We had the good fortune of connecting with Andrea Paulus and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Andrea, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I’m from Eagle River, Alaska, a suburban city outside Anchorage, Alaska. My mom was a teacher and my dad was a marine biologist and later a commercial fisherman. Although most of my childhood was spent in Eagle River, we also travelled up and down the West Coast for a year, learning remotely, and lived out on Unalaska, in the Aleutian Chain, for several years. I think my upbringing was challenging, but we were always doing new things and having new experiences which is still a big part of who I am now. I rarely sit still and am constantly looking for new things to learn, and love to have new adventures. As a visual designer, this is integral to being successful and creative. As a person, it’s given me the ability to be positive, inspired (even if we’re in a pandemic) and to lead a fulfilling life.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I had a hard time deciding what to do with my career and dabbled around in journalism and psychology. Then, my twin sister introduced me to Graphic Design at University of Oregon and it was love at first sight. I worked full-time and got grants to put myself through college, and considered myself lucky to have discovered such a great career path. After working in educational software, I moved into video game design and quickly learned what it was like to work in a male-dominated field. The work was fun, but the demands, constant pressure and politics turned it into a toxic environment so I turned to work as a web designer. After working for another 6 years in a variety of graphic design jobs, I landed a visual design job working with Amazon. That was a turning point in my career. Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to design for such globally recognized brands as Amazon, Microsoft, Xerox and Petco. Working with teams of peers has been inspirational, educational, and lots of fun! My work has mostly been in the corporate environment but I’ve also been able to work within pet care, healthcare, pharma and software industries. It’s a challenge but I couldn’t be happier.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
San Diego has a huge variety of experiences to choose from no matter who you are. Like most San Diegans, we entertain out-of-towners a lot! The first stop is usually the San Diego Zoo which is incredible. The beautiful landscaping, amazing animals from all over the world, and the wealth of information you can learn there is always fantastic. I can go there again and again and always learn or see something new. My personal favorite spot is the exotic bird area in the children’s zoo. I often see photographers and painters in there with the birds. The next stop is Coronado. You really have to see the Hotel Del Coronado. Walking the halls downstairs, you’ll see lots of amazing photos of famous folks that have stayed there. The architecture is so beautiful. It’s like stepping back in time. Try to go during off-times though (ie. morning hours during the week) because it gets super crowded on summer weekends. Next up is Torrey Pines State Park in Del Mar. There’s a hike from Torrey Pines Golf Course down through the beautiful terrain above the state beach. You hike along the cliffs then down the trails to the beach. It’s a little tricky, stay on the path and wear good shoes. But the views are astounding. From there, you can go up to Del Mar to visit the shops, and have a nice lunch out on a patio downtown. If you have stamina, head to Encinitas afterwards. There’s a cool little shopping area on Cedros Avenue that has lots of little artisan shops and boutiques. The last day I’d head out to the local (and hidden) vineyards in the Highland Valley area of San Diego. There are some wonderful little finds up there – and in my opinion it has better wine, or at least on par with, Temecula wines. Don’t miss Highland Valley Vineyards, Chuparosa Vineyards, and Espinosa winery. It gets very hot in the summer but lots of fun.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I think my mom deserves the biggest shoutout of all. Not only did she put up with me in my terrible teenage years (ha!), but she inspired me to be adventurous and fearless. When she graduated from college, she took a teaching job in Juneau, Alaska. She’d never been out of the small California town she was raised in and didn’t know a soul in Alaska She met my dad there….they lived in a tent the first few months they were married! She woke up in the dark every school day to get us three kids get ready for school. She continued to substitute teach, helped us with our classes, drove us all over, and taught us correspondence courses when we travelled. And she also worked on my dad’s fishing boat and helped us all adjust when we moved to Unalaska – which was a brutal way of life. We’d go on hiking trips, canoe trips, fishing, camping…you name it. Her adventures in life are so inspirational. Even now it amazes me how brave she was. She grabbed life by the horns and has a tremendous story to tell. It’s incredible.