Do What You Love is a series that showcases the entrepreneurs behind emerging companies. In this edition, we sat down with Maria Ramos, co-founder of digital design and marketing agency, Defined Creative. Here’s what she shared:
I’m originally from the Dominican Republic. I did all my schooling there; I went to college there as well. I moved to New York a week after graduation. I figured, I’m an advertising major, so I’ll move to the advertising capital of the world.
When I was younger I always said, ‘ah, I want to go to New York and be a creative director for a big agency.’ It didn’t pan out the way that I thought. I thought that I was going to work for one of the big name agencies; world-renowned, one that everybody knows. It just ended up being my own agency. I think I overachieved in that sense. I’m working for myself and doing what I want to do.
My grandfather told me the day I graduated college that I still had time to be a doctor, and he meant that in the best way because my mom was a doctor. In the Dominican Republic, arts and marketing are not necessarily things people want their kids to study. I can understand, but my grandparents are very proud. I come from a family that has a very entrepreneurial spirit.
When you don’t study here in the U.S., it’s really hard to make a career for yourself. Especially in the U.S. there’s this mold that people need to fit into and if you don’t fit into that mold you can only go so far. So I figured I can take the reigns of my life and my career, test the waters and challenge myself to do bigger things, better things—without having to worry about how somebody else might think my career should go.
Defined Creative is going to tackle more than just the U.S. market. We are looking forward to going into Latin America—so for me it’s kind of like going back home–and helping them develop the digital marketing infrastructure that they don’t have now.
Be flexible. When you graduate from college you have this whole idea, this perfect planned picture in your head–but it doesn’t always turn out to be that way. I think that when I graduated from college and I saw myself not necessarily doing exactly what I wanted to do, I had a lot of people tell me, ‘change your career or do something else.’ I refused to do that because I had a very clear idea of what I wanted to be.