I was born in 1987 in the South of Bronx, New York City, at Lincoln Hospital, to two proud Salvadoran parents, Carlos and Sandra Montoya. Growing up poor in the 90s in New York, my Latino family imbued a deep cultural indoctrination and understanding of what it means to have fun, work, and love hard.
I grew up with a healthy dose of city life. Street hockey, novelas, handball, small apartments, merengue, pupusas, salsa, bachata, cumbia, family trips, cousins, Coney Island, chancletas, and all that is New York City.
Full of ambition, at 19 years old with only 76 dollars, no job, and rent due at the end of the month, I moved to San Diego, eyes wide shut, naive, and imperfectly prepared for being an adult. Unknowingly and somewhat unintentionally, my career started when I convinced a local residential house cleaning company to let me design their logo and website. The rest of my career followed a similar autodidact cycle — "a new challenge, I wonder, let's figure this out."
Since then, I've learned a lot and worked on some fun, new, and known challenges — from drawing up logos to leading design for startups and multi-billion dollar tech companies. Over a decade of my career, I have learned what it takes to launch apps that consistently reach the top 10 of all apps in the iOS App Store. I can scale with a growing startup or scale down when funding is tight. I can lead creative organizations through ambitious acquisitions or massive company-making pivots, most recently at the outset of a global pandemic. It is incredible to know that what I've worked on is still having an enormous positive impact on the lives of millions of people; what a privilege it is to be a designer.
My partner and I married in those early years, and I'm happy to report we have figured out a few things but are still muddling through what it takes to be there for our growing family. Now a husband, father of three, and happily a designer, what is true remains — I'm still ambitious and learning from my mistakes.