Meet Angelina Sereno: One Day in San Diego Ambassador
Angelina Sereno is one of our One Day on Earth Ambassadors. After 12 years in branding and advertising, she decided to take the leap and tell the stories of inspirational people full-time. Her travel films are nothing short of breath-taking. Plus, she has a pretty great vision of where San Diego can go in the future. We are excited to have her on board!
Who are you and what is your profession?
My name is Angelina and I’m an Entrepreneur/Branding Expert/Web Designer turned Filmmaker. As my business grew and evolved, I quickly realized that to be an expert at any one thing, focus is required, so in 2013, I decided to make the switch to film full-time.
Can you tell us a little about your background and upbringing?
I’ve lived in many places, including San Diego, New York, San Fransisco, England, and even Southeast Asia for a short time.
At the early age of 6 months old, my parents realized they were growing in different directions and decided to go their separate ways. My father took my sister and I to San Diego while my mother moved to India for a few years in search of greater purpose and meaning studying alongside her Guru, Osho.
Throughout the course of my life, my sister and I bounced back and forth between our parents respective homes, fortunately almost always moving together. We never stayed in one area or school long enough to get too comfortable which gave us a unique strength and ability to adapt quickly to new environments.
With my mother being a traveling gypsy/artist and my father being a successful dean of a university, I had both the influence of creativity and business in my life. It is through this blend of perspectives that I have found entrepreneurial success along with an immense amount of passion and love for what I do.
What inspired you to become a filmmaker?
It is my mission to tell stories of people and organizations who are doing something to change the world. I believe film is the most engaging and dynamic art form and one that will allow for the widest distribution of important messages today.
Film has always been my passion and what I intended to study when I started at the Art Institute of CA in 1999, but there were no film programs at the time so I studied Advertising to get a base knowledge of all things related to media and arts. My skills in graphic design progressed quickly which lead me to a position at Euro Style Advertising for 6 years and eventually inspired me to open my own creative agency in 2006. With a focus on branding and web design, Skybox Creative grew to a team of 12 people and a beautiful office in the heart of Hillcrest.
I had all the trappings of material success, but in the back of my mind I wasn’t completely happy with the direction I had taken.
Then last year, I had a flash of clarity about my life and my purpose on this planet… Thanks to a short video I stumbled upon by the incredible Mr. Alan Watts, I asked myself the question: “If money were no object, what would I do with my life?” The answer came without a moment of hesitation: “I would travel the world and create meaningful film projects”. The good news is, there are plenty of ways to make money doing that… So I took all the steps required to make it a reality, including letting go of my staff, selling my furniture and taking off on a trip around the world. Now that I’m back, I’m fired up with passion and purpose as I dive into film full-time.
Who or what do you most admire?
I am inspired and motivated by stories of human greatness.
I admire people who are willing to take risks, to make the difficult choices and sacrifices to help others and make a positive impact in the world. I’m always curious about the “why” and the “how” behind these stories and intend on telling them in a way that inspires others towards purpose and action.
What do you love about San Diego?
What’s not to love? It’s one of the most amazing cities in the world (and I’ve seen quite a few places)!
We have the ocean, perfect weather, incredible people living healthy/conscious lifestyles, lots of hiking trails, delicious craft beer and we’re only 2 hours away from the desert and the mountains. We’re close to LA (which is great for filmmakers), Vegas, Mexico and more but without the heavy traffic or the chaos. To top it off, we have tons of cute neighborhoods all with their own unique vibe and style.
There is a wealth of opportunity but also nature and an overall laid back attitude. We have the best of everything… San Diego is where my heart lives!
What do you fear most for San Diego?
Although we’ve come a long way, we still have quite a ways to go in 2 key areas: Sustainability and Education.
There is still a lack of awareness or implementation of strategies for a more sustainable future, including: systems for recycling (on the streets and in public places), public transportation systems (to avoid excessive consumption of natural resources), the accessibility of local/organic produce, a balance between nature and development, the impact of over-consumption, etc.
The issue with education is not only about understanding our impact on the planet but also the education system in general. Traditional public schools teach students to sit still, be quiet, follow directions and think like the group while teaching many topics and theories that are completely irrelevant to success. As a result, we’ve created and continue to foster a general population that hasn’t developed their critical thinking and problem solving skills, is afraid to think outside the box and continues to perpetuate many of the problems we’ve created through this type of thinking. Instead, we need a system that teaches empowerment, personal accountability, authentic communication, compassion and creativity with regard to expression and problem solving.
What do you hope for San Diego in the next 20 years?
I hope for San Diego to be a city where 100% of businesses are designed with the greater good of humanity in mind. Whether it’s a non-profit or a for-profit business, it is my hope that “people over profits” is a concept that is fully embraced and prioritized. From poverty alleviation to environmental sustainability and re-invented education systems, we have to come together with compassion (aka love), patience and creativity to change the ways we live in order for us to survive and thrive for generations to come.
I also hope for San Diego to be a leader in the green movement through innovative problem solving, action and advocacy.
Check out more of Angelina's work: http://angelinasereno.com
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