In this week's edition of Trendsetters at Work, we're heading out east to Detroit to visit the Cadillac headquarters where we discovered some seriously chic employees, much to our surprise!
At the top of her game in a male-dominated industry sits ultra-stylish Christine Park, lead exterior designer for the car company, who impressed us right away.
Here's what we learned about her inspiring and creative career:
How did you get started in your career? I have always been passionate about art—I was definitely the kid who was always drawing in class. When my high school art teacher told me about car design, I knew immediately that was what I wanted to do. I saw design as a way to bring joy and happiness to people. I began my career at GM Advanced Design in California as an intern while I was a student at Art Center College of Design. Upon graduation in 2006, I joined GM Advanced Design full time and in 2008, I transferred to the Cadillac Design Studio located in Michigan.
What is a typical day like for you? It's full of action! Designing a car is a collaborative process. I feel blessed to work with such a talented group of people every day. My workday often includes trend research and looking for inspirational visuals, sketching cars, studio reviews with leadership and working closely with the sculptors, engineers, and supplier partners and so much more!
Describe your work environment. The GM Technical Center was designed by world-renowned architect Eero Saarinen and called the "Versailles of Industry" at its inauguration in the mid-1950s. The main lobby features a Kevin Roche-designed staircase suspended by pencil-thin stainless steel wires, a rotating GM vehicle display, fountain and modern furniture that look straight out of a magazine! The halls are adorned with beautiful works of sculpture and photos of vehicles and historical imagery. The large studio windows flood the room with natural light and provide a gorgeous view of a large lake. The creative energy here is contagious and we all push each other to create new and innovative vehicle designs.
Tell us about your creative inspiration. I am inspired by everything. Being a designer is a 24-hour job and inspiration can come from anywhere. It's important to have a child-like curiosity and envision the possibilities that lie beyond the current state. Specifically, I look to fashion, architecture and our customers for creative inspiration.
Describe your office style. What do you typically wear to work? My office style is modern chic infused with feminine details. I want to evoke professionalism through a tailored look that often includes a tailored blazer, silky blouse with black slacks and black patent leather pumps.
Where do you shop for work clothes? I like shopping at J.Crew, Club Monaco, Tory Burch, Saks Fifth Avenue, H&M and Zara.
The best part of my job is… Designing cars! I love designing cars because they have a profound impact on our lives and our culture. It is so satisfying to create luxury experiences and driving environments that offer beauty, comfort and a seamless integration of technology. I think about the joy people derive from driving their Cadillac daily. It is incredible to know that I am part of the team that continues to evolve the brand forward and bring American luxury experience to them.
I never leave home without…I always carry all-natural hand sanitizer spray with me in my purse.
What is the best piece of advice you've ever received? Stop and smell the roses! There is always something to be enjoyed and be thankful for in your life. Even when the schedule gets hectic, enjoy the journey and find something positive in every situation.
What fuels you during the day? For lunch, I love any kind of salad paired with chicken noodle soup. I snack on fruit throughout the day. I am a huge advocate of tea for its taste and its health benefits...I love starting the day with a chamomile or green tea.
If I wasn't doing this job, I would be…I would still be a designer of something, perhaps in fashion design, interior design, graphic design or experiential design. Creating is my passion and it is a part of who I am.
Can you share some advice for aspiring career girls? Always be who you are. Find out what you love to do and do that! Success will follow when you discover your true talents and pursue them.