How 2023 FORM Finalist Meaghan Maass Networked at NeoCon to Land Her Dream Job

2023 FORM finalist Meaghan Maass took advantage of the stage at NeoCon to begin her professional career

Meaghan Maass

Last year, Meaghan Maass won third place in Formica Corporation’s 2023 FORM Student Design Competition with her entry, “Mooi Modular Storage.” As one of the competition’s top three winners, Meaghan joined Formica Corporation at NeoCon, a week-long event in Chicago highlighting innovative solutions in office furniture and commercial design. At NeoCon, Meaghan networked and landed her dream job. This is her story.

Meaghan Maass

Formica Corporation: Tell us how your journey toward finding your first job began.


Meaghan Maass: It's a bit of a long story, so buckle up. Early last year, I participated in the FORM 2023 Student Innovation Competition held by Formica. I secured third place in the competition, and as part of the prize, the top three winners were flown to Chicago to attend NeoCon. At NeoCon, Formica had organized numerous amazing events and opportunities for us, including speaking on a panel as part of that year's NeoCon Talks. The panel's moderator was Katie Sargent from Work Design Magazine.


Formica Corporation: And is that where your networking journey began?


Meaghan Maass: Yes! I absolutely love talking about design, being creative, and navigating the early stages of my professional journey. Having the opportunity to do that on the NeoCon Talks stage was phenomenal.


Formica Corporation: So, after NeoCon, you finished up school and entered the workforce. Then what happened?


Meaghan Maass: Yes. A few months after I graduated, I decided to pursue my dream job. Thankfully, due to my trip to Chicago, I had met lots of people in the industry. My first step in the job search was reaching out to those connections, asking if they knew of any opportunities or people I should connect with, Katie being one of them. Katie connected me with her mother, Kay Sargent, who is the Director of Workplace at HOK. I was able to connect with Kay, and she graciously forwarded my resume and portfolio to the HOK Toronto office. I then had an interview and was hired!


Formica Corporation: That’s incredible that you were able to achieve your dream job because of one event!


Meaghan Maass: One of the reasons I fell in love with the design industry was the people and the community. I can't thank Kay and Katie enough, as I wouldn't be in the position I am now without them!


Formica Corporation: So, what is your role on the HOK team?


Meaghan Maass: I am a full-time designer on the interiors team, specifically focusing on the workplace design team.


Formica Corporation: What are your thoughts on attending NeoCon as a FORM Competition winner? Any favorite memories that stick out?


Meaghan Maass: NeoCon was mind-blowing as a new grad. It is floor after floor filled with everything you could ever want as a designer. I wandered around for a few hours with my jaw basically on the floor; it was so cool. It would have been extremely overwhelming, but thankfully, we were taken on an extensive tour with Renee Hytry-Derrington (Managing Principal of Design at Formica). She showed us all the highlights and introduced us to many people along the way, providing an amazing first NeoCon experience.


Formica Corporation: That’s pretty meaningful and fun for a young professional!


Meaghan Maass: It was! Like I said, I wouldn't have the job I have now if it weren't for the FORM competition. I think it is such an amazing opportunity for students, not only to be creative and experiment, but the opportunities that I have been graced with since placing in it have been priceless.


Formica Corporation: Any advice for students submitting FORM entries and for graduating job seekers in general?


Meaghan Maass: Don't be afraid to experiment or take a risk. Ask questions, even if you think they're silly. Go after your dreams; you have no idea where life will take you in your professional career. It is never too early or too late to pursue it.


Formica Corporation: Wise words! Thank you, Meaghan for being a part of Formica Corporation’s FORM Competition and for sharing your experience. We’re so excited to see how your design career continues to evolve and grow!


If you are a student and are interested in this years FORM competition, learn more here FORM Student Innovation Competition | Formica Corporation



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