Allison Crawford Ford (2004, BA English & Political Science)
Judicial Law Clerk and Abstract & Mixed Media Artist, Hello Allison Art LLC in Greenville, SC
Tell us about your current job role and employer. What are you currently working on?
I have a full-time legal career and also have an art and creative business, so between the two and my family I’m always working on something. With respect to my art, I work a lot with families and the occasional commercial project on commissions and am currently working on developing more work as part of my art licensing portfolio.
What key personal and/or career experiences led you to where you are today?
I was wrapping up a clerkship several years ago and heading back to work at a law firm and my husband encouraged me to take some time off so I did. What I really wanted to do was learn how to paint abstractly. So during that in between job period, I had a good opportunity to learn and paint with experienced artists in town. I had no clue what I was doing but I felt like if I kept practicing I’d get the hang of things. That was kind of my starting point as an artist and I continue painting and working in the legal field. I think using both sides of my brain helps me give my best to the task at hand. Being a problem solver is key!
What is the most challenging aspect of your job? How do you navigate that challenge?
Being a working parent often presents a challenge but I manage that by staying on top of my responsibilities, working efficiently, and managing expectations. That way I am better able to handle everything that’s going on whether it be my full time job, my art business, or family responsibilities. Sometimes life means saying no to activities and opportunities and that’s okay. At this point, I’m interested in showing up the best way I can.
What advice would you give to Wake Forest graduates about developing their personal life habits after college (finances, health, values, work/life balance)?
Continue to find space and opportunity to be creative and to give your mind and heart space to explore and be renewed. Whatever that looks like for you, hang on to that. I don’t really buy into the concept of work life balance…I think of it more like a life pie. What needs my attention today? And based on that, we can make some shifts in terms of percentages of focus. Another day may look different. If a project or assignment or person needs more time in a particular moment, be prepared to give it. And then be prepared to return to a recalibrated state.
We know that relationships are important for any kind of development. How do you build and maintain your network?
Staying in touch sometimes seems hard but it’s always good to remember who you know, to leave situations, jobs, and tasks on good terms, and to quickly establish yourself as a thoughtful, pleasant, and careful person.
Tell us about your mentoring relationships. What impact have these relationships had on your career and life?
I’m always looking to learn from those who have paved a path and asking for help from people I trust. But I am also at a point where people come to me more and more. And I think it’s important to share, sort of things to be thoughtful about.
What advice would you give to current Wake Forest students and/or young alumni who are interested in working in your industry?
Keep going! Never say you can’t do something or don’t have the qualifications. You’d be surprised…
What’s next for your career? What future goals or plans are you pursuing?
I have a few things I’m working on. But I usually like to just see where things go and keep the pressure off!