For Graphic Designer Lisa Morema-Murphy, it’s always been about art.
Although she had also been interested in science and music in high school, Morema-Murphy’s mentor encouraged her to take a course at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) in pursuit of her interests. “The creative experience of working in a studio downtown is where I discovered that art was my true passion,” she said.
Morema-Murphy later returned to SAIC to pursue a degree in fine arts, and while life and her boss at the time attempted to lure her into a different field, she held strong to finish her ultimate goal. She credits her mentor’s guidance for helping her find a rewarding career in the arts, and she is now actively involved in mentoring women and youth in the community.
Morema-Murphy joined Elgin Community College’s marketing department in 2010, where she creates materials that supports ECC’s programs, departments, and initiatives as well as develop high-impact visuals to promote the college and attract students.
“I am very fortunate that my job is not only fun, but I have the honor to work collaboratively with an amazing, talented team of professionals,” she said. “I truly enjoy bringing each aspect of the puzzle together to achieve a piece that is not only effective and informative but visually beautiful as well.”
Morema-Murphy’s knowledge of the creative process also applies to life and the goals we set for ourselves. “The best thing about your life is that it is constantly in a state of design,” she reflects. “You have the power—at all times—to redesign it in a positive, healthy way. You are not only the artist, but the masterpiece as well.”
We caught up with Morema-Murphy to learn more about her life and her work at ECC. Here is what she had to say.
What is your greatest accomplishment since you’ve been here?
There are so many accomplishments that I have been a part of since joining ECC including winning departmental awards for various designs or campaigns where we competed against advertising agencies; volunteering in the Transition Academy to encourage young students to pursue their dream to go to college; and building professional and personal relationships here at ECC.
Outside of ECC, some of my accomplishments include supporting other women and children in the community through the wellness and health groups I am a part of, and running several half marathons, which I never thought I could do. My biggest accomplishment is being a wife and mother, with a family that I absolutely adore.
What would you do if you were ECC president for a day?
I would start an internal mentoring program at ECC. ECC is amazing at providing mentoring opportunities to our students through some highly successful programs, and I see similar opportunities to improve mentorship within our staff. I am a true believer that as you move up, you turn around and pull others up around you to make a department or organization successful. Learning does not, nor should it, stop once you receive a degree or certificate. It should always continue. ECC is in a great position to instill this internally, by helping staff members progress further and maximize their own potential while creating strong relationships and collaboration across the college.
If there was a movie about your life, who would you want to play you?
If I had to pick someone, it would be Tina Fey. I love her wit, humor and talent. I believe that it is important to find humor and good in any situation—even the bad ones. When you do, you win.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I am a healthy and active person so anything outdoors, with nature and adventure are always fun. My family and I love to hike, kayak or bike, and we are always on the go. I love to travel somewhere new and discover something memorable. Later, I will document the experience in my photography, through sketches or as an entry in my journal.
Where was the best place you’ve traveled to? Or, where would you like to visit?
I was able to travel to Japan a couple times to visit family when I was younger and I absolutely loved it. Growing up with a Japanese mother and being half Japanese, I never felt that I fit in and there were people in the neighborhood who didn’t understand my family’s culture or customs—like taking off your shoes at the door. But whenever I visit Japan, it always feels like home with this comfortable familiarity. We are planning an extensive trip next spring and my boys will finally be able to meet the other half of their family.
What’s something about your job that others should know?
There is more to design than putting together images and text. There are a lot of thought and processes that go into that poster, flyer, invitation, brochure, catalog, digital assets or any other piece that represents the college. It takes time to develop the concept, messaging and imaging so that it resonates with the audience while reflecting the college’s values and brand.
Complete this sentence: “I enjoy working at ECC because…“
The best part of my job is talking with students and hearing their stories during the photo and video shoots that I use to create ECC’s marketing materials. Every time I meet a student, I am in awe of their dreams and passions. I help market a “product” that helps others achieve a better life—that is so rewarding and inspiring.