Employee Spotlight: Reneé Virgo
Reneé Virgo is a Creative Director at Boxer Brand Design, our embedded brand design and packaging agency. In her 13 years at the company, she's developed a strong interest in product art and expanded her knowledge with every design, print campaign, and toy project she’s supported since starting as an intern on our Happy Meal toy team just one week after graduating from Columbia College of Art & Design.
Reneé is fueled by art inside and outside of work and has become a passionate advocate for independent artists in Chicago. In her spare time, she continues to immerse herself in the artist community by running the “Chii for All” Art Collective. Chii For All is a platform created to develop and inspire artists who work in a professional art and design settings by showcasing their personal work, re-energizing their creativity, and empowering them to be fully expressed in the world.
Originally from the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago, she is married and shares a bunny named Panko with her husband, Jason. She enjoys the sci-fi/fantasy and superhero genres. They fill most of her Netflix watchlist, along with anime and Korean dramas. She spends any remaining free time on more art, especially painting, resin, and leatherwork. Reneé also plans to get back into practicing Japanese this year and start learning Korean next!
Get to know Reneé, including her favorite artists, inspirations, and other fun topics...
Anything you want to share that we need to know first?
I lead the Boxer Happy Meal Creative Team! We do everything printed in the Happy Meal world, from POP (Point of Purchase) to packaging, to printed fiber and plush toys. Besides doing various creative work, this provides an excellent opportunity to regularly connect and collaborate with both the Toy and Digital Creative Teams. I am honored and privileged to get to work with the most amazing team of people — wonderful humans and highly talented designers!
During your time at tms and Boxer, what work or project are you most proud of?
I’m proud of my team’s work to make Happy Meal POP what it is today. We consistently push ourselves to bring a strategic eye and fresh creative thought and design to each new program we touch. Looking back through all the POP programs we have worked on, it’s always exciting to see how the Happy Meal brand continues to evolve and expand.
I know this is obvious, but what is your passion?
Ha, I will always be passionate about art! I’m also very into personal growth, business, and leadership!
Tell me more about Chii for All.
I started Chii for All as a community for artists and designers to showcase their personal artwork through themed group shows. While many in my profession consider themselves fortunate to do what they love for a living, the unspoken pitfall is that the thing we love to do the most is at risk of becoming a source of burnout rather than a source of joy and self-expression. With this pain point in mind, Chii for All was born to give working artists, myself included, a place to practice creative self-expression and find or strengthen their own unique creative voice.
What was your favorite word and theme of 2022?
Intention: aim, purpose, objective, or end goal. “Live with intention” is something I’ve been trying to remind myself about whenever making decisions about the value of my time and priorities.
What is “trending” in your world?
2023 Adobe Creative Suite updates, Apple’s new M2 chips, Black Panther 2, SS2023 fashion collabs
What person (dead or alive) would you most like to be trapped in an elevator with and why?
Virgil Abloh – I’d love to hear all about his journey to becoming a creative leader, how he got to his role at Louis Vuitton, and his approach to design across so many different industries and applications.
Do you have an all-time favorite quote?
“Creativity is intelligence having fun” – Albert Einstein
What’s the best career advice you’ve received?
“Good work always wins,” and “Consistency is key.” My boss, Diana, says these phrases often, and they’ll stick with me forever. She’s taught me that if you put in the work and keep your focus on growth, you will establish confidence in yourself and gain the trust of colleagues and clients alike.
What would the title of your autobiography be?
The Divergent Artist’s Journey