Create for a living: Erick Gutierrez, YMCA

Create for a living: Erick Gutierrez, YMCA

Northwest Nazarene University
Mar 2, 2017

Erick Gutierrez, NNU class of 2014, majored in graphic design with a minor in marketing. Currently he is combining his skill sets in his role as marketing communication coordinator for the Treasure Valley Family YMCA where he designs, organizes, and runs digital campaigns.

Q. Erick, what does your job at the YMCA entail and what do you love about it?
A. At the Y, I handle social media, website maintenance, and small to midsize communication campaigns. Currently I’m working on spring break and summer kids camps. My focus is on digital design like Google ads, email campaigns, and creating and delivering other digital marketing materials. Last year I worked on a team that put together a fundraiser for the YMCA featuring a premier of the movie Jason Bourne. One of the producers has connections in Boise and loves our organization.

“Everyone here is passionate about what they do. We all know what our mission is and are striving towards it together everyday.”

What I love about my job is helping with the mission of the YMCA and working with passionate, mission-oriented people. I’ve talked to individuals first hand for whom the Y has made a huge difference in their lives, but in addition to those big moments, something is literally happening everyday that helps improve people’s lives in small ways. Knowing that what we do on the back end supports that work—that’s something I’m very proud of.

Everyone here is passionate about what they do. No one is here to climb the corporate ladder or get ahead at another’s expense. I love that about working here. We all know what our mission is and are striving towards it together everyday.

Q. How did your time at NNU prepare you for your current position?
A. I loved my NNU experience and wouldn’t trade it for anything. I started as an engineering major, and when I switched to graphic design I was often asked why I didn’t transfer to a cheaper school. The answer was that the investment the professors make in students is priceless. The professors, like Paul Kinsman and Mike Bartlett from the art department and Konya Weber from the business department, made the difference for me to stay at NNU. They are true mentors.

Q. What opportunities both inside and outside of the classroom helped you gain real world experience before graduation?
A. Inside the classroom, Paul Kinsman always pushed us to give and receive critiques well. He didn’t pull any punches, and his focus on improving our work through honest and insightful critiques was so important. Being able to give and, even more importantly, receive feedback without taking criticism personally has been a huge benefit in the workplace.

An extracurricular example is my involvement in both the Art Club and AMA (American Marketing Association) organization. I was president of the Art Club junior and senior years and vice president of NNU’s AMA chapter my junior year and president my senior year. These leadership roles helped me learn to multitask and manage my time effectively which has translated well in the workforce.

Q. What advice would you give to prospective students looking at NNU and considering their future careers in a graphic design field?
A. It’s very cliché, but you get out what you put in. Take advantage of what your professors can teach you both in and out of the classroom by getting to know them. Natural talent is great, but working hard, not missing opportunities and perfecting your people skills make all the difference.

Learn more about NNU's art and graphic design programs→

Photo courtesy of Peppershock Media.