Gia Goodrich shows Sheridan students how to stand out in the creative industry

Story by Nicole Garbanzos and Somer Slobodian

Photo by @gia.goodrich

With her quirky personality and her astute wisdom, it’s no surprise Gia Goodrich has earned her way to the top by overcoming countless adversities.

Gia is an award-winning content creator, educator, and creative strategist. She is not white, nor straight, or a man. She has ADHD and is neurodivergent and proud. This has not stopped her from working with the world’s biggest brands like Nike and Adidas or sharing her teachings with hundreds of people who also seek to be successful in the creative industry. 

Last month, Interaction Design hosted a virtual event inviting students of Sheridan’s Faculty of Animation, Arts, and Design. Gia discussed her many ways of navigating and succeeding through an industry that requires standing out as a must. She talked about how to leverage your success through her three-part recipe by steering your way out of three big thinking errors. From figuring out what your culture constellation is, to asking what your “dude-bro” counterpart would do, Gia sets up a path for authenticity and transparency in any career. 

She elaborated on thinking errors we often succumb to when routing our careers. Gia stated that we shouldn’t let our work speak for itself, nor believe other people will eventually find it. 

“If you are running into this assumption that I just want the work to speak for itself, what ends up happening is that you are ten steps behind everybody else,” said Gia.

She says we need to figure out ways to be seen and take risks along the way. She also adds how your life will not become perfect once you land the job of your dreams. Gia reiterates how sometimes the idea of our dreams doesn’t always align with the realities of a situation. She made us aware of the toxicity work environments may have, and how much of it gets in the way of our dream jobs.

“The world is fundamentally good. Humans are good. If somebody is operating in a way that’s deeply suboptimal, that’s hurtful, that’s painful, it means something happened to them, ” said Gia.

Photo by @gia.goodrich

Gia shared her three-part recipe for success.

Gia says finding your culture constellation is the first step. The three things this includes are your identity, experiences, and values. She says this is the leverage you hold. Gia adds that when you’re uniquely able to mold these three factors together, something good usually comes out of it. You’ll become someone no one else can touch. You’ll be able to produce work that is inherently you, and only you.

The second step Gia introduced is a Japanese concept called Ikigai. Or as she calls it, your creative sweet spot. This is what brings joy and meaning to your life. Once you can lean into that, you will be able to access what the world needs more of and get paid for it in the process. 

Photo by @artysticgirl7

Lastly, Gia elaborated on the importance of having a deeper why. This is the meaning behind all your passions. This is when you ask yourself the hard questions. As students, this isn’t easy. It is difficult digging deep into our brains for the reasons behind what we want to do.

Gia showed us how to get those deep and meaningful answers out of ourselves. She used her own life experiences. She asked herself five hard questions. But it was not until the final question she asked herself that hit the most home for her. Every question she asked herself was honest and powerful, but it wasn’t until the final question that she became emotional. Gia taught us that accessing our deep whys opens us up to our true authentic selves.

“People feel it. Even if I just said, I’m a photographer, as soon as they started asking me about it… they would just see my whole body lights up,” said Gia.

Photo by @gia.goodrich

There is no doubt Sheridan students were inspired by listening to Gia talk about her personal growth in her career and life. Gia’s enthusiasm was contagious. When she speaks, you want to listen. Her ability to see the good in the world and the people living within it is special. Her authenticity and curiosity are what make her stand out from the crowd. She isn’t afraid to embrace her vulnerabilities and apply them to her work. She isn’t afraid of the awkward and uncomfortable because she is proud to be the boldest version of herself.