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

Hi Gabi, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk taking has played a significant role in my life. Many of the opportunities that have been presented to me have been a direct result from taking risks. True, there is a level of unease and discomfort that comes with these risks, but if I had played it safe I wouldn’t have travelled around the world, met so many amazing people, or even changed my college major and found a new career path that I’m passionate about.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
To be honest with you, I’m just at the beginning of my journey. Up until three months ago I was a non-traditional student taking classes after work or on my days off over the course of several years after taking two years off to focus on working. I chose Communications as a major without knowing where I would land. But I kept at it and after finally collecting enough units to transfer to a CSU, I made my way to Cal State Dominguez Hills where I studied Advertising & PR.

It wasn’t until a year into my studies there that I finally found a career path I was interested in, advertising. Now I know a lot of people would roll their eyes to the industry. Trust me, I get it. But something in my first advertising course and the way my Professor, now mentor, taught it was so exciting and encouraging. I found advertising to be at the intersection of communication, collaboration, and creativity, which is exactly where I wanted to be. What role would I play exactly? I didn’t know, but I had to be a part of it.

That feeling that this is where I’m meant to be was only solidified two semesters later when I took a course where we acted as a full-service agency. Everyone had their roles and departments and at the end of the semester we would pitch against a competing class for a client’s business. It was there where I took on the role of Creative Director, making creative decisions and executing creative assets for the agency and campaign.

During that time I worked tirelessly and willingly on all visual work, some copy, and anything else anyone needed a hand on. I learned that the phrase, “find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” is simply untrue. If you find a job that you love, like I did, you work twice as hard because you’re just that passionate about it.

As I said, I’m only at the beginning of my journey and I have plenty of work to do to get to a Creative Director role, but I’m heading in the right direction. Aside from illustrating in my free time, I’m currently interning with a non-profit as a graphic designer for various projects. I’m doing what I can to build my portfolio and my eye for design. It may take some time, but with as long as it took me to get through school, this is where the fun begins.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Meals by Genet- Delicious Ethiopian food and wonderful service. The Vista Theater – Perfect place to watch a movie and bask in the wonderful architecture of a grand theater.
Randy’s Donuts- Can’t go wrong with a donut from Randy’s.
Grand Central Market- When you don’t know what you want to eat or want all the things to eat.
The Last Bookstore- A great place to visit for all of those who dreamt of having their own personal library like Belle.
Melrose Trading Post- Whether you’re on the hunt for something or just looking, you’ll find something here.
Little Coyote- Beware of amazing pizza.
Family Arcade LA- Love to visit and just have some fun.

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?
My grandmother Misako for staunchly supporting me through my highs and lows.

My partner Nestor for always pushing me to be my best self.

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.