Jennifer is the Digital Content Specialist for MATRIX. Her primary mission is to understand what information our various communities want and need from MATRIX, and to deliver it to them in ways that are enlightening, engaging and in sync with who we are as a company. She loves pop culture, Oklahoma football and the great state of Texas. Feel free to connect with her on LinkedIn.
MATRIX Employee Spotlight: Tamara Silva
Tamara “Ra” Silva is a UI/UX Designer working with the MATRIX Professional Services team in Atlanta. She has been with MATRIX for over seven years now, after what started as a 3-month contract turned into a 3-year contract.
Tell me about yourself.
I always knew I wanted to be an artist, even from a young age. You could say it runs in the family – there have been a lot of painters in my family tree, and I also have an uncle who was a designer for Harper Bazaar. I have a lot of pride in my artistic heritage. Plus, I married an artist so it will continue to run in the family!
I first started doing graphic design in sixth grade and had to convince my school board to create a specific class that taught what I was looking for – a combination of AP art and design. Back then, I was working with Photoshop 2.0 and Illustrator making collages. It has continued to progress since then, so I know these softwares like the back of my hand. I was also an art teacher for kids at my temple when I was 17. One of my favorite parts of that class was painting a big mural on the wall that incorporated what we were learning.
I knew I wanted to do design in college, so I ended up going to Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) on a scholarship to major in advertising and minor in graphic design. I moved to Atlanta after I graduated and was introduced to MATRIX through my uncle who worked there at the time. I got a contract gig doing graphic design, fell in love with it, and eventually evolved into a full-time position working on website design.
What do you do in your spare time?
When I’m not working, I’m probably with my husband and two puppies. We like to spend time outside when we can, either hiking or jumping on our trampoline. My husband and I play a ninja RPG with some of our family and friends – I know it’s a bit geeky, but it’s a lot of fun! We also like to build with Legos. I organize the pieces and he builds the buildings. We’re currently creating a Lego city similar to what Will Ferrell did in The Lego Movie. This is a picture where I tried to create the optimal user experience (UX) for Lego building - gotta love that UX!
I also really enjoy making food and experimenting with recipes I find on Pinterest. I’m a Pinterest fanatic all around – I love finding DIY projects on there and making anything crafty. I recently started doing yoga and meditating, which is great for keeping calm and centered. Music is another big part of what I like to do in my spare time – I love to sing (mostly in private) and I listen to a lot of R&B and rap.
What do you like most about being a designer?
I love design. I love the layout of everything involved with UI/UX. There’s something about reaching people visually and being able to communicate thoughts and ideas without verbally saying it, but just making it really intuitive. Something about that just speaks to my soul. I love every aspect of it. It’s fun, it’s creative, it makes me think hard and it just feels very natural to me.
What’s the best piece of advice you can give?
Don’t let you get in the way of achieving the things you want to achieve. We get in our own heads too frequently, making up excuses for why we can’t do what we want to do. We tell ourselves there’s not enough time or we put ourselves down for not being capable of something, and that keeps us from doing great things.