Dekishea, based in Florida, USA, is a Presentation Designer in our Shared Solutions team. Here, she shares how an unconventional career journey led her to her true passion, and why she feels so supported personally and professionally at Avalere Health.
What prompted you to pursue an opportunity in presentation design?
Presentation design has always been something I’ve been good at, but I never imagined this could turn into a viable career path. After studying Business and Marketing in college, I began working in Marketing and Communications, where I would occasionally be tasked with creating small design projects, which were a lot of fun for me.
After over eight years working in Marketing, I came across the role of a Presentation Designer. Hearing them share their stories and describe their work was insightful and inspiring, and after reaching out for an informational interview, I gained a deeper understanding of the role. A couple of years later, I decided to take a chance on pursuing my own career in presentation design. I created a portfolio of all my previous work and started putting myself out there for any and all opportunities. The risk paid off and I haven’t looked back since! I absolutely love my job, and just wish I had known about this type of career sooner.
What do you find most rewarding about your work?
I get to wake up every morning and do something I love. I’m often so engrossed in my work that even a longer workday still flies by quickly. The flexibility to work remotely is particularly important to me, and it’s incredibly rewarding to be a part of such a wonderful team.
What does it take to succeed in your role?
Excellent communication and interpersonal skills are critical in this role. I regularly have kick-off calls for projects and need to ensure I am actively listening to the brief and feel comfortable raising questions or concerns—sometimes even challenging client demands to ensure I’m capable of delivering a project.
Since I didn’t follow the traditional route of studying graphic design, it was also important to me to undertake additional courses to build a strong foundation in the basics of design. Understanding PowerPoint is obviously key, but other programs like Google Slides, and Keynote, as well as software such as Adobe Creative Suite (particularly Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign) are extremely useful too. A basic understanding of Excel is also helpful when creating graphs and charts within the slides.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
Prioritization is key. I start my day by making sure I have everything I need to begin a project on time. If I’m collaborating with colleagues on a particular deck, then we will make sure to create a Teams channel for us to easily communicate with each other and foster a sense of seamless collaboration. Checking emails, communicating with project managers and writers, and having senior leaders review my work before completion, are all things I do on a day-to-day basis. It’s also important to take some time out during the day to share a laugh with the team!
What is Avalere Health’s formula to ensure you’re supported?
Being supportive is an integral part of Avalere Health’s company culture. From my manager to senior leaders and colleagues across the entire organization, everyone is always available to help and provide guidance. During our check-ins, my manager always makes it a point to ask about my workload and capacity, my mental health, and how she can continue supporting me. The kind of support, generosity, flexibility, and openness that we receive is not lost on me.
Do you have any advice for maintaining mental wellbeing while working from home?
I consider our flexible working policy one of the biggest benefits of this organization. But I also believe it’s important to make time for yourself and the things you enjoy if you are working entirely remotely. I do this by ensuring I take small, consistent breaks throughout the day—whether that is by cooking something for myself or switching up my environment by going for walks. In addition to our vacation days, Avalere Health gifts us with two personal days to use at our discretion. I like to refer to mine as “self-care” days.
After a busy work week, how do you unwind?
Each week can be different, but I usually unwind by spending time with family and friends, binge-watching a TV show, or travelling somewhere. I also enjoy taking time to focus on my physical health and well-being, which is why I often start my day at the gym. Having an active start to the day is invaluable to me as it provides a great contrast to the many hours of screen time I have while working.
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