Get to know: Talia Page, Creative Lead

Joined Job Portraits: February 2019 | Based in: Petaluma, CA

Sandra: What do you do at Job Portraits?

I just came on board as a full-time creative lead. That means I’ll be managing engagements — leading conversations about content strategy, overseeing production days, supervising the editorial process, and getting things finalized and published. We work with so many different kinds of companies, so no two engagements are the same. I like that variety.
As I learn more about the business, I’m also looking forward to diving into our finances and operations and finding ways to grow Job Portraits in a way that’s healthy for all of our stakeholders — clients and team members alike. For instance, I get really excited about automation, not because automation is inherently exciting, but because of the creative work it enables. I like maximizing the time people have to do what they do best.

Tell us about your background, and why you joined the team.

I’ve always been involved with creative work, but usually on the operations side. I was the first photography operations manager at Airbnb, and that was a formative experience. I hired a full-time team that recruited thousands of freelancers, and we scaled photography to more than 100,000 shoots globally within a short time frame. It was a big goal, and I was given a lot of creative freedom around how to achieve it. A big part of operations involves numbers — reviewing data, defining metrics, proposing budgets, etc. — and organizing workflows to maximize efficiencies, but the “people component” is huge. My team members were constantly contributing innovative ideas, and an important part of my role as ops manager was to support them. We reached our goals because the team was downright amazing.
After Airbnb, I spent five years in a corporate environment, which was a very different experience with a lot of checks and balances, where it could take months to approve even one job req. Those two roles were pretty extreme ends of the spectrum! They helped me learn how to hire and operate creative teams with different company structures, cultures, and budgets.
I’ve known Miki and Jackson for years and would have been interested in anything they were doing, just because I like the way they think about company culture and building businesses. But I also think what Job Portraits does is really important. When candidates get an honest look at what it’s really like to work at a company, that sets them up for success. When they start the job, they think, “This is what I signed up for, and I’m excited,” versus expecting one thing and getting another. Most companies just give the bullet points — benefits, skills required — but there’s so much more to work than that. It’s usually a third of your life, and a major determinant of happiness.

Tell us more about the team culture.

There’s a high bar for the work we produce — that’s a given. But I think what sets this culture apart is how much we value the whole person. That’s particularly important to me as a parent, because while the responsibility to provide for another human is part of what motivates me in my job, it also means I need a little flexibility. Sometimes a backpack gets forgotten or a kid gets sick. In any job, you leave home at home to some extent. But here, if my daughter has been up coughing half the night and I’m on my third pot of coffee, I feel like I can say that. I don’t have to pretend like I don’t have a life outside of work.
I also appreciate that our roles aren’t just predetermined bullet points. Before I joined, Miki and Jackson and I talked about lots of different ways to shape my role. It wasn’t “here’s the job that’s available.” It was “here’s how the business is growing, and here are the ways we think you could contribute. But what are you interested in?” It was a thoughtful, intentional, collaborative experience.

What are you most excited about right now?

Reviewing our finances and delivering ideas that are impactful for this kind of company — which is very different from a startup or large corporation. Job Portraits is a unique ecosystem, and that’s an interesting challenge for me.

Lightning Round!

What’s your morning routine?

I wake up early, drink a lot of coffee, and try to get the most important things done first. Morning is when my brain works best. I take my first break when my daughter wakes up. I make breakfast and take her to school, then I head back to work.

What’s your superpower?

Thinking long-term and big-picture. I’m good at identifying major priorities and making sure they don’t get buried under the piles of daily “to-do” items — and I don’t mind making sacrifices in the short term to serve those long-term goals.

What’s the worst advice you ever followed?

It wasn’t exactly advice, but — tanning! I love the sun, and the 90s wasn’t exactly the decade of sunscreen. You laid out in the summer with your friends, and in the winter, you went to a tanning salon. Now my generation is checking for skin cancer. If I could go back in time, I’d pass out wide-brimmed hats and mineral-based sunscreen.

What is your spirit animal?

Honestly, I had to Google “spirit animal,” and I now realize that this goes beyond naming my favorite animal and actually requires some deeper thought. So I don’t know yet, but I’d love to find out.

Tell us about a book that had a big impact on you.

The Little Prince is my favorite, for so many reasons. I love literally everything about it. Every planet he visits is inhabited by an adult who’s neurotic or imperfect in some way, and I like to think about what my planet would look like. If the Little Prince visited, what would he see? Would I be proud of it? I like children’s books that can also be appreciated by adults. It takes a lot of talent to create a story for all ages.

If you could interview one person, living or dead, who would it be?

Jacinda Ardern. I just think she’s really interesting. She’s the youngest prime minister of New Zealand and among the first women to have a baby while in office.

What unpopular opinion do you hold?

I prefer to be in bed by 10 p.m. or even earlier, which I think is seen as a party pooper attitude. The saying “you can sleep when you’re dead” makes me cringe. Sleep deprivation doesn’t bring out the best in anyone, myself included.

What’s your next adventure?

The meaning of “adventure” is changing for me. I spent a lot of my 20s traveling, and my favorite places were deserts. I went to the Sahara, the Gobi Desert in Mongolia, Wadi Rum in Jordan. But now, my big adventures involve putting down deeper roots at home. I just joined a city council advisory board, and I think the next thing will be getting a dog.

Video music credit: Music: “And So It Begins” by Artificial.Music | Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported — CC BY 3.0 | Music promoted by Audio Library