The Core of the Matter
There are a lot of business models out there for design firms, and for businesses in general. Many times, however, the overall business model sometimes gets caught up in itself and loses track of the real reason, or people, the business was formed in the first place. I am happy to be part of a new, socially-conscious business model that was formed around the needs and various issues of the people involved. This business is called Creative Core.
I am happy to be a Founding Member and Principal of Creative Core - a design enterprise that was formed to assist a segment of the professional graphic design community who suddenly makes up a rather large part of our industry (and other industries). I am talking about those design professionals affected by HIV or living with AIDS.
For many folks affected by this scourge, what may have been an exciting and promising career at one point, suddenly turned into a dead end - many times literally. Many of these individuals, who in fact lived, had to give up what they loved - their design careers - and settle for a life of doctors' appointments and medication regimens. Well, with the onset of major advances in HIV treatment and care, these same individuals are now living and thriving, and their passion for design is doing the same. A sense of being able to contribute to society in the way they were used to has come back to them. I feel these talents are too important and valuable to go unnoticed. So, Creative Core was formed.
After many months of research, recruiting, meetings, and support from all sorts of people and organizations, Creative Core, Inc. is now a living and breathing enterprise. We are founded under the principle of empowerment through community. The mission is to advance empowerment of the community by working with one another in a collaborative effort and creating real world design solutions that reflect and support acceptance of diversity and equality. We aspire to be the San Francisco Bay Area source for creative professionals affected by HIV that offers a safe and respectful environment where collaboration, professional assistance, education, mentorship, and empowerment flourish.
What all that basically means is there are a heck of a lot more things going on in this world that needs addressing than simply working on a mind-numbing brochure or business card just for a paycheck - or for a client who really doesn't care or who you don't really care about, either. Sometimes we can care about each other and those we work for in ways that are important and meaningful for us as individuals - and designers. It's not about tree-hugging or jumping on the bandwagon for the cause-of-the-month, it's about a real investment in life - and giving back when we can in ways that are important to us as individuals.
So, I am thrilled to be part of this socially-conscious, empowering, assisting, mentoring, and inclusive business model where folks affected by HIV can come back, learn, contribute, and thrive. It makes me feel good that, in a world where hatred, intolerance, and ignorance still exist on so many levels, I can be part of a team who wants to make a difference. I am also hopeful that other groups of disadvantaged, disabled, or those affected by chronic health conditions in the design industry, and other industries, will be inspired to set up their own version of this model and help themselves and others achieve empowerment through community.
OK, I will now get off my soapbox.