Behind the Cube #3: Illustration & Voice Over Acting
Meet the Learners, Teachers, and Innovators of McGraw-Hill Education
Today’s Highlight: Joe Justus, Senior Media Designer
We often say we’re #RedCubeProud. That’s because we’re an ever-adapting, forward-thinking group of learners, teachers, and creators with roots in a square logo that is evolving into a “cube”, in reflection of our dimensional, learning science-based approached to EdTech.
Perhaps what makes our team so passionate about our work is that we genuinely care about teachers, students, and fostering productive learning communities. Many of us have been teachers ourselves, and ALL of us are life-long learners.
To give you some insight into our team, we’re taking you Behind the Cube, one #RedCubeProud team member at a time. Today’s highlight:
Joe Justus, Senior Media Designer
Who influenced you to become an illustrator, designer, and voice over actor?
My influences as an illustrator are my maternal Grandfather and my High School art teacher. I got the talent from one, and a push from the other. They both told me I was “good enough” but that “there will always be someone better than you, so don’t get down on yourself. Just do your best and don’t care what others think.” It’s hard to do that sometimes, but I try. Haha!
Now, my influences as a voice over actor are much different. All working voice over actors influence me in some way. I fell into voice over acting by accident. I was working at a design studio in NYC. I was making silly voices and trying to sound like an announcer during work one day (yes I was goofing off). One of the women there told me I should do voice overs and that her boyfriend was a voice over coach. I thought, why not, so I trained with him for 6 months or so before making a demo reel. I sent it out to 100+ casting directors, agents, and managers and was thankfully signed a few weeks later. I started going out on auditions and before you know it, I was booking national TV commercials and radio spots… It was great! I’m still pursuing it here in Ohio.
How did you come to work at McGraw-Hill Education?
I was working at a Catholic Publishing company down on Wall Street, in NYC. After 8 and a half years there, they decided to let about 20 people go on Valentine’s Day (the new massacre…haha!). As soon as I left, that afternoon, I called a friend who worked at McGraw-Hill as a Designer. He told me, “there may be an opening in about a month”, so I sent him my resumé and kept following up every few days to let him know I was very eager and excited to work. A month later, I interviewed at 2 Penn Plaza, and 2 weeks after that, I started working at MHE!
Why are you passionate about the work that you do?
I’m passionate about the work we do here because it’s creative and forward-thinking. The work we do here is considered ground-breaking, in some circles. The digital aspect of our products will keep growing and evolving into things we can’t even imagine yet… It’s exciting! And the people here in the Creative Dept. are all amazingly talented people whom I love to work with and learn from. I feel very lucky to have been offered a job here in Ohio when I moved back.
What are your thoughts about working in the education industry?
I’ve been in educational publishing since 1996 (yes, I’m old) and I have seen it change significantly in ways I never thought possible. Our products are helping kids become the best they can be, and that’s what this is all about, right?! It feels great to be a part of that for so many years.