SLP mentee Zay tells us more about her journey into the creative industries

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

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

I'm particularly interested in branding, collaborations and partnerships marketing. I think collaborating is the way forward. Marketing itself is a broad industry but, in relation to visuals, it opens the doors to many different mediums/formats and it is an overall good space to be able to communicate ideas and collaborate across different creative styles.

Also, the way people engage with brands is always changing and recently there’s been an even bigger shift towards authentic brand identities and meaning. Plus a focus on “originality” and value. The focus on value (and social responsibility) is very interesting to me.

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

I think there are different levels of accessibility. I think unpaid internships or work experience are quite accessible, but whilst internships are readily available the progression/or routes to higher level positions are not always clear. It typically takes years to progress.

It’s sometimes just a case of know who to ask and what to ask. Websites such as Create Jobs' is a good place to find out where the opportunities might be. With that said, it's a lot of "who you know" in creative industries.

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


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, a “guru” or advisor, I think it’s undeniably beneficial.

It's important to be able to gain knowledge and guidance from an expert or 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 particularly 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, who’s been a great mentor; encouraging me to be very practical, strategic and proactive! She's a Managing Partner at the creative agency, Snap.

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 were able to work on a formula that I am now implementing. I usually present my ideas on a mood board so practising pitching them was a great process. I’ve been proactively developing my portfolio and my mentor has helped me secure some work experience with an agency that was number one on my list. So I’m very excited about that!

We're just halfway through the Meet a Mentor process but Louisa has helped me a lot already. Things move quickly when you work alongside someone who's been there and done it before you. I always appreciate her time and valuable advice.

My interests are very broad and coming into this process I didn’t necessarily specify what one role I was working towards. Depending on the creative industry, the roles can get blurred and the job titles don't always clearly relay what the job actually involves so this was the type of clarity/direction I needed.

I also really like Marie Forleo, she’s like my virtual mentor. She uploads interviews, life and business advice videos online; she’s like a mentor in my head. But one significant difference between a “virtual mentor” and the real life mentor is the accountability. Accountability always beats willpower.

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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 and still not really being addressed), 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 "the same" in the creative industry. Which takes away some of the authenticity in creativity. Some industries are more superficial than others but I would like to see more originality and less “hype”.

There’s 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 so far it's interesting. I’m studying Entrepreneurship part-time at Goldsmiths University (Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship).

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

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

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