Emily Seaman began designing with bombilla in 2018 and now works as the team's Creative Studio Director. She is so grateful to her friend Danielle Galloway (founder of Self-Love Supper - go check them out!) who connected her with Ivi and got her started on this new career path. Emily's background is in nonprofit communications and she geeks out over zoology, science fiction, dinosaurs, and gardening. Over the past year, she's had the pleasure of partnering with many of bombilla's incredible clients, including PL+US, ChangeLawyers, Caliber Public Schools, and WĒ360.
How are you involved in your Community?
I volunteered in a cat shelter here in Boston for about 3 years. I primarily worked as a member of the Sunday morning cleaning crew, which involved everything from scooping litter boxes, sanitizing quarantine enclosures, and doing laundry and dishes, to feeding the cats and helping with simple medical care.
While cleaning poop and cat barf isn't at the top of most peoples 'fun' list, I loved how concrete my role was and how easy it was to make a tangible difference.
There are countless problems in the world and it can be so hard to know what to do to help. At the shelter, there were specific things that needed to happen, that were going to make these cats’ lives better, and that would help the shelter rescue and adopt out more animals. Begin part of a cleaning crew can also be an awesome bonding experience!
Other highlights from my years at the shelter were filming and editing fundraising videos, redesigning the website, and leading monthly training sessions for new volunteers. And I also once picked up 40 cats from the airport - that was an experience! Since Boston has fairly well-funded shelter system in place, we often take in animals from states that have more stray cats and higher euthanasia rates. It was very cool to have the chance to be a part of that!
During COVID, I’ve been trying to help with the mutual aid group in my neighborhood. Unlike volunteering at the shelter, it can be really challenging to know where to focus, how to structure our efforts, and what will be most helpful during this time of extreme inequality, racial injustice, and crisis. It’s been a real challenge and very eye opening to be a part of those conversations around how we actually build a structure where neighbors can support each other. The main thing my group focuses on is helping neighbors access food, and we try to make the resources we offer very accessible to undocumented neighbors (by not requiring any documentation when people pick up food or gift cards, and by creating a Spanish version of our websites and having multi-lingual volunteers lead many of the outreach efforts).
As much as it’s been a challenge to figure out how the community can come together and support each other, it has been heartening seeing how so many organizations have been pivoting in response to the pandemic to make sure they’re serving their communities in the best way they can.
Another thing that brings me joy and connection is donating to a lot of local organizations - particularly Black and Brown-led groups. I find it so inspiring when a lot of people can come together and make small donations, which in turn creates a movement that leads to tangible change. I also try to shop locally and buy from organizations who share my values. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and think there’s nothing we can do, so I try to remind myself that small things can make a difference.
What bombilla values most resonate with you?
The fact that bombilla centers very intentionally and authentically around Black and Brown voices, experiences, and creatives. That commitment to justice, equity, and inclusion is so valuable and far too rare. We live in a world where white experiences and voices are treated like the default and put front and center. All. The. Time. It's been especially disillusioning to see how much white supremacist norms are baked into every facet of society, even the organizations that are trying to do good, which is extremely damaging.
At bombilla we are authentically trying to always do better. We openly work to identify the ways we might be perpetuating white supremacy and are constantly talking through ways we can learn and grow.
Holding ourselves to a really high standard and holding our clients to high standards is so valuable, and I'm really grateful to work at an organization that puts our responsibility to fight for equity and justice front and center.
How do you deal with the criticism from a boss or client?
At bombilla, feedback doesn't feel like criticism, which is a huge difference from other places I've worked. Our team is built on a lot of trust, and we value collaboration, respect, and continuous learning. It is so amazing to work in a creative environment where we can support each other and have candid conversations to make all our work stronger.
We’re also very fortunate to work with so many amazing clients who value us as creative partners and present feedback in a helpful and respectful way.
What's the last song you played?
Where would you travel if you could tomorrow?
I'd love to visit bombilla's 2020 fall intern Yandia Miñana Pérez in Puerto Rico!
What has the global pandemic taught you?
To be grateful every day for my home, my health, and my job.
What advice would you give to someone that’s starting a career in the creative field?
Believe that your creative dreams have value and are worth your time.
- Let yourself make bad art. Every failed attempt can teach you something.
- The act of creation has value outside of the final product. It's awesome to pick up creative hobbies just for the joy of the process itself. Your work doesn't ever need to be good.
- Try working a simple creative habit into your daily or weekly routine. I'm talking blob-some-paint-in-a-circle-and-call-it-a-day simple. #The100DayProject (which starts at the end of January!) has some awesome tips about building a sustainable art practice. I also found this Skillshare class extremely helpful when trying to build daily art habits (something I've failed at many times in the past!).
- It is never too late to start learning a new creative skill. Just because you aren't already an accomplished painter / illustrator / dancer / poet / sculptor, doesn't mean you can't become one!
Shoutout to our 2020 fall intern Yandia Miñana Pérez for conducting this interview!