who we are interview contact
Q. How did you get your start in the industry? What was your breakthrough moment?
Penelope Nederlander

Penelope Nederlander: I don’t believe there was one, single breakthrough moment for me. I had more of a three-pronged approach to finding work. I visited LA to attend BDA-Promax in 2002 to meet companies and industry folk, then upon moving there, a month or two later, I dropped reels at all the motion shops I could find, and also, I did free work for people off of Craigslist. The BDA connections turned out to be more of a long game, giving me a lay of the land, the reels led to my first real, paid freelance job, and the free work turned into cooler, creative reel stuff that gave me confidence.

Caitlin Cadieux: Being primarily self-taught from a city with no motion graphics industry to speak of, this was tough I went to as many conferences and motion design events as I could and used social media like Twitter to connect with working professionals. Eventually one of those connections led me to my current job with The Atlantic, and I’ve been working there and freelancing ever since.

Julia Siemón

Julia Siemón: While in undergrad, I worked for a company building 3D type and 3D models for video and interactive work (Macromedia Flash/Director). This led me to get my MFA in Computer Art from Savannah College of Art and Design. Because there wasn’t yet a term “motion graphics” I studied 3D animation.

My first full-time professional job was at a local news station. It was a wonderful experience and I was lucky to have a boss who truly cared about design and my creative aspirations.

My breakthrough moment came when I was hired by a female creative director at Trollback+Co. As a senior animator/designer at Trollback I learned a tremendous amount from the very talented group of ADs, CDs and Jakob Trollback who were passionate about design and motion graphics.

Q. What are the key barriers women presently face in the workplace for recognition and advancement? What can recruiters do better to bring more women into the fold?

Penelope Nederlander: I feel that there is an issue of presence. On average, it seems that men appear more confident and take up more space. It means that the same level of work can be perceived differently by those that are used to the male way of presenting themselves and their work. Those in charge, I believe, need to look at the workforce through a different lens. The best person may not be the most confident-appearing or loudest.

Robyn Haddow

Robyn Haddow: I think there is a real lack in female role models in the industry which results in a shortage of women feeling that working in games and motion graphics (in more technical roles) is not a suitable option for us. I feel with stronger representation and visibility in the industry, more women considering the field as a profession will feel more comfortable, thus inclined to pursue it as a career path. There is something to be said about finding confidence in numbers.

Sarah Wickliffe: Women in the industry, I’ve found, are generally less inclined to draw attention to themselves - both in regard to sharing creative opinions as well as self-promoting. Lack of visibility does not work in our favor, and we as women should strive to improve that. Secondly, there is still a broad perception among many that women are “biologically wired” to be less technically facile, even less mentally capable of 3D visualization - it sounds ridiculous, and yet we’ve all been on the receiving end of these assumptions.

Women who are already in leadership positions can help by mentoring, encouraging, and of course hiring younger women at earlier stages of their careers. For men in charge of hiring: while there are plenty of women who express kick-ass technical and creative skills on par with male peers, it is also worth considering what “soft-skills” (heightened communication skills, collaboration, empathy) women bring to the table that could better round out a primarily male graphics team. These skills are equally valuable in creative ventures outside of producing and editing.

Q. What’s the best advice you can give other women entering the MoGraph field?
Sarah Wickliffe

Sarah Wickliffe: To women who worry about finding themselves out of their depth: Don’t. If it’s scary and uncomfortable, this is what leads to growth. Take shots at any and all opportunities that interest you and just say yes if offered an “in”. Be vocal with your opinions - they are valuable - and don’t be intimidated by the men. Align yourself with women in leadership roles and ask their advice - we’ve all had struggles to share and enjoy helping the next generation. Internships are a great place to make contacts, and to make the most of them, be sure to establish yourself as a personality around the office - hold your head high, present yourself in a polished and professional way, and be visible!

Caitlin Cadieux: Absolutely seek out mentors! Go to as many creative events as you can and share your knowledge with others. Do the things that make you nervous and don’t be afraid to take the opportunities presented to you. Always be looking forward and learning new things, and don’t keep yourself in a bubble—get online or go to conferences and events!

Julia Siemón: Networking is very important. The motion graphics industry is still a small world. Connect with people you admire, ask for advice. If you are creating work, make sure people see it. Never stop learning, stay curious and ask questions! It can be intimidating to ask questions when one is just starting out but you will learn and get a lot further if you do. Internships are a must if you’re still in school. My best learning experience was at Trollback, I learned more in one year than I have in all my time at grad school.

Q. What tips would you give industry leaders that would make workplace life for women more inviting?
Tuesday Mcgowan

Tuesday Mcgowan: A male dominated environment can be very intimating. The industry needs to make a concerted effort to promote women to leadership roles. This will act as a catalyst for change and act as inspiration to the next generation. A flexible schedule allows those senior artists to balance the challenges of motherhood while sustaining their career, and thus keep those senior level women in the workforce.

Sarah Wickliffe: More allowances for flex time and remote work - 100%. For your typical artist, face-to-face communication is only needed for about 10% of our total working time - project kickoffs, receiving notes, etc. The bulk of the work we do is alone at a computer terminal and there is absolutely NO reason this needs to be done in an office, thanks to Slack and other powerful Internet communication tools. Put your work out on Instagram.

Julia Siemón: Certainly, flexible hours for working mothers would be wonderful! Working remotely is a good one as well. I think people need to be trained to listen, I still see women CDs being talked over in meetings and they don’t correct the behavior. The appearance of more women in the industry, I believe will encourage others to take on motion graphics as a career path and enter the workforce. It will give them the support and determination to create awesome work!

Q. What inspires you?

Tuesday Mcgowan: Artists who have overcome their fears to create meaningful work. Ai Wei Wei’s documentary, Human Flow about the global refugee crisis is such a strangely beautiful and profound film. Ai Wei Wei embodies this fearless quality.

Robyn Hadow: The dedication and hard work of other artists. The community is so giving, become a part of it! The reward of connecting with other artists is the very best thing.

Caitlin Cadieux

Caitlin Cadieux: Being self-taught, I’m always inspired by others who are self-motivated and driven to get themselves where they want to be. Love your craft and use that passion to propel you forward. Any gathering with fellow motion designers, where we can all geek out over what we love, is a joy and always has me pumped to get back to work.