NEWARK – She credits, at least in part, her love of the outdoors for her talent.
“I think spending time outdoors as a child sparked imagination and creativity,” she explained. “Children who are outdoors often find ways to create their own fun and find their place in the natural world.”
She’s the senior graphic designer for both Central Ohio Technical College and The Ohio State University at Newark. She’s Leslie Lenzo.
“Creativity comes naturally to me,” she said, “so I feel fortunate to have found a career that aligns with that strength.”
Leslie (Ann) Lenzo grew up in Coshocton, graduated from Coshocton High School in 1985, then earned a degree in graphic design and photography from The University of Akron in 1990.
“My childhood was hugely influenced by my parents and their passion for all things outdoors,” she said. “Because of them and all the time we spent hiking and exploring, I had a comfort level at an early age with the natural world around me.”
“I think nature inspired me,” she noted, “with color, symmetry, awesomeness and a consistency that gave me a comfort level to do what I do today.”
“And I own horses,” she added. “I ride with my friends all over Ohio and we are constantly amazed by the gorgeous scenery in Ohio.”
Lenzo came to COTC and OSU-N in 2000. Previously, she worked for agencies in Charleston, SC, Akron, Cleveland and Columbus.
“I got the chance to do freelance work with several non-profits in Columbus,” she said, “and I found the work there was meaningful to me. It became my goal to work in higher education and do creative work that could be impactful to someone’s life direction.”
Working for both schools, Lenzo said she “gets to interact with students and art direct them in photoshoots. I get to hear about their life stories and the direction they’ve taken. It’s pretty amazing stuff and I’m often very inspired by their journeys.”
“Leslie is a naturally talented artist,” assessed artist Michelle Stitzlein of Baltimore, Ohio. “She’s a fearless, adventure-seeking, outdoors-loving individual with a curiosity and wanderlust to travel. Because of this, I feel Leslie brings a relevant, energetic, fresh, fun and open approach to her projects at COTC/OSU-N. As her many design awards will attest, she has certainly been successful, and the schools are very lucky to have her.”
“I do it because it feels natural to me,” Lenzo responded. “Art is subjective, but a trained eye just knows if something feels off in a design. And frankly, I love to be creative. And I love design.”
“Life is not a straight path,” she concluded. “Unbeknownst to me, as a child, playing in the woods was more than just child’s play. I was figuring things out about my future life. Riding horses, connecting with nature, traveling to beautiful places in this world and creativity are my passions. I believe those seeds were sewn in childhood.”
Aces of Trades is a weekly series focusing on people and their jobs – whether they’re unusual jobs, fun jobs or people who take ordinary jobs and make them extraordinary. If you have a suggestion for a future profile, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org or 740-328-8821.