As a visual brand strategist (storyteller) + web designer, I want to learn your story and your audience’s story to help create clarity with your brand identity to attract your tribe. What are you waiting for?
Hello! My name is Marisa Gonzales.
I am a proud American Latina. I was born and raised in the suburbs of Kansas City, Missouri. My brother and I grew up in a Mexican household with all the teachings of our beautiful culture and traditions except learning how to speak Spanish. My parents spoke to each other in Spanish but didn’t want my brother or myself to know what they were saying. I may not be fluent in Spanish but I understand it and can read more than I speak. Special thanks to my grandmother for speaking around us even though we didn’t understand everything she said and learning some in our Spanish classes (I know it’s not the same).
I loved designing but my high school only offered Microsoft Publisher. After some long discussions with my parents about pursing the arts instead of something more dependable, I was given the “blessing” to pursue graphic design. I earned an Advertising Design & Commercial Art associates degree. Then, I moved to attend a private art school in Arizona, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design.
My first job after graduating, I began working as an Art Director / Graphic Designer for a family-owned business. I had a lot of on the job training, which I loved, but my designs were limited by the company and the niche. I went on to become a production artist for various companies including large design agencies where I learned, through extensive hands-on experience, print production, design concepts / direction and how to meet client demands.
Every Fall, I would have a mini-life “crisis” with my heart’s desire to do more by helping people, but, I ignored it because it was easier to keep walking my present path. Then in 2008-2009, the recession hit causing creative jobs to be slashed. I worked as a design contractor for Hallmark Cards, Inc. for awhile but jobs were few and far between, afterwards.
A Different Path
I think this was God pushing me into a different path. I decided to go back to school and took some prerequisite courses and was accepted into two therapy programs, I chose to pursue the physical therapy assistant (PTA) program while working as a rehabilitation technician at a local rehabilitation hospital to gain hands-on experience. Those were a challenging couple of years as a student again in a completely different field and as a newlywed. I learned a lot about myself and so much about therapy. Through the support and encouragement of family and friends, I earned an Associates degree in Physical Therapy Assistant.
Physical Therapy Journey
I worked as a Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) with the geriatric community in home health. Then I worked in a short-term rehabilitation skilled nursing facility (SNF) with some amazing physical, occupational and speech therapists – my therapy family ♥. I loved collaborating and learning from my co-workers (friends) to help our patients further.
I enjoyed educating and helping my patients with pain management, strengthening and even consoling them during challenging times. I would get so excited to see patients go from unable to walk to walking out / discharging home. Also, I enjoyed learning about my patient’s stories! I would ask questions like “how did you meet your spouse?”, or “what are the secrets to a happy marriage” (to couples who’ve been married for most of their lives) to get a sense of who they were and where they wanted to be before needing my help. I could probably fill a book with their answers. There was so much wisdom in their stories; I learned so much and I feel blessed to have been a witness.
However, it was exhausting mentally and physically, especially with the patients I couldn’t help; either because their body was giving way, personal limitations, financial reasons, or even Medicare restrictions. This all led to rust-out. Then, when one of my favorite patients “J”, passed away and then my Aunt Mary unexpectedly passed within a few months of each other, this led me to burnout.
Coming Full Circle
My Aunt Mary always encouraged me to go back to creating / designing but I ignored her out of fear. When she suddenly passed, so many feelings erupted and I couldn’t turn them off or ignore them anymore. So, I took a leap of faith…
As a female, minority-owned small business, I want to make a positive impact on my community as a whole especially with people of color. I’ve learned a lot through my journey but one you thing you should know is I do my best work when I believe + love what I do. I cherish the flexibility to care for my family and take care of my personal health while still completing my best work for my clients.
As a visual brand strategist (storyteller) + web designer – I conceptualize, design and create strategic brand identity, custom high-conversion branded websites as well as associated digital + print marketing collateral using knowledge of best practices and design trends. I have extensive experience in print production and digital media.
Family » My Why
My husband and I have been married for 10 years and we live outside of Kansas City, Missouri. He drives me crazy on all levels, but he is a wonderful and big-hearted person. We love traveling and did it as much as we could while we could afford it and time allotted. We hope to continue making new memories and traveling as much as we can in the future.
I am truly blessed to be a mom to our toddler son after several years of struggling with infertility due to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Being a mom is awesome and exhausting at the same time but I wouldn’t have it any other way! I feel so fortunate to be able to teach my son and watch his eyes light up as he learns and explores the world around him.
I am still learning about myself and trying to accept all of it with grace. I am very curious, so I love learning and asking questions. I am also an empath, introverted, and an INFP-T (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Prospecting) personality. I thoroughly enjoy connecting (past the BS) and learning about other people’s stories and / or cultures through conversation, reading, food, music, etc because it fuels my soul and inspires my designs (as you can see in my design portfolio).
Favorite Off-Duty Activities
In my downtime, I love to take naps! When I’m awake, I enjoy watching re-runs of Seinfeld or 80’s movies like Sixteen Candles, Goonies, Weird Science, etc. Also, I like to listen to crime podcasts like My Favorite Murder, Crime Junkie, etc. or just listen to my ever growing playlist “Shazam’d Songs” on Spotify. Here’s the Spotify link to my playlist if you’re interested: Shazam’d Songs. To read more about me (as if this page isn’t enough ;)), check out “5 Things Most People Don’t Know About Me,” on my blog.
My favorite artist is Frida Kahlo because she stood in her truth of pain and life experience before it became popular and expressed it through her visceral paintings.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
In loving memory of my Aunt Mary…your light, love, and words are always with me.
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