Product Designer, Illustrator, Artist.

Lisa Sy is an interdisciplinary product designer, illustrator, and artist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Having worked at Facebook and thoughtbot, she is now an independent freelance designer and illustrator. She carries 7 years of professional experience from leading design in content moderation and reporting at Facebook, to working with engineers and clients on shipping production-ready code for numerous startups and enterprises.

She is also an active Board Member and Design Advisor for Oakland Digital, a local Bay Area non-profit empowering underrepresented minorities to pursue design and tech careers. She runs a webcomic called Plurals and Noun.

What does diversity mean to you?

Diversity is the intersection and intermingling of people whose viewpoints, background, and experiences differ. Usually, our divergent viewpoints or experiences result from bodily lived experiences that we were born into: our race, gender, class, geography, nationality, etc. We live a certain life and never think to question how others live different ones. It’s not until we come into contact with someone different from us that we expand our worldview of what it means to live! And how to live differently. I think it is necessary for people to come together in this way and overcome the inevitable discomfort of engaging with someone different from you, because what happens is that we grow together, and our terrifyingly large world feels a little bit more manageable.

Who is your role model?

It’s hard to name just one individual, but I would say my mother. She grew up as a kid in Vietnam during the war, and never continued her education after the 6th grade. I see the countless sacrifices she makes for me to make sure I’m okay. And perhaps she is the type of individual that a lot of people might disregard easily because she isn’t educated nor knows English, but she taught me so much about how to love and how to live.

What is your advice to a young person starting their career or entrepreneurial journey?

Say yes to opportunities that interest you. Also know that timing can play a huge part in how your career pans outs — and it’s okay to let it be. I’ve known for years that I eventually would want to try the freelance career, and I have been terrified yet motivated so long by this idea. “Should I try freelance?” was this large question looming in my head, and eventually I got tired of leaving this question unanswered, and was finally in a position to make the jump because I had more work experience and references, which gave me more confidence to take the leap. If it doesn’t happen now, trust that it may eventually happen through your own doing anyway.