The Paly Voice

Graphic designer and fitness entrepreneur speak at Career Month

Eric Bo-Han Yap and Micaela Wong

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Graphic Designer Kelly Kusumoto offers advice to students about the importance of gaining different types of work experience starting in high school. Kusumoto, herself began working a variety of jobs early on in her career including a jobs at Baskin Robbins and Staples. “You learn the skills of how to deal with people, how to clean things up, how to be responsible,” Kusumoto said. “And then when you get into your actual career job … you become more grounded in your role.”

Graphic Designer Kelly Kusumoto offers advice to students about the importance of gaining different types of work experience starting in high school. Kusumoto held jobs at Baskin Robbins and Staples early in her life. “You learn the skills of how to deal with people, how to clean things up, how to be responsible,” Kusumoto said. “And then when you get into your actual career job … you become more grounded in your role.”

Tuesday marked the start of Palo Alto High School’s 2018 Career Month event, a two-week lunchtime series where working professionals in diverse career fields share insight on the jobs they perform. The first day featured speeches from entrepreneur Nick Weiss and graphic designer Kelly Kusumoto.

Weiss, a former Paly student, explained how he founded a physical training center in Palo Alto called PeformanceGaines, in 2009, despite previous uncertainty of what career field to choose. According to Weiss, by combining his passions of science and motivating others, he created PerformanceGaines to promote the training of the body and mind.

“It’s imperative to follow and continue to do something that you are passionate about,” Weiss said. “Very soon [students] will be working a job in the real world and it’s important to look forward to what you do everyday.”

Furthermore, Weiss encourages students to pursue learning in topics that genuinely interest them, as it will provide them a foundation for finding the right job.

“In college, I majored in kinesiology because I really was interested in and it helped me to choose a career direction in PerformanceGaines,” Weiss said.

In contrast to common fitness trainers that purely specialize on improving the body, Weiss said he emphasizes the importance of both physical and mental exercise.

“I ask my clients, ‘What is behind your physical goal? You want a six-pack for a reason, big biceps for a reason,’” Weiss said. “It’s important to be getting away from the aesthetics goals and focusing more on the physical goals.”

In an adjacent room on Tuesday, Kelly Kusumoto, a graphic designer and illustrator, urged her audience to explore their interests and individualism. According to Kusumoto, uniqueness is the key to a successful career.

“Find out what makes you different, what makes you unique and really own those things, because once you get into the real world you found out it’s not cool to be the same as everybody else,” Kusumoto said. “Figure out what makes you stand out what your skill sets are and then really focus on honing in on them.”

According to Kusumoto, one of her unique talents other than graphic design is wrestling, a sport that she competed collegiately. Kusumoto, who still pursues this passion by coaching, said that as people enter adulthood, it is still important to pursue hobbies.

“Don’t grow up to become a boring adult,” Kusumoto said. “Always find time to have fun in your life.”

Along with passion, Kusumoto stressed the importance of personality and cooperation in a team setting.

“You always want to be very easy to get along with and very personable,” Kusumoto said. “In the end, the credentials will only mean so much.”
The 2018 Career Speaker series continued yesterday at lunch with Alain Pinel Real Estate Broker associate Sophie Tsang and Palo Alto Foods CEO Eric Jensen. Speakers Sarah Tarqin from Zoox and Linda Jensen from the Winter Lodge will be featured tomorrow.  Free lunch will be provided for the first 150 students.

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