Global Alumni Spotlight: From Student to Founder
Tayseer Almattar, class of 2012, began his career at NC State University to complete his Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering. Little did he know that his experiences would lead him to build TforDesign, a design innovation brand. Both inside and outside the classroom, Tayseer says he was allowed the opportunity to “re-discover” himself.
Engagement at NC State University
For Tayseer, it’s hard to pinpoint one particular memory as the pinnacle of his personal experience at State. Whether it be extracurriculars or activities with friends, he has a large collection of memories that would rank highly in his experiences list. Through programs such as basket weaving, Alternative Service Break trips, and volunteering with the Office of International Services, he was able to take advantage of everything NC State has to offer. One program stood out to Tayseer as he reflected on his experience.
“When it comes to my current work, the Entrepreneurship Initiative (EI) at NC State had the biggest impact,” says Tayseer. “At the EI, I realized my professional passion for both entrepreneurship and design, two areas that still guide my professional life today. I still vividly remember the conversations we had at the EI about bootstrapping, managing money, leaps of faith, and others. Without them, my life today would be very different than it is today. During this journey, we were supported by Stephen Walsh, Seth Hollar, and Tom Miller.”
Originally from Saudi Arabia, Tayseer came to NC State University as an international student. Throughout his time, he was able to engage with his peers, professors, and community members to develop a deeper understanding of the cultural diversity of our institution.
“Looking back,” Tayseer reflects “volunteering with the Office of International Services provided me with a solid foundation in cross-cultural management in a way that exceeded any professional training I took on the subject after leaving NC State. Without this foundation, exploring cross-border opportunities would have been harder.”
Tayseer currently resides in Hong Kong and says a lot of the work he does is with individuals from across the globe. Tayseer states, “Most of my colleagues, clients, and friends have very different cultural backgrounds than myself.”
Tayseer’s work developing TforDesign began in 2013 as a side project. Since then, he has used skills learned at NC State to develop it into a business that “influences lives through design education.” With design innovation and design education consultancy services, TforDesign has come a long way from its first iteration.
“On a professional level, I have to give a shoutout to Stephen Walsh. Dr. Walsh was my instructor and mentor at the Entrepreneurship Initiative. Through him, I got realistic insights into what entrepreneurship entails beyond the rosy image many tend to paint. I still remember his chats about finance expectations, interacting with potential customers, and challenging the status quo.”
Tayseer developed relationships and skills outside of his major that he continues to leverage in his business. He hopes that other students take this into consideration when developing their plan of action for a successful academic career.
“Don’t hold yourself from exploring other areas outside of your study major. Your major might not fully define who you are. It doesn’t hurt much to try new things and explore both on professional and personal levels. You might end up bumping into a goose that lays golden eggs of happiness and satisfaction. If you are out on an intentional journey of discovery, always be kind to yourself while at it.”