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Lenny Terenzi – AIGA & Hey! Monkey

posted Jul 6, 2017, 6:36 AM by Living Arts College Library and Media Center
June 2nd, 2017

By Emily Houghland

Today, Lenny Terenzi came to speak to our class about professional networking and the importance of relationships in the industry. He was actually part of the very first graduating classes from 1992. He has since worked a few different jobs, including working with SASS and creating his very own business called Hey! Monkey. He is currently the VP for AIGA. The Raleigh AIGA chapter was the 8th chapter to be created out of the now 72 chapters that are working all over the US. They’re mission is to get everyone involved in Graphic Arts and help get rid of the sexism and racism in the industry.

As Lenny was stressing, the most important things you need to be able to accomplish or have are as follows: support network, career advancement, skill based training, break out of your comfort zone, community involvement, and a home. Without these things, someone can’t really succeed or grow because you will always feel trapped in the same crappy job you first got.

Networking for example is not necessary. Giving a random person your business card because it avoids having to talk to them just doesn’t work in the long run. Without the people skills needed to form actual relationships and friends, even if you get a job you won’t be able to keep it, because people are looking for a good atmosphere. If you take someone to lunch or coffee and make conversation that isn’t about work, you’ll make a real connection with that person instead of just exchanging pieces of paper.

Our whole job as artists or designers is to influence people. We have to have the sympathy to be able to understand the way the human mind works. Once you can connect with people, you have to decide what your standard for friends and clients is and then go from there. If you think within the first five minutes that the relationship won’t work out, whether it's romantic or a friendship, then it may not be worth your time. This is the same way with job hunting too. Of course everyone will work in a job they don’t care about to pay the bills for awhile, but once you have the experience you shouldn’t take the first thing thrown at you. Money is also not always the best way to determine if you’ll be happy there or not. Some place may pay you tons of money but you will be miserable working there. Other places may pay moderately but you love the people working there and the environment. You just have to decide what your goal for your career is.

I asked Lenny how he keeps his life so organized. He admits he cries at night from all the stress and things he has to do sometimes, which I can relate to. But as artistic people we admittedly are awful at staying focused or finishing things. It takes a lot to do something when there are so many distractions or ideas in your head. He says he likes to use a calendar instead of a to-do list. The to-do list just keeps piling up and becomes far too scary sometimes. A calendar lets you spread everything out to seem a little easier to digest.

I really enjoyed listening to Lenny Terenzi talk about his life and advice in the industry. He seems to have been through some tough times but kept moving forward. It’s inspiring.


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