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A Day in the Life: Graphic Design Manager Leo Martinez Davis

Written by Molly Forman on Jun 4, 2020

Related content: Diversity And Inclusion

This story is a part of our ‘A Day in the Life’ series that highlights the career journeys of 2U employees across the world. Throughout June we’re celebrating Pride month and featuring members of one of our Business Resource Networks: 2Q.

Leo Martinez Davis was raised by a family of educators, entrepreneurs, and artists, all of whom encouraged him to understand the value of higher education, business, and art. And today, all three play a role in his career.

By day, Leo uses strategic thinking and data-informed creative direction to manage a team of graphic designers within 2U, Inc.'s Creative Marketing team. By night, he finds joy in educating, informing, entertaining, and engaging with others through artistic mediums, such as painting, photography, blogging, social media storytelling, and running his own business, Just So Antsy.

While Leo spent years traveling the world exploring different job pathways, he has found his place at 2U—a company that allows him to work remotely, make a difference in the world, and feel confident in being himself.

“I am grateful to work at 2U and appreciate that this is a place where I am valued for my skills and what I bring to the table,” said Leo. “Working at 2U is not about clocking in and clocking out; it's about brainstorming and executing on ideas that can take us to the next level and working hard while having fun.”

Are you interested in learning more about Leo, what it’s like to be a graphic design manager, and his perspective on Pride month? Read on for a day in the life of Leo Martinez Davis.

Why did you join 2U? What is it about the company that sparked your interest?

2U was a top option for me, not only because of the alignment I had with the culture and the company's mission but also because of the specificity of the role I was applying for. I actually complimented the interviewers (who are now my leaders) on the job description because it was one of the most detailed job descriptions I had seen! It got me excited because my experience could speak to every requirement.

How would you describe your role as a graphic design manager?

As a graphic design manager, I empower my designers to use strategic thinking and data-informed creative direction to inform their work and collaborate with different teams within the Marketing department to achieve our goals. I also prioritize their growth! A part of my job that I love and gets me excited every morning is helping my team grow and become a better version of themselves. I try to do this by motivating them, exciting them, guiding them, and providing them with the resources they need to learn.

How did you become interested in creative strategy and design?

I was raised to understand the value of art, business, and higher education. Neither of my parents had the opportunity to go to college, so they made sure to do everything they could so their kids could go to school. It was my job to make sure that I worked hard and did not lose my creative side. And that's what I did.

Since I was very young, I taught myself how to use design programs like Adobe Photoshop, how to edit my internet profiles, and how to play with HTML code. That's where everything started. After working for agencies and start-ups, I gained an understanding of how I could use visual design and creative skills to support business goals. That's what brought me to 2U.

The Creative Marketing team enjoying an offsite retreat

What do you find most rewarding and challenging about your job?

The most rewarding aspect of my job has been working with such talented individuals across multiple teams at 2U. It's rewarding seeing influential work being produced and logging in every morning to people really caring about what they do at 2U. It's inspiring.

There are also challenges, and I think those are important too. Sometimes I feel if there were more time in the day and more resources available we could implement even more fantastic ideas our team has dreamt up. That's why being part of the Marketing Innovation Competition (MIC) committee was so rewarding! MIC was our version of a hackathon to promote innovation within our Marketing department. Powerful ideas were presented that spoke to different pain points across the Marketing team and, if implemented, how they take us to the next level as an organization.

How has culture played a role in your career?

Company culture and culture in general have played a significant role in my career, providing me with a valuable perspective around the importance of continuously educating yourself, learning to work with others, and taking care of yourself while working hard.

My father always told me that wearing a suit and tie does not make you better than anyone else, and he was right. Over time, after working at various organizations across the world, I have learned the importance of working within a culture of trust, continuous growth, and one where you are valued for what you bring to the table and for who you genuinely are.

Leo Martinez Davis and his team celebrating the start of Pride month

What does Pride month mean to you?

Pride month, to me, is a time for both celebrating who I am and reflecting on what it has taken for us to be where we are now. Pride is a time to practice self-care, recognize others in the LGBTQI+ community, and educate on the struggles and issues we still face. And to also do anything we can for that to change.

What are you doing to celebrate Pride this year?

This year, my plan to celebrate Pride is concrete: educate myself, support where I can, and help educate others. Currently, we are living in very challenging times. Both Black communities and Latinx communities, particularly those who are LGBTQI+, continue to face discrimination and injustice. That has to change.

As a queer business owner, what got you interested in launching your own enterprise? What does your business entail?

Just So Antsy is a place where I can gather and document the creative activities that keep me inspired and motivated, and it’s also a place I use to share my findings and educate myself and others. Queer voices need to be heard. Queer art needs to be displayed.

I have always been interested in writing, photography, and fashion. This website is where I get to match these interests with my skills in visual design, digital marketing, and creative strategy. I am continually learning new things and honing my design, web development, and technical skills. Also, I get to play around and create pieces of clothing for the Just So Antsy shop, in the hopes of maybe one day having my own boutique .

What advice would you give to someone just starting at 2U?

Believe in yourself, bring your skills to the table, and be ready to innovate and navigate daily challenges with a positive attitude. Do this, and you will go far.

Are you interested in a job like Leo’s? Check out our Marketing team page for information on open positions. We’re hiring.

Learn more about us.

At 2U, we’re on a mission—to eliminate the back row in higher education and help universities thrive in the digital age. To learn more about who we are and what we do, follow the links below.