We had the good fortune of connecting with Cristina Pandol and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Cristina, is there something you believe many others might not?
I have a hard time wrapping my head around the obsession with weakness. When I was a young professional I was often advised to work on my weaknesses as much as possible, while my strengths were completely ignored. This is especially common in workplace performance evaluations as they tend to be completely focused on negativity. If you focus on weakness, then your objective coming out of an evaluation meeting is to improve a skill from below average to average. I’m not interested in being average. I’ve never been hired for a job or booked by a client because I was average across the board. I, and I’d argue that most people, get hired or booked for jobs because of exceptional or expert level skills in a certain area. My “non-conventional” advice is to focus on strengths and maximize them or on areas that may be average now, but show potential to become exceptional. My weakness is that I’m not a morning person. Instead of desperately trying to improve that by adjusting sleep schedules, meditating, or drinking caffeine, I just don’t take meetings before 10am. Problem solved and crisis averted with minimal effort. Now, all my energy can be focused on being an even more badass creative problem solver and producing exceptional brand work for my clients.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
When I was young, I didn’t see myself pursuing a creative career. I come from the type of family that believes you’re either a lawyer, doctor or business person or you’ll starve to death, so I was on track for a career in marketing most likely working in consumer packaged goods for a large brand like P&G or Nestlé. One day during my senior year at university, I accidentally bumped into a recruiter from GUESS? Inc. who was on campus recruiting finance and accounting students for a summer internship program. However she saw some of the sketches I was carrying, asked about them, and one thing led to another. I was interning in GUESS?’s advertising department sitting in campaign brainstorm sessions with the entire team including Paul Marciano the next week. I fell in love with advertising, brand strategy and design on my first day. Fast forward ten years, sum up all my experience and you have a creative problem solver. While unconventional, I see creativity as innovative and strategic solutions to obstacles and tackle them in a similar way to solving math problems or completing puzzles. I take a very analytical and research based approach to finding design or brand ideas for clients. Most creatives have a more artistic or romantic view of creativity, so this approach is often surprising, but is very well received especially among my more corporate clients who find comfort in trusting data. This is something I’ve learned quickly and wished was a piece of advice someone had given me early on. Change is uncomfortable for most, even for individuals who are pursuing change. A client may say they want an out of the box idea, but the moment the box is gone, there’s panic. The better approach is to remove one side of the box at a time. Ease people into a reality without walls and restrictions.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
One of the biggest pitfalls visitors or those entertaining visitors make is trying to do brunch at the beach, visit LACMA for a few hours, take selfies with the Hollywood sign and then do dinner at Alimento in Silverlake. That itinerary just means a lot of frustration on the freeway and time wasted sitting in a car. I lived in downtown Los Angeles for many years so my heart belongs to that neighborhood. You can easily fill a long weekend and stay within a five square mile block and still not see everything. My recommended itinerary would include the below:
See: The Disney Concert Hall, Bradbury Building, Union Station and OUE Skyspace
Visit: The Broad Shop: Los Angeles Flower Market, the Last Bookstore
Drink: Perch, Villains Tavern, Rick’s, Seven Grand
Eat: Grand Central Market, Wood Spoon, Bar Amá, Cole’s
Hang: Olvera Street, Little Tokyo, Arts District

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Coco Channel and Lucille Ball are huge inspirations to me and I’d dedicate this to them. Like these incredible women, I live every day in hopes to be more than ordinary and ignore the status quo.

Website: http://www.cristinapandol.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cristinapandol/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cpandol/

Image Credits
Photographer: Jeff Kolada

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.