We had the good fortune of connecting with Stephanie Bonit and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stephanie, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
One affirmation that I like to remind myself is, “I welcome challenges as opportunities for growth.” There were times in my life when I questioned my abilities and felt defeated even before I started. I decided that if I am ever to succeed, I had to change my way of thinking. I take into consideration possible challenges in life that can’t be overcome due to certain circumstances, with some people thinking that it’s not worth pursuing. Life is a constant process of learning and making decisions that mold me into the person I am and will be in the future.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I would not be where I am today without the guidance of my mentors. Although it was not easy, I was fortunate to start freelancing after college. The work I do ranges from being a graphic designer, production artist, and photographer. I am knowledgeable about those fields and applying my skills to different projects, but when it came to the business/financial side of freelancing I was completely lost. The first lesson I learned, and probably the most important, is to not be afraid to ask questions. I realized that people were in my position at some point in their lives and their experiences could lead me in the right direction. Second lesson is to network within and outside your specialty. I’ve met people through organizations like AIGA, and during networking events like StartUp Week, Y-Conference, and Creative Mornings. My network started in school, but I knew I had to expand to learn new crafts and meet colleagues who I could possibly collaborate or work with in the future. Also, it’s nice when I see familiar faces at different events and being part of the creative community here in San Diego. Third lesson is to tell people your story and listen to theirs. I’m surprised by how much I have in common with someone and the little takeaways I gain from a simple interaction. There is so much to learn at which I hope to pass onto others. It’s fun learning and trying new things, but it’s more enjoyable to experience with others. I want people to know that I am always willing to take on new challenges and welcome the experience.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Oh where to start? If I had friends in town visiting I wouldn’t be able to plan a day-to-day itinerary, but definitely a list of “should-dos” for ideal days in San Diego. For eateries, I love meals that are family style, shareable portions, or have a cooking aspect to them. Restaurant choices range from Tacos El Gordo in Chula Vista to all-you-can-eat barbecue at Taegukgi on Convoy Street. Being from the Philippines, I would take them to Tita’s Kitchenette in National City for some dishes that remind me of grandma’s home cooking. Now, to make sure we burn off all that food, I’d bring them to Balboa Park for a nice walk, visit a few museums, and maybe even play some Pokemon Go. If the sun is out (which it always is because it’s San Diego), visiting Coronado beach or exploring around the Point Loma Lighthouse is a must. On the weekend we would go to the farmers market in Little Italy to enjoy some fresh food and support local artists. Even a little shopping and a movie at the Otay Ranch Mall would make us happy. Knowing my friends, as long as we’re together, they will be up for anything.
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 am grateful for the people in my life who supported and continue to support me in my success. I would list everyone, but here are a few who made a significant impact in my life. First, shoutout to my professors at SDSU who taught me the foundations of graphic design; skills I continue to build upon. Shoutout to my mentors at COE Design and Design Perspective who accepted me as an intern during my last semester of school, then as a freelancer. They believed in me from the start. Shoutouts to Jenn David Design and Elum Designs for always teaching me something new, providing challenging tasks all while making the office environment an awesome place to work. Shoutout to Saya Riddang for sharing the joys of freelancing and reaffirming my decision to continue in this field. Shoutout to Min Choi for introducing me to new opportunities, and allowing me to pay it forward by volunteering as a teaching assistant in her classes, becoming a mentor myself to the next generation. These individuals recognized my potential; my mentors who I am lucky to call friends. Lastly, shoutout to my family, boyfriend, and group of friends, Kayla’s Krew. I push myself to work hard and am grateful to be where I am today because of everyone’s love and support. A big shoutout and thank you to you all.
Stephanie Bonit, Sheryl Ciaramitaro, Elum Designs