In two short, considered paragraphs, tell us who are you are and what you are good at.
Imani Lee: an educator, creative, and nail enthusiast. A personal philosophy I live by is that we are no stronger than our weakest link. I believe anything that I gain I should also share with whomever I can. With that in mind each day, I make it my mission to listen hard, learn, and educate others. I am an introvert, but when struck with the passion the extrovert comes beaming out. With the right passions I will push myself beyond my limits to accomplish the goal. Building meaningful relationships is also very important to me. Without them, I’ve recognized that I would not be the great woman I am today.
I have an eye for design, a brain for solutions, and a heart for people. No challenge is too great for me. I’m good at planning and organizing. Opening up my iCal to a full schedule is satisfying. My true ambition in life is to help others reach their full potential, helping shape communities as they helped shape me. The Brandcenter is a perfect place for me to continue to grow and continue reaching my goals.
Tell us how one place you’ve lived that has influenced you.
Warrenton, NC: population twenty-one thousand. This geographically large area with a small population has been my home for the past two and a half years. Before coming here, I thought my few visits to my family on Bailey Farm would be all I needed for survival; I was extremely wrong. The culture shock of traveling an hour to a Target, seeing students and parents in the local grocery store, and being awakened by farm animals drove me to isolation. I thought I came to the country to save and expose their community to the big city ideas and technology. The fact remains that just because someone is different from you doesn’t mean they need saving or help. Warrenton has forever humbled me. Despite my shock, I now think about my students who don’t have jackets in the winter or no indoor plumbing, who make it a priority to see me smile every day. Life is simple to me now: love, family, and faith.
What led you to the Brandcenter?
Ever since I was in middle school, I knew I wanted to be a designer. It wasn’t until college that I saw that window get even bigger for me. As a board member of the American Institute for Graphic Arts, I was afforded the opportunity to go on several studio tours. While visiting Huge Inc. NYC, I met strategists and brand managers. I knew then that I could merge my love for creativity, business, and people. After crushing on their agency, another board member suggested that I look into the Brandcenter. His dad owns a studio in Richmond, VA and mentioned the good work he’s seen from the students. I researched to brand center, scheduled a tour and talked with students and alumni. They all spoke highly of the program. I’ve been highly interested in the Brandcenter ever since.
Tell us about a personal failure. Describe what happened and what you did about it. Distill the story into one paragraph.
As a college graduate, all you dream about is being in your field of choice and surprising all the elders with all your knowledge. Unfortunately, I knew by the start of my senior year ,with the experiences I had at that moment, that was not going to be my story. I applied for Teach For America (TFA) with the hope of being able to still fuel my lifetime goal of having a positive impact on my community. My assignment from them: high school math and science. After failing the Praxis three times, I felt like even the smallest dreams I couldn’t accomplish. The hurt and devastation of not being able to master high school material was crippling. But instead of continuing to beating myself up, I decided to find my own job within TFA. I found the opening, TFA got me the interview, and the rest is history. Many people are still surprised that I teach electives as a TFA teacher. I am just extremely happy that someone took an unorthodox chance on me, and I've been able to touch the lives of several children with my passions.
In one short paragraph convince the person reading your application that you have spent a respectful amount of time researching the track you are applying to and the work people in that track do when they graduate.
My entire college career I spent in AIGA exploring agencies in NYC. I've spoken first-hand with creatives who work on campaigns for HBO, Target, Nike and other big brands I love. I took several things with me, but the one piece that I even tell my students is “No problems, only solutions”. Strategists are not only creative problem solvers, but also the heart of the agency. They want to know how to make a brand work to impress you. The late nights and early mornings are all worth it when the clients are happy. I know that it will be a lot work but with all I’ve learned I know that this is exactly the work I want to do.