Through the Pre-Collegiate Program, I applied to small liberal arts colleges in the US and was accepted by and chose to attend Whitman College, receiving a full-ride financial aid package from the college. After graduating with a double major in Politics and Studio Arts I came back to Yangon with an idea to run an art gallery in the city. The PCP, and Sayama Dorothy especially, were very supportive and kindly offered me a part-time job to teach at PCP to help support my venture; the teaching salary helped me purchase my own paintings and gave me a steady income to rely on while I organized openings, and designed and printed gallery brochures, and supported art in Myanmar.
I moved on from the gallery a little over a year after I started, admitting defeat but learning much from the experience, and took up a job as a product designer for Proximity Designs, an organization that I was originally introduced to by the PCP. Proximity is an organization that applies design thinking principles to sell and market products to positively impact Myanmar’s majority rural farming families. The Proximity design team and I ended up working on the redesign and improvements of products like a $25 250 gallon self-supporting water storage solution, an accompanying $30 dollar gravity-fed drip system that only needed roughly 2 feet in height to work properly. We later started an initial need-finding trip on the need for solar powered pumps for tube wells in Myanmar. While working on the drip system, our need-finding led us to include not only product design changes to our brief, but also designs for a communications strategy to farmers who were traditionally ingrained to the idea of seeing lots of water on their fields and valued hard work over convenience – the opposite of what a drip system does. I worked closely with the media team, and learned a lot about the importance of communications in any product’s success or failure.
It was two years after I joined Proximity that Tim, who was head of the media team there, and I decided to do what we had been throwing around as an idea during the time we had worked together. We left our jobs at Proximity and set up Bridge in the summer of 2014, a creative agency that aims to close the gap in communications that both local and international companies need, particularly as economic opportunities and emerging markets open up here. In the year we’ve been running we have been fortunate enough to find like-minded individuals to support us and we have been lucky to have worked on projects from campaigns for Yangon-based heritage conservation groups or Myanmar’s largest local bank, to setting up museums to honor the late Burmese secretary-general of the UN or creating a new brand identity for a Microfinance organization here.”