Getting to know Persefoni: Meet Amy Balch
1. And you may ask yourself, "Well... how did I get here?" (Tell us your journey?)
I was born near Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, where my dad was enlisted as a Tech Sergeant. He had a 25 year career with the USAF, and before I was born, my family moved all around the country following his assignments. Shortly after I came around, we moved to Minnesota and settled into our first (and only) family home, and I’ve been in the North ever since!
My mom likes to say that I was born with a crayon in my hand because I am inherently very creative, and somehow I always knew that I’d be an artist one day. Whether it be art, music, dance, theater, ASL (American Sign Language), or cooking, I’ve been immersed in the creative fields my entire tenure here on Earth. In fact, one of my favorite things that I share about myself is that I learned to read music before I learned to read words! My mom started teaching me how to play piano when I was just 3 years old.
When the time came for college, I decided to follow my dream of being an artist for real. I studied at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, where I received a BFA in Graphic Design and graduated cum laude in just 3 years time. My career started on a high note at the Minnesota Orchestra (pun intended), where I spent 2 years working on the internal marketing team. It was a dream come true, as I spent a lot of time studying, practicing, and performing classical music on my own, and had gone to many MNO concerts with my mom growing up. From there, I ventured into the beauty industry and worked as a designer for Sigma Beauty, where one of my proudest moments as a designer happened—rebranding a global beauty company. It’s still so satisfying to pop into a store and see my logo on their products. After that, I went to Wiley, a publishing company established over 200 years ago. I worked in their corporate learning division and worked on a multitude of brands and events. After feeling like I was wanting to work somewhere I had a real passion for, an opportunity at Persefoni landed in my inbox, and I jumped on it without ever looking back.
2. And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile. (What do you do at Persefoni?)
I’m a Senior Visual Designer here at Persefoni. I like to say that I work for every department, because it’s true! Persefoni was impressive to me for a multitude of reasons, but it was immediately clear that a strong design presence was at the very core of the business. I can’t overstate how important a unified brand and design presence is for companies, and I’ve felt that great design is truly valued here at every single level.
My favorite thing to work on is our expert publications. My (design) love language is taking dense and highly complex information and distilling it into a format that users feel engaged with and learn more from than just the written word alone. It satisfies my intensive analytical side as well, which is a major driving force behind my design work as a whole.
3. And you may ask yourself, "Where does that highway go to?" (What are your hopes for your time at Persefoni?
My hope at Persefoni is to continue to be challenged and grow into the absolute best designer that I can be. The talent level on all of the creative teams is hands-down the best I’ve seen, with every single person at the top of their fields. The fact that we all push each other to be better and to think differently is the #1 thing that keeps me coming back each day.
I also hope to continue learning about how we need to be mitigating the climate crisis, about all of the new technologies and solutions coming out of this space, and how I can keep working toward reducing my own impact on our planet. Climate change is the single most important issue my generation faces, with the future looking wholly uncertain. My work as a designer can help to educate and ultimately affect real change for the health of the planet, and I am committed to forging ahead on that mission.
4. And you may say to yourself, "My God! What have I done?" (Why is Persefoni a great home for you?)
My passion for environmentalism and personal love for the planet is the core at why Persefoni is my home. I’ve never seen a company quite like this. Knowing that each of us, around the globe, are all coming together and moving in one direction towards helping to save our planet? That’s just really damn inspiring.
Being in Minnesota my whole life has made me see the impacts of climate change in ways I didn’t anticipate. People tend to think I’m crazy for staying in a place that is so volatile, but I think that’s why those of us love it here. All of our seasons are historically very extreme, but that has changed dramatically in recent years. Winter usually brings unreal amounts of snow and cold, but now we’re seeing milder seasons with more intense and unpredictable storms (like the thundersnow and tornadoes we had in December 2021). Summers are usually humid and teeming with thunderstorms (which I love), but now we see less rain with even hotter temperatures.
I’m glad to be putting my heart and soul into a mission that is setting out to course correct on the climate change front. I love my home too much to be apathetic to the effects happening in front of my eyes.
5. And you may find yourself in another part of the world... (Tell us about your life/hobbies away from work?)
A little over 4 years ago, I had the shock of my life and was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, an autoimmune disease in which your body attacks itself and kills off all of the insulin producing cells in your pancreas. What could very easily and understandably be seen as a setback, I found myself with a new passion: food. I’ve come to realize that food is the ultimate medicine, and while I will always need daily insulin injections, what and how I eat plays a critical role in my overall health outcome.
Cooking is my favorite thing to do outside of work, and I spend a lot of time and creative energy focusing on making healthy things taste absolutely delicious. My husband and I have discovered the joys of a plant-based diet, and our health has never been better. I also feel great about reducing my footprint on the planet by scaling back how much of my food comes from animal sources.
I’ve also found how to make those indulgent things taste delicious too! Because like a hero of mine (the great Julia Child) once said, “Everything in moderation—including moderation!” Food is the singular thing that connects each and every one of us. It makes us human. And my favorite thing to do is to feed people. It’s the ultimate act of love, and I strive to make sure that everyone I know and care about feels loved.
Meet other Persefonites!
“Once in a Lifetime" is a series of articles designed to help our customers and partners learn more about Persefoni's truly passionate team. We're not just building award-winning software ... together, we're helping to decarbonize our planet.