It doesn’t matter where, what country, which state, what city – creativity is everywhere. As a rising senior at the University of Notre Dame, pursuing a BA in Visual Communication Design, I thought I already knew and believed this. With my marketing and design internship at Force 5 coming to a close, I reflect back on the summer and realize that this experience has helped me fully recognize that truth.
I grew up in South Bend, but working with the Force 5 crew introduced me to a local network I had previously only begun to see. Their phenomenal client relations and wide regional reach helped paint the picture of interconnectedness that the City of South Bend, Notre Dame, and local businesses share. As the conversation of opportunity picks up with my joining the workforce just around the corner, I can’t help but notice the push to pick a big city as soon as possible. As a designer, I can’t deny the unlimited opportunity in New York, the value of learning the fast-paced environment of a city like Chicago, or the tech mecca of the West, but I will argue that there is immense value in identifying hometown creative. In a city like South Bend particularly, with its recent growth in a number of areas, finding the masterminds behind local creative is that much more valuable and rewarding.
Who are these masterminds you ask? Creative minds like those that make up the team at Force 5 for certain. I can honestly say that I have learned a multitude of things from each individual at Force 5 with whom I have had the privilege of working this summer. They have all been exemplary role-models and mentors. Admin Nicole brings an incredible amount of energy to the team, keeping everyone organized, on their feet and smiling throughout the week. Zach recently joined the team, but he and Christian both are the tech geniuses that not only make our web endeavors function, but also look good – they work some serious tech magic. I’m not really sure what it is that Marty does, but I’m quite certain he is good at it. Just kidding, Marty – he is also very skilled in a number of areas, bringing some great humor to the table, and is a double ND alumnus, which of course justifies my jokes here. Beth’s top-notch sociability makes client outreach a breeze and she is extensively involved in the City of South Bend. Finally, Force 5 partners Deb and David show the passion they have for Force 5, their work, and their respective roles of leadership in the firm every day of the week, in all that they do. It took me much less than a full summer to recognize the hand this amazing team has in the continued growth of my hometown and the part they play in the development of the businesses that make it.
A big thanks to Force 5 for a summer well spent. I’ll miss the fun and quirky creative practices that Force 5 implements in their work environment, like a bag of popcorn from the popcorn machine for an afternoon snack, the puppies that roam the office throughout the day in search of some gladly granted attention, Friday cookouts that enhance client relationships, and the daily production meetings that ensure everyone is up to speed and keep collective creativity high. Learning the ropes of a branding and marketing firm in my own hometown has heightened my awareness of the diverse and expansive reach of the creative industry, which can undoubtedly be found right in your own backyard if only you are willing to look. Creativity really is everywhere.