PUMA employee at work

Those who risk, win.

Con O’Brien Junior Designer Teamsport Footwear

At 23 years old Con O’brien is an open, happy young man. He takes things in stride, he’s eager to learn, willing to share and is friendly. To see his work and listen to him talk, one would think that his life has been filled success and smooth sailing. But the truth is a severe learning disability called Dyslexia prevented Con from reading well or achieving in school.

person standing before Maradona painting

Always creative, Con spent his childhood customizing everything he could get his hands on. "I was adding graphics to my lunch boxes, backpacks, soccer boots and phone cases." He got into graffiti as a teenager because it was dynamic and colorful. The culture was a total departure from the world of rules he could never seem to get right in school.

Con opted to study graffiti and street art with a mentor in his hometown of County Cork, Ireland, rather than attending traditional design school. "This was a risk," he admits, "but it paid off."

PUMA employee

PUMA is more interested in what you can do than what your portfolio looks like.

Con O’Brien Junior Designer Teamsport Footwear

"I saw a job posting online that PUMA was looking for someone with a graffiti background. I thought that without a degree I might have no chance. But at the interview they were much more open-minded and relaxed than I had expected. PUMA is more interested in what you can do, what your portfolio looks like."

PUMA also took a risk. We believed in Con, seeing his unconventional education and life experience as a benefit instead of a liability. Con’s story is a testament to the power of creative endurance and to those people who believe in us.

In the short two and a half years since Con started at PUMA, he’s gotten to brainstorm shoe ideas with star footballers Thierry Henry and Antoine Griezmann as well as experience the launch and success of a football boot he helped to design. Little did he know the fast pace and outside-the-box thinking of street art would prepare him perfectly for the speed of his future at PUMA.