For the month of April I would like to introduce the talented people who create the magic at Two Tall Totems. Day 17 is all about Josephine Wong.
If you have followed this series you will quickly come to the conclusion that I am very blessed to be surrounded by many gifted people. Professionals so good at what they do I consider them all Jedi knights. Then there is Josephine. She is THE Jedi Master.
Let me give you an example. A few days ago we had a VERY impressive designer interview for a job at TTT. I sat quietly (which is rare) and listened to Jo ask her questions and look over her astounding portfolio. I loved the work I was looking at and considered it flawless. Then Josephine asked very politely for permission to provide creative feedback. In a very non offensive way Jo pointed out about 5 design flaws that I couldn’t un-see after she was done. This designer being interviewed is very good… a Jedi… but Josephine is from a whole different galaxy.
It is amazing how many times I have witnessed a client express shock when looking over the design documents for the first time. Here is the typical scenario. Josephine politely shares her monitor and the client’s jaw opens in shock followed by the words, “How did you get into my head? This is exactly what I had imagined!” This reaction no longer surprises me. I have witnessed this too often. Josephine is like a sketch artist in a police station. You describe your thoughts to her and she can formalize it in art. It is a spooky, magical skill.
Josephine leads by example and always puts the team’s needs before her own. Astoundingly she has zero ego. Such a skilled artist should be a total prima donna but Jo is the opposite. She is grounded. It is about being part of the team. It is about making amazing products. It is about making clients ecstatic. It is about being the best at what we do.
Jo and I met by pure chance. I was working for the CME on a large lean manufacturing project when I got a call from UBC asking if I was interested in a co-op student. I told the caller I wasn’t sure if this student would get much value out of the experience. The caller pushed back telling me, “You don’t understand. Josephine is very, very talented… you WANT her to work with you.” How could I say no to that. Thank God I didn’t. It took me one hour of working with her to realize that she is special. Such a kind person who made everything look… perfect. A few months later when David and I discussed founding Two Tall Totems she is the first person I called. I am glad that she took the risk to join us as a co-founder. We would not exist without her.
David and I consider Josephine our sister (ok.. we have a sister but she is also one). We would do anything for her. I know others in the TTT family feels the same. Over the years she has emerged to be an impressive business person too. She understand what is needed to keep talented people surrounding us. She does her best to nurture a positive environment that allows all of us to be artists in our own way.
I think this picture below describes Jo. She is a perfect hostess who makes sure your needs are taken care of first. Always with a smile. So lesson here. If someone phones you up saying they have an opportunity for you don’t just say no. Pause. Think about it. Take a risk. This opportunity may be your Josephine Wong.
Title: VP Design
Languages spoken: English, Cantonese, Mandarin
Fun Fact: I am a big Studio Ghibli fan.