Victoria Lawson ’20 on positivity, purpose, patience and passion

Woman in graduation regalia

Victoria Lawson, ’20, is a proud new member of the Blackstone LaunchPad’s 2020 Founders Circle. Lawson graduated from the College of Visual and Performing Arts majoring in Industrial and Interactive Design and minored in Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprise at the Whitman School of Management.

Quite honestly, there are not enough words in the English language to describe the wonderful friend, employee and supporter that Victoria Lawson effortlessly embodies. Her dedication to spreading positivity in all aspects of her life shaped her purpose to create inclusive and accessible designs that reflect her passion for service design work and helping others.

This mantra was not just used for a specific project or to even get through her arduous undergraduate degree; but is the way Victoria Lawson carries herself through life.

Lawson’s story of how she became involved with the LaunchPad speaks to her incredible empathetic capability to understand people, without judgment, and to help them without the expectation of receiving anything in return. A perfect example of this how Victoria met her boss at the LaunchPad.

During the first week of classes of her sophomore year of college, Lawson took a class taught by Linda Hartsock, the executive director of the Blackstone LaunchPad for her Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprise minor. On the first day of class, while going over the syllabus for the semester, Lawson witnessed her professor receive an emergency phone call that no mother ever wants to receive, about one of her children who was in imminent and grave danger.  Without hesitation, Lawson jumped into action and dismissed class. Although she had never met her professor before, she trusted her purpose in that indescribable situation and intervened.

“You got this,” Lawson affirmed to her professor, as she come to front of the room and stood by her side.

“Those three words saved me in that moment of crisis,” Hartsock vulnerably shared.

More than fortunately, at the time Lawson was a residence advisor at Lawrenson and went through comprehensive crisis management training. After dismissing the class, without missing a beat, she was able to pass on the skills she learned in training to a terrified mother in a dire situation. Lawson explains that her mantra positivity, purpose, patience and passion helped guide her and Hartsock through what could have been an even more excruciating outcome.

Hartsock personally experienced Lawson’s altruism and knew she wanted to keep an individual with that kind of compassion, purpose, positivity, and passion in her life forever. And, over the course of the semester, as Lawson emerged as a top entrepreneurial student with an amazing work ethic, creativity and innovative design skills, she also knew she wanted her to be part of the LaunchPad team.  Lawson’s “give-first” ethos was the perfect fit for the LaunchPad culture.

“She has the biggest heart and wisest soul of anyone I have ever met,” says Hartsock about Lawson.

Lawson put her amazing creativity and design skills to work as LaunchPad Global Media Fellow around the same time she founded Weird and Woke Design. While simultaneously working as a self-taught graphic designer for the LaunchPad; Lawson developed her passion and purpose for service design. Weird and Woke Design became her graphic and industrial design business. Originally, the brand was a clothing line where she sold space themed sneakers and t-shirts. She also put her skills to work for other student startups as a design consultant, helping them create brand identity elements from logos to marketing materials, product renderings and packaging, pitch decks, display signage and more.

Lawson remembers that at first, she did not have a lot of experience doing graphic design work. Remarkably, this did not stop her. Not only did Lawson accept the job at the LaunchPad, sticking to her mantra, Victoria made sure she stayed positive and patient while developing her graphic design portfolio while on the job. Her ability to comfortably put herself in a job opportunity where she did not have a lot of prior experience — other than growing up seeing her mom’s graphic design work — is a testament to her mantra.

It speaks to Lawson’s character that when she designs, she holds herself accountable to make renderings for products that are truly accessible for everybody. She has the patience to ensure that her designs are a true representation of her beliefs and mantra which makes her an extraordinary designer. When Lawson designs, each project showcases a different aspect of her mantra and that is what makes her work so uniquely special. It was a mindset that we saw every time she came to work and her company Weird and Woke Design truthfully reflects that.

Her positive attitude even transcended the LaunchPad on the first floor of Bird Library. Anyone who meets Victoria will immediately notice her grace and her dedication to her mantras in the way she treats everyone and the way she carries herself.

Simply put, since Lawson told Hartsock, “I am going to stand here with you” through a crisis, she become the heart and soul of the LaunchPad, working shoulder-to-shoulder with everyone she meets to exude calm and grace, and dispense wisdom.  She radiates sunshine, positivity and promise, each day, even in crisis. 

Victoria Lawson is an expert in service design and is looking for full-time employment as she moves back to her home base in the Los Angeles area.  The LaunchPad wants to help her connect, and encourages firms looking for incredible graphic or industrial design talent, to reach out to Victoria:

Story by Blackstone LaunchPad Global Media Fellow Emma Rothman Photo supplied by Victoria Lawson