Friday, January 05, 2018

Meet The Man Who Grabbed His Dream and Rode It To Success

Written by Shane Smith, Editor, Stonewall Gazette

It can be a challenge to find a career that you love, to wake up every day with the excitement of knowing that you are living your dream life.

For automotive designer Bryan Thompson, finding that rare sweet spot in life was not an easy journey.

Car design was a "pipe dream", according to 'advice' Thompson received from a guidance counselor. Instead, Thompson made the bold choice to travel Europe and visit every car design studio he could get into. Later, he graduated from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan.

Thompson says, "I think if you’re a designer, you’re one from the beginning. We are born with certain sensibilities. Long before you have the words to articulate why you see the world differently than your friends or family do, and way before you can draw what you see. You’re born straight or gay, and you’re born a designer. Once you figure those two things out, the world is an amazing place."

Building a career takes more than just dedication and focus. It takes passion. Thompson's appearances on TV shows such as Good Morning America reveal the ardor of his life's work.

As gay men we often find a career that we love but have to hide or down play who we are. Thompson strongly believes we must stand up for ourselves whenever we can.

"I can remember an incident at a car studio where I was designing when a visiting design director made a loudly voiced homophobic slur while reviewing a car in the viewing court. Very calmly, I waited until he finished talking, aware that my colleagues shared the uncomfortable tension he had created, and I walked over to him, firmly took hold of his coat sleeve, and asked him to take a short walk with me. I won’t go into details of the ensuing conversation, but by the time we returned to the viewing court, he readdressed the team, and officially apologized." says Thompson.

Over the years Thompson has become a popular contributor to various mainstream publications and gay media. His profile grew greater after appearing on Motor City Masters, a car design reality TV competition show. Thompson came in second, receiving a cash prize of $75,000 and a new Camaro Z28.

Thompson says that one of his professional goals was to create a scholarship for LGBT students interested in car design. He was able to do did just that with the cash winnings from Motor City Masters. "My goal is to find that kid out there who is being told there is something wrong with him. And I want him to know that he is right and everyone else is wrong."

What is your dream career? Perhaps you are living your dream life now. For Bryan Thompson it was car design and being inspired to give back to his community. "I feel that, as our careers mature, it’s important to help the generation that comes after you."

You can learn more about Bryan Thompson Design Scholarship here.

Here's a Sneak Peek at Bryan Thompson's Design Scholarship Calendar - Woof!

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