Kyra Wells ‘Greeting’ a Bright Future
Tri-C graduate beats out more than 400 applicants for American Greetings job
For as long as she can remember, Kyra Wells has been interested in design.
“When I was 10, I created flyers for my dad’s job,” she said. “I was fascinated with drawing and painting. I just didn’t think you could make a career out of it.”
Years later, she did exactly that. In January 2021, Wells, a graduate of Cuyahoga Community College
(Tri-C®) became the new creative marketing designer at American Greetings, beating out more than 400 other job applicants.
It was fewer than four years after Wells graduated from Tri-C with Associate of Applied Business degree in Visual Communication and Design (VCD) with a focus in graphic design, which she earned in fall 2017.
“I remember making a potential job list for myself at the end of 2017, and American Greetings was on the list,” said Wells. “As a marketing designer, I work with a team of writers and designers to develop seasonal campaigns promoting American Greetings products. The campaigns include print, digital and video ads; web banners; social media posts; and in-store displays.”
Wells first enrolled at Tri-C in 2014 through College Credit Plus. She became a full-time student two years later and started taking graphic design courses.
She credits VCD professor George Kopec for showing her that she can make a living doing graphic design. Once she took his class, she understood it and fell in love with the work.
“Making graphic design my major was one of the best decisions I ever made,” she said. “I understood why it is called visual communication and how it is used to solve bigger, more complex business problems.”
After she started to understand the subject matter, she went looking for a place to hone her skills. In the Student Production Office (SPO), she was able to use her experience from the classroom in a real-world setting.
“I worked on TV, commercials and a video series for Tri-C and collaborated with MARS, Music and RAT students,” Wells said. “SPO taught me how to work practically and collaborate with different people. It prepared me for my career.”
Upon graduation from Tri-C, Wells enlisted the help of the College’s Career Center to seek a job. They connected her with Act 3, a creative company located in Shaker Heights. She was hired on full time and acquired a wealth of additional experience working there.
“Because of SPO, I felt prepared to go into a position like that,” Wells said.
In early 2019, she went back to school at Cleveland State University to earn a bachelor’s degree in graphic design.
“I chose it because they have a good partnership with Tri-C,” she said. “Everything transferred so easily.”
Wells has achieved quite a bit since then, but she is grateful that it all started at Tri-C.
“It’s called a community college for a reason — because it really is about connecting you with the community,” she said. “Professors work in the field and have connections for job placement.”
The biggest advice Wells can give someone following a similar career path is to not lose their passion and curiosity about design.
“It’s really hard for creative people because they don’t know what to do with their skills, and they need career guidance,” she said. “Just take a class and find out more.”
May 25, 2021
Madeline Shepherd, 216-987-4616 or firstname.lastname@example.org