Those Who Leap - Trailhead

Agency: Critical Mass


A furniture designer. A theater artist. A law enforcement professional. A trio of interrupters. At CM, we innovate our work in the industry every day—so why not innovate how we find the folks who do it? Finding bold career changers is one of the things that Trailhead, our junior talent development program, does so well.

Here are three unconventional career changers who exemplify the kind of problem solving that becomes possible when you look past the present and consider the unusual.

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Louis Ralli: THE BUILDER

Louis STARTS with Lego. Squares. Rectangles. Sometimes oddball round pieces that six-year-old Louis puzzles out, abandoning the box’s instructions.

LATER, in school, Louis trades plastic building blocks for aluminum, nylon, heat forming acrylic sheets. Makes a chair that gets cast in a starring role at the Milan furniture fair, which is a big fricking deal.

NEXT up: ceramics. Louis and his sister Sophie make a teacup that nestles like a small hand into an exquisitely designed identical teacup. Many want to buy these teacups.

LEAP – Louis considers UX. This isn’t like traditional design, because it’s fast. It’s agile. And it’s digital, so he’s never stuck with an object that isn’t quite right.

Louis designs teacups that nestle, stepstools that swivel, chairs that hug. And now online experiences as carefully constructed as a Lego castle.

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Gwen’s story STARTS with stories.

Gwen tells stories. That’s what her first teachers say. Her proud parents would tell you the same thing. Gwen doesn’t care – she’s too busy hiding under the table drawing an elaborate charcoal illustration of her grandparents’ feet, because that’s a story, too.

LATER, Gwen tells more stories, as seen in playbills, her name in the cast, then as the playwright, then again as the director of the theater itself.

NEXT: she becomes a parent to two beautiful kids and they are a LOT of WORK, and so for a while, everything is winding, repetitive stories about monster trucks, diesel trains, and unicorns.

LEAP: Gwen takes a jump—writing the stories of some of the biggest brands in the world, and all the while? Still leaving to pick up the kids at 3:15.

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Nikita Parmar: THE EMPATH

For Nikita, it STARTS with a sense of justice. That the world has a right way up. And Nikita wants to be a part of that right way up.

As a courtroom clerk, she listens to people on their Very Bad Days. She transcribes these Very Bad Days in front of the judge while they speak of the crimes they committed, the affronts committed against them. Then she hands over plastic baggies filled with physical pieces of these Very Bad Days.

LATER: Nikita is a legal assistant at a prosecutor’s office. Now she can sit longer with people’s Very Bad Days, all the way from beginning to end.

NEXT: Nikita does something called Law Enforcement Oversight, policing the police. It suddenly colors police work differently. So maybe she doesn’t want to do that after all.

What does it all have in common?

The synthesis of an eye for detail and an open heart.

LEAP: Nikita tries UX design. What is UX if not embracing the experience of someone who thinks differently than you?

Who else is out there? We want to know your story.

Trailhead welcomes bold career changers—those who dare to leap. 

To learn more about Trailhead, our emerging talent development program, go to

Critical Mass