Design Group: A Career Conversation with Angie Berman

What motivated you to join Design Group?
I was initially intrigued by the opportunity to challenge myself in a way I hadn’t before with this new role at Design Group. I am helping build out our Early Talent Recruiting program and felt throughout the interview process that this was a place where individuals were truly valued and supported.  

How does Design Group convey to employees a sense of belonging?
Design Group, our parent company Barry-Wehmiller, and all our sister companies are driven by our CEO’s philosophy that everybody matters – or what is called Truly Human Leadership. Design Group’s organizational culture is caring, trusting, nurturing, and shows people that who they are and what they do at work matters and makes a difference every day.  

Design Group creates a sense of belonging for its people through recognition every day, professional development opportunities, inspiring a sense of pride in the work that you do, and by their commitment to celebrating the best in each individual.  

In what ways has Design Group supported your professional development and growth?
Design Group challenges me to not only bring my ideas to the table but also challenges me to execute them. I’m encouraged to work through problems and find solutions on my own – but with the knowledge that all my leaders and the rest of my teammates are here to support and guide me if I struggle or need help.  

With Design Group, I’ve been able to take leadership courses that have not only helped me grow as a professional but have also positively impacted me personally as well. There are also so many strong female leaders within Design Group who are incredible professionals and who I look up to as examples of where I want to go in the future.  

In what ways are you supported in maintaining a healthy work-life balance?
I remember when I first started at Design Group and was stressed about a pre-planned vacation coming up, someone said to me “life doesn’t stop just because you have a job.” Since then, I’ve truly seen the care that Design Group has for people embodied in how we do things. Having inherent trust in my ability to do my job well and the flexibility to work when and where is convenient for me (within reason) goes such a long way towards having a healthy work-life balance.  

How do you know that you’re making a difference/having an impact with the work that you do?
I know because I’m told that regularly! Design Group emphasizes recognition for all its employees – and not just recognition for going above and beyond your job requirements, but for showing up every day, doing your job, and doing it well. There are opportunities to recognize others and be recognized every day here – whether it’s starting every meeting off with a moment to show appreciation for your teammates, seeing your name on the company-wide recognition dashboard, or receiving a High Five award for helping others succeed.  

What makes you proud to represent Design Group?
I’m proud to represent Design Group because of what we do and how we do it. We help provide essential goods to the world and we achieve that by showing each team member that they are cared for and what they do is valued at work. Every single person I’ve had the opportunity to work with here authentically embodies the “Everybody Matters” philosophy and it makes me so proud to be part of the team.  

In what ways do you feel like you’ve grown since working for Design Group?
I’ve been encouraged to push myself outside of my comfort zone so many times that I hardly notice it anymore. While I’ve definitely made mistakes and had some failures, I’ve been supported every step of the way and have been able to learn from those mistakes with the help of my leaders and my teammates. I’ve grown into a more thoughtful contributor and a better communicator – though I may still have some work to do there!  

What do you wish you had known about the professional world when you were a student?
I always thought the goal was to find a job that never felt like work and that I enjoyed 100% of the time. It took me a few years and a few less-than-ideal jobs to discover it’s ok for work to feel like ‘work.’  

I wish I had known to take the time as a student and young professional to hone in on what is important to me when it comes to a job. Maybe then I wouldn’t have felt pressure to take a job early in my career because it felt like what I was supposed to do. Instead, I could have focused on what’s important to me - finding enjoyment in what I do (despite some small irritations here and there) and enjoying the people I work with.    

In thinking about emerging young professionals, what advice would you share to those seeking their first opportunities?
As an Early Talent Recruiter, I get asked this question quite a bit. I always encourage students to seek out internships or co-ops if they are able to do so. You may not know what you want to do yet but there’s a lot to be said for knowing what you don’t want to do and I think internships are a great way to figure that out.  

I also recommend that young professionals include all experiences on their resume – whether it’s being part of an intramural team, holding a leadership position in an organization on campus, or working a part-time job in retail. These experiences help to build your emotional intelligence and strengthen essential traits that are just as important as industry related experience.

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