November 9, 2015

Kate Cardinali: designing real world learning for students

When Kate Cardinali, 2004, B.F.A., talks about design, you can tell she loves it. But when she starts talking about teaching others, having fun and giving back to the community, that’s when she really gets excited.

Cardinali is the owner of Innovative Media Design, a marketing solutions firm located in her hometown of Bay City.

IMD is approaching nearly a decade in business and Cardinali is as passionate about it today as the day it was founded. One big reason for that, she said, is because IMD employs interns from SVSU and local high schools. She enjoys working with them to help grow their skill set.  

“One thing I’ve always focused on is the constant education of students in our area,” she said. “Looking into the future, I hope to continue to build those relationships with local universities like SVSU to help young people.”

When Cardinali was a student at SVSU, she held two different internships and studied abroad for a semester in Italy. She said that experiential learning allowed her to gain valuable experience and confidence.

Using that momentum, she launched IMD, and hasn’t looked back since. “I love what I do,” she said. “When you own your own business, you have the ability to do what you want and have fun doing it.”

Recently, Cardinali worked with one of her employees — an SVSU student — to design a new logo for the SVSU Alumni Association. She said it was a satisfying experience getting a chance — as an alumna — to work with a current student to create the design.   

“I’m very proud to work with someone who is in the same program I was 15 years ago,” she said. “It’s pretty awesome to have that connection back to the university.”

And it’s an ironic connection, some would say, for a person who can’t spell her last name without the word “Cardinal.”

“I received a lot of good direction from faculty and staff when I was at the university,” Cardinali said. “I still remain in touch with several of the faculty and really enjoy working with SVSU.”