Inspiring Alumni | Grace Walker '12
By: Steve Hanulik, Contributing Writer
Creativity... as an authentic and entrepreneurial expression of self in relation to problem-solving.
Where is digital technology headed over the next 10 to 20 years? Grace Walker ’12 is the one to ask. A graphic and web designer by trade, she has become a leader in user-friendly web design solutions that are helping entrepreneurs and companies to grow their businesses.
“What I do now is rooted in web design and development, with a platform called Webflow. With Webflow and larger no-code tools they’re on a mission to democratize software development. I feel that’s really at the forefront of allowing people like me who don’t code to develop complex software, websites, and digital experiences in general.”
It is precisely this forward-looking inquisitiveness and eagerness to grow that led Grace’s parents to enroll her in Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School (STS). “I was very keen…even as a seven-year old I would ask for more homework, and I would ask the teacher for other workbooks. My parents saw that…I think for them STS looked like a good opportunity for me to push myself academically and as a well-rounded student. It channeled that very eager energy into productivity.”
It didn’t take long for Grace to discover her vocation within the encouraging atmosphere at STS. “I loved art…I had a really wonderful time in Debra Carlson’s art class from Grade 8 until Grade 12…that was really the first place that I really understood that graphic design was a career.”
After taking a gap year which, she says, solidified her choice of careers and gave her the confidence and determination to enter her post-secondary studies, Grace enrolled at Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD) University where she received a degree in graphic design in 2017. It was there that the leadership experience she gained both as an STS student and as a Prefect allowed her to truly stand out. “Because of the public speaking skills I developed at STS, I was in a very good position being able to talk about my work… that was something a lot of people around me struggled with. Speaking skills were essential in critiques, and now as a professional designer.”
Following her graduation, Grace worked at an agency for a short time before taking the leap to start her own business, a decision she says was somewhat intimidating at first. “I didn’t know how it was going to work out, or even if I would enjoy it. I feel a lot of pride that I gave myself a chance to succeed on my own…It’s a really wonderful feeling to shape a career that you’re truly excited about.”
As an independent designer, Grace is now applying her passion and expertise to helping others gain access to the digital resources that will help them succeed. “A lot of tools (like Webflow) are removing barriers to creation, which in turn opens up so many more people to be able to have those opportunities and careers.”
So where are we headed? The answer, according to Grace, will depend on how eager we are to embrace these new technologies. “There are amazing, transformational tools that are coming out right now and are opening up many new possibilities. Not just with web development but with entire software experiences, digital experiences, artificial intelligence (AI)…there’s going to be so much change in the way that I work in the next 10 or 20 years.”
“It’s going to be wild.”
“....the leadership experience she gained both as an STS student and as a Prefect allowed her to truly stand out.”