Our Team

We’re more than just a design firm

We are tango dancers, die-hard Mets fans, chronic bloggers, actresses, intrepid travelers, and crayfish aficionados, community organizers, and gourmet cooks. We’re involved in trade associations and industry groups that let us take our passion for design out of the studio, and into the real world of advocacy. Our staff members have lived in about a dozen countries and speak multiple languages. This mosaic of life experience contributes to better design, better client relationships, and better results for our clients.


Lara J. Kisielewska, Founder

Lara founded Optimum Design & Consulting in 1992 after completing a B.S. in Graphic Communications Management and Technology at New York University. Lara has been an active member of the Graphic Artists Guild since 1992, has been on the National Board since 1998, and is currently National President. She has also been a member of the New York Chapter of the National Association of Woman Business Owners (NAWBO-NYC) since 1992, including Chapter President from 2004 to 2005, and she currently sits on the Board as a non-voting advisor. Lara has won multiple awards for her volunteer work from both entities.

Fun Fact

Lara takes off-the-beaten-track road trips whenever possible.
Lara Kisielewska

Rebecca Blake, Design Director

Rebecca has worked as a professional graphic designer since 1990 and has worked at Optimum for more than 20 years. She designs and oversees the creation of logos and identity systems, websites and online media, brochures and print collateral, presentations, publications, direct mail, signage, vehicle wraps, and advertising. Rebecca is the Advocacy Liaison for the Graphic Artists Guild, where she monitors upcoming legislation on copyrights and issues relevant to visual artists, and writes articles on design and illustration for the Guild’s news blog. She is also the Treasurer of ico-D, the International Council of Design.

Fun Fact

Rebecca advocates for designers on six continents.
Photograph @ Caroline Kessler
Photograph @ Caroline Kessler

Raymond Mongroo, Web Director

Raymond has been Optimum’s web director for more than 15 years. He is an expert in WordPress-based websites and oversees all website development, technical support, and trainings. Raymond is a graduate of St. Stephen’s College in Trinidad and Katharine Gibbs School in New York City.

Fun Fact

Raymond owns more pairs of shoes than he’ll admit to.

Christie Petrone, Project Manager

For nearly two decades, Christie has worked in a variety of communications project management roles, leading projects cross-departmentally and directing production schedules for both print and digital products. At Optimum, Christie oversees graphics and website development processes from initiation through final delivery, standardizing protocols, ensuring brand consistency, maintaining project timelines and budgets, providing stakeholder updates, proofing projects, and managing the approval process. Christie successfully bridges the gap between stakeholders to ensure clarity on projects’ scope, messaging, and creative direction. She also is an experienced writer and copy-editor.

Fun Fact

Christie survives on a diet of Sour Patch Kids.
Christie Petrone
swirl ornament