Vidya Menon, up the hill with designs worth a thousand words


Palakkad: On the occasion of the International Women’s Day today, we present a special feature on Vidya Menon, Entrepreneur and Creative Art Director of Hill View Studio, a start-up online graphic and design enterprise. Read on find out what makes Vidya special and why we chose to feature her and not any big shot jet setting lady CXO from the IT industry in Kerala.

Vidya, who is basically from Palakkad in Kerala is based out of Coimbatore. The only child of her parents, she did her schooling in Coimbatore and Bangalore. “I didn’t continue my further studies in India because I couldn’t find any suitable colleges for the hearing impaired. I went to USA and graduated with an Associate Degree in Digital Imaging and Publishing Technology at Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY. With the help of note-takers and interpreters, I have learnt many new things. I have gained lot of self-confidence and independence”, says Vidya.

She also did her Bachelor of Art (Graphic Design) from Curtin University, Australia at Limkokwing University (Malaysia campus) and worked in an advertising agency in Bangalore before embarking on her journey as an entrepreneur, the result being Hill View Studio.

On being asked the reason behind starting her own venture, Vidya said, “I found it difficult to find proper placement because of my hearing impairment even though I have good designing skills. I have experiences in designing logos, website designs, packaging designs, book cover layouts, calendar layout designs, and brochures. Some of my friends also found difficulties in finding jobs with good salary. So we thought of starting our own design studio”.

“But this is just my beginning as a woman entrepreneur. I have heard of many problems faced by women entrepreneurs but I have seen them come up successfully in their life. There are many successful deaf women who inspired me to overcome my difficulties due to my hearing impairment. If we have good skills, courage and self-confidence, we can come up successfully in life”, comments Vidya.

Speaking on her challenges of being hearing impaired, apart from the stigma of being called ‘deaf and dumb’, she said, “During my childhood, I used to hate the effort I had to put in my studies, sound recognition and speech therapy. My parents made me go through lots of practice in order to improve myself. Without their support, my skills and speech would not be what it is now. Studying in USA really helped me to overcome my difficulties and today I am able to communicate with hearing people on my own without depending on others.”

“With my deaf friends, I communicate through sign language. At workplace, I communicate with my team mates by speech. I can talk reasonably well and lip read. If they do not understand, I write down on paper. Some of them learnt the sign language from me because they want to make our communication easier. With my clients, I usually communicate through emails or texting (SMS)”, adds Vidya.

As we wind up, Vidya says, “I enjoy working as a graphic designer and I like to create unique designs. In spite of being hearing impaired, I am capable of doing something on my own.”

So the next time you have some design work, check out, email or text her but don’t call her!

Anil Philip
Kerala IT News


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