​project.

​Best​ ​design​ ​advice​ ​you’ve​ ​ever​ ​been​ ​given​ ​or​ ​would​ ​give?

One​ ​of​ ​the​ ​biggest​ ​post-grad​ ​adjustments​ ​is​ ​that​ ​you​ ​lose​ ​your​ ​built-in​ ​feedback​ ​circle.​ ​I​ ​was​ ​really​ ​worried about​ ​that​ ​when​ ​I​ ​took​ ​an​ ​in-house​ ​position,​ ​but​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​my​ ​mentors​ ​encouraged​ ​me​ ​to​ ​build​ ​alternative ways​ ​of​ ​getting​ ​feedback.​ ​I​ ​am​ ​often​ ​sending​ ​in-progress​ ​work​ ​back​ ​and​ ​forth​ ​with​ ​people​ ​I​ ​went​ ​to​ ​school with,​ ​who​ ​are​ ​also​ ​lone​ ​wolves.​ ​It’s​ ​also​ ​been​ ​nice​ ​to​ ​see​ ​how​ ​helpful​ ​my​ ​coworkers​ ​can​ ​be​ ​when​ ​it​ ​comes to​ ​feedback,​ ​even​ ​though​ ​they​ ​are​ ​not​ ​designers.​ ​Afterall,​ ​you​ ​are​ ​designing​ ​things​ ​for​ ​all​ ​kinds​ ​of people…their​ ​thoughts​ ​matter​ ​too.

​If​ ​not​ ​a​ ​designer,​ ​what​ ​would​ ​you​ ​be?

I​ ​have​ ​about​ ​a​ ​million​ ​dreams,​ ​which​ ​is​ ​part​ ​of​ ​why​ ​I​ ​love​ ​being​ ​a​ ​designer.​ ​You​ ​get​ ​to​ ​engage​ ​with​ ​so many​ ​different​ ​industries​ ​through​ ​design.​ ​In​ ​an​ ​alternative​ ​life,​ ​I​ ​would​ ​be​ ​a​ ​bookstore​ ​owner,​ ​or​ ​a​ ​painter, or​ ​a​ ​writer,​ ​or​ ​a​ ​florist,​ ​or​ ​a​ ​potter,​ ​or​ ​a​ ​psychologist,​ ​or​ ​a​ ​private​ ​investigator,​ ​or​ ​a​ ​professional​ ​kayaker,​ ​or a​ ​truck​ ​driver,​ ​or​ ​a​ ​park​ ​ranger…..​ ​to​ ​name​ ​a​ ​few.

​Favorite​ ​podcast​ ​right​ ​now?

I​ ​love​ ​​Heavyweight​!​ ​Each​ ​episode​ ​is​ ​about​ ​a​ ​person​ ​revisiting​ ​a​ ​situation​ ​in​ ​their​ ​past​ ​that​ ​changed​ ​the trajectory​ ​of​ ​their​ ​life​ ​in​ ​some​ ​way.​ ​It​ ​is​ ​personal,​ ​witty,​ ​and​ ​story-oriented.​ ​On​ ​a​ ​completely​ ​different​ ​note, I​ ​also​ ​enjoy​ ​​My​ ​Favorite​ ​Murder​.

By aigachattanooga
Published January 27, 2018
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