I graduated from the Lucas School of business in the winter of 2019. I currently work as the events manager for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI-Santa Clara County) and I perform standup comedy under the moniker "Kyle from Work."
I grew up Filipino American, first-generation American born, and there was a lot of pressure to follow the money - get a job in nursing, business, or government agencies, but I always knew that it wasn't for me. I wanted to stay in the creative realm.
While getting my degree I joined as many extracurricular activities as I could. I joined the Poets and Writers Coalition, Akbayan, All Comedy SJSU, BARC, and the SJSU Film Production Society. I was trying to supplement this desperate need for a creative outlet.
Professionally, during my time at SJSU, I worked for an advertising startup called "Butter," I helped manage the Legacy of Poetry Day Festival with the Poets and Writers Coalition in 2018 and co-founded my own arts organization called "10Fam Collective." We hosted shows across the South Bay to give kids like me a stage to share their feelings and expression. Eventually, we got picked up by an AAPI heritage organization called "Em Collective" and together we held fundraisers for BLM, Palestine, natural disasters in the Philippines, and AAPI Mental Health. We were able to make a huge impact especially at the turn of Covid 19 as we hosted virtual performances so young artists can continue to share their passions.
After I graduated, I thankfully got a job at NAMI-SCC and I am grateful for all the creative independence that they allow me when I'm working on their social media, brand image, events, what performers to get, what speakers to get that will reflect the needs and attitudes of our community. My biggest goal with NAMI-SCC is to diversify mental health and make resources and education available to communities of color especially in groups where mental health is heavily stigmatized.
As Kyle from Work, I use all the knowledge and experience I've picked up to maneuver the nuances of marketing and social media marketing in the entertainment world - who to collaborate with, how to develop my brand image, how to reach out to agents, etc.
This is my biggest takeaway from my transformation: I've always felt like I've had to keep my professional and creative lives separate but never have I ever felt these two things so intertwined. My creativity is celebrated in my professional career and my tips and tricks are applicable to my own creative brand. I hope this story helps someone who may be facing the same divergence.
Also, I have no idea where I'd be without the counseling I received from SJSU. I've spoken to therapists from other schools and other agencies, but SJSU was by far the best and it got me through some of the toughest times.
I am grateful for the opportunities I had at SJSU and thank you for listening. Please stay safe, wear a mask, support small businesses, support Black/Asian businesses, and have a wonderful day.