Capitol Communicator is running a series featuring an in-depth look at communicators in the mid-Atlantic. In this “Up Close and Personal” profile, we feature Tzeitel Sorrosa. Photography for the series is by Cade Martin, wardrobe styling by Pascale Lemaire and Sybil Street for THE Artist Agency; and hair and makeup by Patti D Nelson, Janice Kinigopoulos and Lori Pressman for THE Artist Agency.
Tzeitel, please provide us a short bio.
In my work as a Human-Centered Creative Engineer, and as a Hispanic woman who has studied and lived in many countries, I both promote and embody diversity in my teaching, work, and life. By embracing and promoting diversity, I focus on inclusion and the weaving together of ideas to both inform, educate, and elevate creativity, while representing the human experience in a way that is true and hopefully endure the test of time.
I have amassed close to 20 years of experience leading diverse teams of artists, brand managers and marketing specialists, serving hospitality, personal care and high-tech industries. One of my most memorable assignments was at The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). As Associate Director, Creative Services, I led the development, publication and launch of various scientific community campaigns and public affairs outreach efforts that support the organizations’ long-term strategy of scientific advocacy and public awareness central to its mission of serving humanity. My time at AAAS gave me access to some of the world’s most fascinating and forward-looking fields of scientific and technical endeavors.
With broad and diverse experience gained in international assignments and work with a wide range of clients and cultures, I offer a unique and adaptive approach to creative leadership and customer relations. I strive to harness what is best about an organization when it is at its best.
Are you involved in any other organizations?
I’m a proud Design Instructor at University of California (UCLA) Extension, Visual Arts Program. I am very passionate about giving back to the creative community by mentoring and coaching designers and helping them find their unique voice while learning the latest and most advanced techniques in design and illustration.
I’m also a proud supporter of The One Club for Creativity, AIGA and Type Directors Club; and support three non-profit organizations – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, World Wildlife Fund and The Nature Conservancy.
What are the things you are most proud of?
I’m very proud of my nationality and my Latin American roots. As an alien – not from Mars – one’s identity can sometimes be obscured by the need to acclimatize to one’s adopted surroundings and to mold oneself to a new culture. For the kind of work that I do, knowing who I am and where I come from gives me the advantage of multiple perspectives, and helps me connect with multicultural audiences. My exposure to, and understanding of, many cultures gives me access to a patchwork of interesting stories and experiences that have been weaved into my personality and world view, giving me a unique perspective in the arts and the world at large.
Who are your personal role models?
I was born in a large “familia” or “tribu” of fiery debaters and nonconformists (my sisters), disciplined artists (like my mother), fearless explorers (like my grandfather), and spiritual thinkers (like my father). Looking back at my formative years, they were all key role models and gentle influencers. My oldest sister was the kind of role model anyone who feels like the confused middle child would hope to have. She is a friend I treasure, a caring mentor and life coach, and I’m grateful that we both came from the same womb, into the same childhood. Our similar sensibility gave me a mirror through which we could become the strong and ambitious women we have become today.
Did your role models offer professional advice that helped you in your career?
I remember the day of my college graduation (wearing a black cap with its tassel twirling in the wind), when my father asked me, “So, what the (bleep) are you going to do with a Studio Arts degree?” Pupils dilated for a second, I had no compelling answer. After living in Florence, Italy, for one year, where I had contemplated tracing Caravaggio’s footprints while sketching on my journal inside the Boboli Gardens of the Palazzo Pitti, I had returned to Boston to finish my degree. At the time, the life of a bohemian, cobblestone street artist felt just right. To my father’s great relief that I would somehow end up as a “starving artist,” however, my oldest sister suggested that I learn computer graphics so that I could apply my talents as a fine artist. That resonated with me, and after earning a BFA (Bachelor of a Fabulously Spirited Artist), I went back to school (Miami AD School) to create a design folio that could turn heads and get me hired at an advertising agency. I continued painting and exhibiting my artworks around the world in multiple shows and galleries, eventually deciding to trade my paint brush and linen canvas for a wired mouse and a Photoshop canvas.
What professional advice do you have for others?
Be bold and dare greatly. Acknowledge your triumphs and tribulations and learn from them but keep moving forward. As Theodore Roosevelt once said, “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly.” Seek the path without paved roads and create your own journey. In the end, it will all be worth it.
What’s on your Spotify and Pandora playlists?
KODO! And world music in different languages, drumbeats, and from different time periods. I like zoning out and dancing with my eyes closed. I also like sticky Japanese pop songs by Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.
What’s your favorite restaurant?
Terrace Restaurant 海の星 (Umi no Hoshi) Etoile de la mer at Benesse House, Park and Museum in Japan, designed by renowned architect Tadao Ando. Their menu is comprised of delicious seasonal ingredients from Setouchi and the location offers a breath-taking, tranquil seascape of the Seto Inland Sea. The only way to get there is by ferry, but it’s well worth the long journey!
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?
The first time I ever crafted a giant white chocolate truffle with a piña colada flourless cake filling, I discovered I could have possibly been a Chef in my previous life. Ask me about some of my amazing signature “Tz” recipes.