Meet a Mentee profile on… Zay!

We are profiling our second cohort of mentees on their career goals and their opinions on the current climate of the creative industries.

Zay and her mentor, Louisa

What area of the creative industries do you work in and why does it interest you?

I’m currently working as a Marketing Executive and I also have a background in Education and Visual Arts.

I’m particularly interested in branding, collaborations and partnerships within the marketing sector. Marketing is a broad industry but it opens doors to many different mediums. It interests me because it is a good space to communicate ideas and collaborate across different creative styles. It also ensures that the way people engage with brands is constantly changing. Recently, there’s been a big shift towards authentic brand identities and a focus on their ‘originality’ and value. In particular, this focus on value and social responsibility really interests me.

How accessible do you think jobs in the creative industries are?

I think there are different levels of accessibility.

Unpaid internships and work experience are quite accessible and while internships are readily available, the progression into higher level positions are not always possible. It can take years. I think it is sometimes just a case of knowing who to ask and what to ask. Websites such as Create Jobs are a good place to find out about opportunities but at the same time, it’s a lot of “who you know” in the creative industries.

I know millennials get a lot of flak for a lack of commitment but I think it’s important to get as many different experiences as you can.

How important are mentors in the creative industries?

I think mentors are crucial in all industries and in life in general. Even if it means creating a mentor out of an online community, “guru” or advisor, I think it’s undeniably beneficial.

It’s important to gain knowledge and guidance from someone who’s been there and done that. Having a mentor also gives you a different perspective, especially if your mentor has been on the hiring side of the industry, they’re clued up on what other potential employers or clients are looking for and how best to approach them. It’s also good practice to learn how to share your ideas with someone.

My mentor is Louisa Tapper, Managing Partner at SNAP London, who’s been a great mentor; encouraging me to be practical, strategic and proactive! Recently, she recently put me on the spot by asking me to present a few ideas I had sent her, and in those few minutes she was able to give me feedback and we worked on a formula that I am now implementing. I usually present my ideas on a mood board so practicing my pitching skills was great experience.

I’ve also been proactively developing my portfolio and my mentor has helped me to secure some work experience with an agency that was number one on my list. So I’m very excited about that!

My interests are very broad and coming into this process I didn’t necessarily specify what role I was working towards and so another thing Louisa has helped me with is defining what roles to go for based on my interests. Depending on the industry, the roles can get blurred and the job titles do not always clearly relay what the job actually involves so this was the type of clarity and direction I needed.

We’re just half way through the Meet a Mentor process but Louisa has helped me so much already. I always appreciate her time and valuable advice.

I also really like Marie Forleo, she’s like my virtual mentor. She uploads interviews, life and business advice videos online.

What’s the one thing you would change about the industry you’re trying to get to?

Besides the obvious issues with unpaid internships and ethnic diversity, which is nothing new, I would encourage more collaboration across creative industries. I think collaboration is key. More creatives should collaborate with each other without the fear of competition.

I would also change the lack of originality. I think there’s a lot of “the same” in the creative industries, which takes away some of the authenticity in creativity. Some sectors are more superficial than others but I would like to see more originality and less “hype”.

There’s also a lot of haziness between “inspiration” and copying.

We need more diversity, originality and value.

Tell us one (or more?) fun fact(s) about you.

1. Not sure if my MA classifies as “fun” but it’s been interesting so far. I’m studying Entrepreneurship part time at Goldsmiths University, the Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship.

2. I’m currently obsessing over all things video; editing, stop motion and GIFs! I’m often busy making stop motion videos for Huxe.

3. I only paint my nails gold. I’ve been painting my nails the same matte gold colour for at least the last five years. The particular nail polish has since been discontinued. I’m down to my last two bottles and thus on the search for an almost identical replacement.