Spotlight on Guide: Scott Sleek

Jan 19, 2021
Scott hiking with his wife, Jiwon. 

Scott Sleek semi-retired about a year ago. Yet, retiring for Scott meant a shift in direction, not a stop. He’s not thinking of stopping being a part of things he loves anytime soon.

“I knew I still wanted to keep busy. I was doing freelance and consulting work when I stumbled on GetSetUp in a random Google search.”

Scott felt being a Guide looked like an interesting opportunity. So he developed an iPhone photography class for his demo class back in the summer of 2020. He’s been leading photography courses ever since.

He spent his career in the communication field. He worked as a reporter, as a non-profit communications director, and as a consultant for telecommunications companies. He picked up photography 20 years ago and it quickly became a passion.

“I really enjoy photography. I have even started doing a bit of that in terms of paid gigs as a portrait photographer.”
One of Scott's many amazing photographs from his collection. 

While it’s not portrait photography, Scott enjoys teaching the Selfie class on GetSetUp as he finds it lots of fun.

“That’s where there is the most laughter. I try to keep these classes light and informative. I make fun of myself with some of my own really bad selfies as an example of what not to do.”

Looking at the lighter side of life is part of why Scott really enjoys teaching the Magic of Photo Apps class.

“With mobile apps that you can download, you can do fun and different things with photos. I love the thrill of seeing people’s eyes pop wide open when they see some of the things the apps can do. Some can turn photos into a surreal painting or make them 3D. It’s fun!”

Expanding Creativity from Visual to Verbal Expression

Scott is also branching out from photography and starting to teach blogging on Medium.

“Having been a writer all my professional career, I’m enjoying showing people where they can find a writing outlet that fits their needs.”

Scott enjoys teaching these creative classes. He finds that many people are interested in fine-tuning or expanding their creativity.

“Anyone who is really wanting to tap into their own creativity, whether that is photography or art, and wants to get better at it will hopefully enjoy my classes. My classes help hone artistic skills. They are good for anyone interested in photography as a hobby or anyone who wants to get better at it -- especially if they want to understand how to use smartphones to take better photos.”

Scott is brimming with ideas on new classes like Photoshop, photo composition, and tips for good writing. These could be classes you see from him in the future. No matter what class Scott is teaching he loves to hear each learner’s objectives.

“I like to know I helped steer a learner on their way toward reaching a personal goal.”

Scott knows that learners are coming from different learning journeys, so he tries to make classes as informative and welcoming as possible.

“I really like to disseminate a lot of information. I strive to be thorough.  I also want to be friendly, understanding, and patient. There are some people who feel sometimes feel condescended or made to feel stupid when they have a technical question. I am really trying to assure that people do not come away with that feeling and that they feel comfortable to ask whatever they want to ask. I hope they come out with some skill they lacked before and were maybe initially intimidated to try to develop.”

Learners Use Their Skills To Create Photo Magic

Many learners are coming away with new skills. So they are leaving great feedback to share with other learners, friends, and family.

Lois in New York was able to make a photobook for her mother that brings back all the memories of her mom’s 90th birthday party. Plus Sandra from Michigan said,

“This class was one of the most inspirational classes that I have ever attended! I love desktop publishing and photography and looked forward to this class for days. It exceeded my expectations and I am looking forward to exploring all of the photo book programs that were recommended. I will use these often for a variety of projects and plan to recommend this class to all of my friends. As a result of taking this class, I have connected with some preschools and have two interviews this week. I will be doing remote desktop publishing that will incorporate some of the concepts that I have learned in this class. It was a catalyst for inspirational change, and I am grateful for the nudge. I plan upon attending the class again, and several others.”

Scott doesn’t just teach how to take pictures, though. He is also showing learners how to save those photos and how to back them up so they do not lose them. Plus some of the apps even automatically help to organize and categorize photos.

Growing Through New Experiences

In his spare time, Scott loves to go to the gym, travel, and ski, though all have been a bit tough to do over the past year. He’s hoping to get better at his gym routine this year. To make that happen he and his wife are trying a new home workout to see if it sticks! He also looks forward to the day when he and his wife, Jiwon, can travel again, as those trips give Scott ample opportunity for photography.

Scott's dog Maggie resting in the sun.

He spends a lot of time reading and going on hikes with Jiwon and their dog Maggie. Scott and Jiwon love stand-up comedy and see live performances at the DC comedy clubs when they can. Heading into DC this year is something that Scott hasn't done so much of, so he has enjoyed being a part of the GetSetUp team right from his home.

“I really enjoy the other GetSetUp staff members. They have been really encouraging. I enjoy working for GetSetUp as I have always tried to stick to work that I felt had a good purpose and provides some kind of benefit to people. I feel like I’m seeing that directly based on what people tell me in the middle of class and based on the feedback I get. It’s nice to see you are making a difference in someone’s life.”

Photos aren’t the only advantage learners find in classes. Interaction and support in the community have been a huge help for people, according to some of the feedback that Scott has gotten. He said a number of learners in his classes were recently widowed. Some talked about how they appreciated the connection, moral support, and interaction of the classes. This community environment is a key component of GetSetUp's charm.

“I’m really excited to see how much GetSetUp is growing. I’ve never worked for a startup before so watching how it evolves has been exciting.”

Learn more about Scott in the Get to Know the Guide - Social Hour on Wednesday, January 27.  Find out why he’s interested in South Korea and learn his latest favorite book!

Social Hour - Get To Know a Guide

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