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Confessions of Design Business Owner: A Presentation to Susquehanna University

Chris talking to the Susquehanna University students about self-promotion.

As I walked into the classroom at Susquehanna University, memories flooded back of my days as a young designer, soaking up everything I could from my mentor Mark Fertig, and eager to make my mark on the world. Little did I know then the twists and turns my career would take, leading me to where I stand today as the owner of Cross Creative. I was privileged to be invited to speak to the budding designers of the “Business of Design” course, and I approached the opportunity with both excitement and humility.

The atmosphere in the room was electric as I began to share my unexpected career path with the students. From my humble beginnings as an entry-level designer in Washington, DC., to running the creative department at Human Longevity, Inc., to the challenges and triumphs of entrepreneurship, I spared no detail. I shared anecdotes from my journey, sprinkling in words of wisdom gleaned from years of experience in the industry.

Chris encouraging studnets to take control of their careers

But what truly made the experience special was the engagement of the students. They asked question after question, eager to soak up every ounce of knowledge I had to offer. It was inspiring to see their passion for design and their hunger for success. A big thanks to the Chair of the Department of Art and Design Amanda Lenig (a former classmate and frequent collaborator) for extending the invitation. Our reunion added an extra layer of joy to an already unforgettable day.

The talk was designed to empowered the students to take charge of their own careers, urging them to be ready to tackle anything and everything that comes their way. It emphasized the importance of resilience, adaptability, and a willingness to embrace the unknown. And of course, no presentation would be complete without a sweet treat—I made sure to bring along donuts.

As I left the classroom, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of fulfillment. To have the opportunity to inspire the next generation of designers was a privilege beyond words. And as I reflected on the day’s events, I thought about Mark, and I was reminded once again of the power of mentorship, connection, and the unwavering belief in oneself. 

To the students of Susquehanna University, I say this: embrace your journey, seize every opportunity, and never underestimate the impact you can make on the world. The future belongs to you, and I have no doubt that you will soar to great heights in your careers. And who knows, maybe one day you’ll find yourself standing in front of a classroom, sharing your own story of success.