People of OH: Veda Nagpurkar

Veda Nagpurkar is a silent killer. At first, you notice her sheer grace and modesty. However, you quickly realize that she’s a strong powerhouse full of creativity and innovation. It’s a personality combination that many people work their whole lives to cultivate. With her ability to command a room and easily tackle demanding tasks, I look at her with awe and admiration.

Originally from Mumbai, India, Veda has always had a knack for creativity. Her passion was fueled by her parents encouraging her to continue her craft, despite resounding cultural norms of what her career should look like. Moving to the U.S. when she was only 24 years-old, she studied at one of the top art schools in the country. We’re proud to have Veda as a part of the OH family. Her giggles fill our space with heartwarming energy and her ideas are what elevate some of our most profound creative work.

So, let’s start with what you do at OH.

As Art Director, I work with a variety of clients and my daily responsibilities range anywhere from having insightful client meetings to concepting thoughtful campaigns. Sometimes, I just let my creativity flow while designing a logo over a hot cup of tea. It’s a very dynamic work environment and there’s never a dull moment. Wearing different hats and working with an amazing team is what I love about my job.

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Mumbai, India. I moved to the U.S. in 2009.

What is your family like?

My family is very education oriented. My sister is a computer engineer in Australia. My mom has a Ph.D. in Economics and is a professor at the University of Mumbai. My dad is a financial consultant and has his own business in India.

My parents have always supported and encouraged me in everything I’ve wanted to do. They were major role models for me and have been extremely instrumental in shaping my personality and career. My dad has a very artistic mind. I feel lucky to have had several conversations with him about every art related profession. We talked about what it would be like to be an architect or an artist, and he knew that’s the direction I wanted to go in life. He knew that’s what I would be truly happy doing.

In India, it’s socially acceptable that every child is goaded to pursue an engineering, medicine or law career. I consider myself fortunate to be able to break that stereotype…to be an example that you can still be successful while pursuing your passion.

What was it like growing up in India?

I’ve had some of the best times of my life in India. My experiences there have shaped the person I am today. India is a cultural melting pot. The best part is the amazing food, whether it’s street food or in a fancy restaurant. I loved it because I had so many friends… and of course my family still lives there. Some of my fondest memories are from my childhood. After school, we would just throw our backpacks and run outside to play with friends.

Why did you want to come the U.S.?

For some reason, I knew I always wanted to come to the U.S. It was just a question of when. My parents knew that I would move one day and encouraged me to do so. After my undergrad, I worked for a year and was ready to learn what’s out there and embark on this crazy adventure.

I worked for a small ad agency in Mumbai and wasn’t really a fan of the advertising culture in India back then. I researched the different emerging fields in design and was intrigued.

My first design job was at a digital agency in Mumbai and I just loved it. I was doing so much design work, I felt like I had found my true passion. So after that year I decided to get my master’s degree in graphic design to dive deeper and learn more about the craft.

What was it like moving from India to Georgia?

Saying that it was a culture shock is cliché, but… *laughs*… it was like that. Life in Mumbai is so fast paced, just like New York City. With that expectation in mind, moving to Savannah felt like things slowed down so much. We used to call it ‘Slow-vannah’. But I loved the school I went to, Savannah College of Art and Design. It’s a quaint little university town, which is historic and they have preserved a lot of the old-world charm. It was a different, but more unique image of the U.S. than what I had in mind. Before I could only think of places like LA, New York, and San Francisco.

How old were you when you moved?

Twenty four. So, I was already a grown up person.

It was hard to move, obviously. You are in this new country, on your own, without your parents or friends. You’re just starting out fresh. Not being able to have a social circle to fall back on was hard at first. But was also the most exciting!

What brought you to Arizona?

Life! After we got married, my husband and I were still living apart in different states and we started looking for cities where we could both find career opportunities.

What do you think makes Arizona special?

I feel like there is a lot of young talent here. And the culture is so amazing. It’s laid back, but at the same time there’s a visible drive. It’s as if Arizona is trying to make its mark. Phoenix is an up-and-coming, vibrant city and it’s exciting to be a part of it. Not to mention, Arizona has the best sunsets and natural beauty in the country. Hands-down!

How do you hope to inspire change within this industry?

I hope that agencies focus more on strategy and critical thinking. Advertising is only one part of the story, so how that story is crafted and strikes a chord with the cultural ethos needs more attention. I have worked at branding agencies in New York and Ohio where I learned how brands are shaped. A thorough understanding of the audience and key insights are what help to build great brand stories.

It’s important to think from the clients perspective and not hurry to find a solution. Have we found the right problem that we are trying to solve? Or are we just jumping to solutions? I hope that people can look to us as consultants and trust the process.

How do you shine the most in your work? What do you need to feel comfortable?

I love collaboration, a well written creative brief, and laid out process. Creativity flourishes when there is a definite direction, structure, and a strong problem to solve. Without which there is no starting or end point, it’s just something pretty and fluffy.

I like to hear people’s views and implement that into the work that I’m doing. I feel like every person has vastly different interpretations of the same thing, you know? The experiences that we have had in the past are what mold us. We’re just multiplying on all these experiences when we come together and that’s what leads to strong, timeless ideas.

What do you do outside of work?

I like to travel. My husband and I just go on random road trips on the weekends. Arizona is amazing and I really had no idea how beautiful it was until we moved here. Even the cacti are so beautiful and seeing a desert flower every spring is so unlike what I am used to. We have a cactus that just bloomed ten flowers overnight, how crazy is that?

I like to paint whenever I get a chance. I’ll do watercolor painting. I like being tactile and going back to the paints and brushes. It’s not only a creative outlet but also an inspiring moment for me. You’re just letting go and in the moment, doing your own thing. I also like to meditate and do yoga.

Did you start your yoga practice in India?

Yes. I remember in 10th grade, I used to go to a yoga class with my dad. It was amazing.

How does yoga help you?

It helps to ground myself overall. It helps me connect to people. It clears my mind in such a way that I’m able to be open with other people and see things with more clarity. You feel that you belong wherever you go and you belong to whoever you talk to. It gives me a great perspective to life.

What is a goal you have in 2018, both personally and professionally?

Professionally, I want to grow as much as I can by learning from my peers and creative directors. I always hold myself accountable for everything I work on. I have to give 100% to every job that comes my way and I want to continue to do that.

I also like to mentor young creatives as they start their career. I love meeting other seasoned creatives and learn their stories. Going to conferences and hearing a successful designer or creative director tell their story is a great refresher. You can relate to them and hope to get there some day.

Personally, I want to deepen my yoga and meditation practice. It’s like a fuel to my life’s engine. I hope to be able to spread that knowledge someday by being a yoga or meditation instructor. I would also love to volunteer more and give back to the community.

Why do you think we can call OH Partners a thought-leader in this industry?

I think we’re leading by example. We’re able to implement everything we promise. And, of course, the people here at OH. We have such a unique mix of people and backgrounds. Again, all of these learnings and experiences are coming together and multiplying. That’s what sets us apart from other agencies.

What do you think is next for OH?

Big and exciting things. I feel like this is such a great time for OH. I want to give credit to our leadership team. I have never seen a leadership that is so strong, down to earth, honest and transparent.

It’s amazing. That’s what’s unique about OH and it’s going to get us to the moon.