Elizabeth O′Neal ′11
One of Elizabeth O’Neal’s favorite Syracuse University memories is of jumping on the roof of the Carrier Dome right before graduation. “It was a celebratory tradition for the industrial design students after surviving thesis,” says O’Neal, a 2011 graduate of the College of Visual and Performing Arts from Darien, Connecticut. “It was one of the greatest feelings—like being on top of the world!”
That exhilarating Dome event was a fitting finale to O’Neal’s SU experience, which she describes as a chance to make friends, challenge herself to learn new things, and shape herself into being the successful person she is today. “As an industrial and interaction design major, I learned to be a creative problem solver and a leader," she says. “The major allowed me to collaborate with different people across campus, from the Whitman School of Management to the L.C Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science. It prepared me to work in an agile environment with multiple stakeholders.”
In the fall of her thesis year, O’Neal was recruited at a Carrier Dome Career Fair by EMC Corporation, a company that offers data storage, information security, and cloud computing. O'Neal spent two years in EMC’s marketing department in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, then moved to San Francisco to manage the company’s West Coast video studio. That experience opened several other doors, and she recently accepted a role at Six Spoke Media, a digital marketing agency in downtown San Francisco. As the agency’s creative director, she is building the department from the ground up, offering such services as video production, web design, infographics, and social media strategy. “The most exciting part about this opportunity is being able to develop our creative culture from scratch, working with clients like Sunset Magazine, Josie Maran Cosmetics, and famous pastry chef Yigit Pura,” she says.
As the result of a chance meeting with Liam Edward Brady, COO of Seed and Spark, a company of independent filmmakers, at a crowd-building conference, O’Neal recently produced an independent film. She worked with Brady, a New York University Tisch School of Arts graduate student, on his thesis film, Fog City. They raised more than $40,000 to produce the short drama, and filmed in San Francisco in July. The film is now in post-production and another fundraising campaign is being planned to support film festival submissions.
O’Neal’s move to San Francisco has been successful, and she credits a vibrant Syracuse University alumni network on the West Coast with helping her make a smooth transition. “Having an SU alumni presence in San Francisco has been an amazing way for me to get acclimated and connect with new people in the city,” she says. “From the SUccess in the City events to watching the ’Cuse games together at a local bar, the alumni group has been a wonderful way for me to feel right at home, even though I'm 3,000 miles away.”