Posted Wednesday, February 25, 2015 8:32 am
WILLIAM WRIGHT Lifestyles Editor
When she left Cleveland with her husband, Reece, and moved to a small town in Illinois in February 2013, Myriam Diaz Rutland did not know what the future held or the opportunities that awaited her.
The Cleveland High School graduate who holds an art degree from Cleveland State Community College and a B.S. in business administration from Tennessee Wesleyan College, had landed a job with Cleveland’s own Create and Celebrate Studio off Georgetown Road, sold her artwork at the Southern Comfort Furniture Store in Bradley Square Mall and at Red Ribbon in downtown Cleveland and worked as a sales rep at the Banner. But 20 months after she married the love of her life, the couple agreed to leave the Volunteer State and start a life together in Illinois.
“We left Cleveland for Reece to pursue another writing opportunity in Illinois,” Myriam explained. “He gave Tennessee a shot for me, so I needed to give Illinois a shot for him. I’m not gonna lie — it was tough. I left lifelong friends and my family in Cleveland. I had thought Cleveland was small until I saw this place. Cleveland is huge in comparison.
“I had been job-hunting in Illinois for two months before I left and I still didn’t have a job lined up. I didn’t have the school or church connections to help me in the job search. I didn’t have friends to get me out of the house. I probably did my share of hair-pulling for a while. I worked hard at it though — combing through classifieds in the newspapers, searching online job boards, looking at surrounding towns, and even crashing a few town meetings where I stood up and made 30-second pitches about my skills while trying to network and asking for help in locating a job. I eventually landed a retail management job toward the end of May in 2013.”
According to Myriam, the retail job allowed her to get to know some of the locals in her town as well as in several of the surrounding towns since she worked at different stores.
“I made friends with my co-workers, my employees and several of the regulars,” she said. “With a little time, I started to finally feel like I was becoming part of the community.”
In September 2013, Myriam said a friend from high school contacted her about doing vocal work for a video game design company that he had founded.
“Being the nerd that I am and always having wanted to be involved in the voice acting/video gaming field I jumped at the opportunity,” she recalled. But Myriam, a multitalented and savvy businesswoman, saw greater potential in the startup company than her simply doing “voice overs.” She said she stepped up to take on more responsibility with the company and was later named vice president by the company’s original founder.
“We became partners as we moved forward with a new company name: Grand Arc Designs. We officially incorporated in July of 2014,” she said. “I’m technically the VP, human resources manager and one of the main voice actresses. I help take care of the management and HR aspects — reviewing resumes, portfolios, interviewing and hiring, helping with the ‘legalese’ of it all, and making sure we have all our ducks in a row while setting up and running a corporation. I’ve dabbled with nondisclosure agreements, contracts, and annual reports. I’ve had to help with random concept sketches and art, and I’ve gotten to tweak and record a song for the original soundtrack that will come out with our first title.”
Scheduled for a 2016 release, the company’s premier title, “Memories of Aeldaria” is an epic 3-D high-fantasy, action adventure video game. Full release is coming in March, according to Myriam, who says she is excited to be a Sony licensed partner on the project.
“We applied via Sony Computer Entertainment’s Partnership Program that can be found online via their site. After submitting our games design documentation, verification of incorporation status, and other documents we were moved along in the process to signing an agreement with them. This partnership program allows us access to development tools for their platforms and allows us to publish titles via their digital marketplace. If this title is successful, then that will cement us as a company. It will also lay the groundwork for us to be able to bring in more talent and launch future titles.”
In addition to being a vice president, assistant creative director, human resources administrator and voice actress with Grand Arc Designs, Myriam has a full-time job with the Illinois Department of Employment Security.
“I’m an employment security program representative,” she explained. “I get to help people look for work. Funny, because I always said that looking for work was a job in itself. It’s a pretty good feeling to be able to point people in the right direction, give them job leads, refer them to jobs, and help them create resumes that reflect their skills and qualifications. It’s a better feeling when they come in smiling to let me know they were hired!”
While some people may feel overwhelmed by the workload and dedication required to launch a new company while helping people prepare for and find the right job, she thrives off the challenges of life and is her happiest when she’s reaching for the stars.
“I plan on staying with IDES and continuing my work with Grand Arc Designs,” she said “I’ll be recording both music and dialogue as we move forward for our premiere title, but I’m sure the management and corporate responsibilities will increase as we get funding. I’ve also started talks with someone about some videography work, so there’s an overhaul of my YouTube account and artist site in the near future which will keep me hopping. I think at this point it’s becoming more and more important as Grand Arc Designs gains more publicity. The sky’s the limit — and I’m reaching for it.”