Going from Rome to L.A. and then to Gand (Belgium) with a Career in Graphic Design
Francesca Romana Rossi is working as a User Experience and User Interface Designer for a well-known company in Belgium, Aaltra Digital Innovation Studio. She studied Graphic, Visual and Innovation Design at Rome University of Fine Arts. She has a big passion for art and innovation.
Francesca is an M Accelerator’s alumni, and right after her experience in Los Angeles found a new job in Belgium.
Francesca, what did you study before M Accelerator?
I graduated with a Graphic Design Degree from Rome University of Fine Arts. I also have a master’s in Visual Innovation Design.
What’s your job now?
Now I live in Belgium, I found a new job as User Experience and User Interface Designer at Aaltra Digital Innovation Studio, one of the best agencies in the area. I also work as a freelancer. I’m collaborating with Crateful Catering, a startup based in Los Angeles. I had the chance to meet the founders attending M Accelerator course.
How did you choose to come to Los Angeles and apply to M Accelerator?
I came because I was interested in the program thanks to a regional funding opportunity. I was looking for an exciting and multicultural environment. My aim was to acquire new professional skills and get to know entrepreneurial and communication strategies. I also wanted to improve my language skills and discover a new culture. I knew that M Accelerator offers Entrepreneurship courses, including Business English classes. I wouldn’t miss this chance!
What kind of skills did you improve attending the course in Los Angeles?
Public Speaking lessons were very helpful to me. I didn’t know how important a good pitch can be when it comes to achieving significant goals with your startup. I also learned how to make good use of several Digital Marketing tools and methods. Business Design classes with Scott Hindell opened me up to a new world. I got to know the American approach to design Startup projects.
I’m dealing with User Experience, so Growth Hacking notions are essential for my job. Studying customers’ needs is very important to connect a brand to its customers. The new approach that I have learned helps our customers to grow and is also very important to develop graphic designers’ projects for such clients. We have to anticipate market demands. We have to be pioneers.
After a couple of years, which module was the most interesting and helpful for your career?
M Accelerator mentors were very enthusiastic about our projects. They helped us and gave us advice with some really positive attitudes. Their energy is what impressed me the most. For example, Lizzy Wallace taught us the secrets of a good pitch, what to do and what not to do during a public speech.
However the classes I appreciated the most were the Scott Hindell ones: he’s specialized in human-centered business model design, the same field I’m working in. He taught us very complicated notions using simple words and easy methods. I learned a lot from him.
Did our course change your way of working?
M Accelerator has definitely changed my way of working. Now I finally have a method, even though I know that there’s still a lot to learn and that I have to update my skills continuously.
Here in Belgium, I had to present some projects to my employers, showing my UX Designer approach. The method we use here matches perfectly with the things I learned at M Accelerator.
Working on my project in Los Angeles gave me a plus point compared to other candidates.
M Accelerator was a stepping stone for an international career. Thanks to this course, I started my collaboration with Crateful, an LA-based startup. This happened only because of the pitch I had at M Accelerator. The mentors were there and appreciated my work. Los Angeles is a city full of opportunities.
How was your general experience in LA?
It was great, like a dream! I’ve found so many friends there. I still have an amazing relationship with them. I left a part of me in that city, I will never forget those 3 months. I will always cherish all the memories, like the lessons, the group trips, all the emotions I felt visiting and discovering new places. Leaving LA was very hard for me. When I was there I felt like I was at home.
Los Angeles is such an open-minded city, and it’s also one of the capitals of art and business. Two eyes are not enough to capture all the beauty around you. Of course, there are some negative aspects. You can easily feel lonely in such a chaotic and dispersive city. Besides, human relations can be very different compared to the Italian style. But thanks to M Accelerator I had the chance to know a lot of people in a very easy way.
What is the best memory of your American experience?
Las Vegas trip with my friends is such a fun memory. But also driving on the American highway, seeing the desert, walking on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Discovering new places was the best part.
Any advice to future participants?
Learn as much as you can from the mentors. Don’t be afraid and be curious. There’s no other city like Los Angeles to find good networks. This experience abroad will open your mind, work-wise and socially. If I could turn back time, I would do it again!