“To thrive in 21st century business we need to be willing to shed our own skin, think more creatively and strategically, be collaborative and reinvent ourselves to change with the times.”
Artisan Spotlight is a new monthly feature dedicated to the amazing talent we work with. This is an opportunity for you, the talent, to share your career experiences and impart your knowledge and advice to others. Want to be featured here? Get in touch!
This month we spoke to Nina. We met Nina back in late 2013 at a networking event and have worked with her ever since. Nina works in Brand, Digital and Marketing Communications Strategy and specializes in strategically building brands to engage their audiences, start movements and increase their revenue and growth.
Why did you decide to shift from corporate to creative?
I started to observe and experience patterns in the corporate world, both when I was an employee and as a consultant. One being that all of the innovation, strategy and ideas, and creative thinking and design were being outsourced to creative firms and agencies and not coming from inside the organization (nor was it being asked of the internal teams). There was also a pattern of downsizing the internal teams and those who were left were being tasked to function as project managers vs. strategic thinkers.
I’m a visionary, strategist and creative thinker and while I was hired into companies for those talents, I found myself being pigeon-holed into being solely a project manager and becoming less valued for what I actually provided. I thrive in creative environments where I can invent and discover new and innovative ways to communicate and reach audiences. I found myself withering on the vine and becoming less engaged and enlivened by my career and utterly uninspired.
Some deep self-exploration had me start to identify these things and create a new vision for my career and the experience I was looking for. Based on what I identified as important and my own personality and skill set; tech-start ups and creative agencies became the playground I was interested in playing in. Their approach to business and creative problem solving is more aligned with mine. I’ve discovered that I’m really a creative who knows business.
What were your biggest challenges during this time?
Shifting my own mindset
I had to stop thinking like a corporate person to create solutions and strategy and start thinking like someone in a small growing business and what their challenges might be and how they might approach creating a Brand/Marketing Communications strategy and execute it with smaller resources. I also had to set aside what I “already thought I knew” to step into the unknown and be willing to relearn and upgrade my own operating system. Disrupting one’s belief system and mindset takes something…and is probably the most important step in making a career change.
Saying No to what I didn’t want
The only work that was coming my way at first was corporate work and I knew that to truly make that shift, I had to close the door on my corporate life. I started saying no to corporate opportunities. Which was very scary because that was the only income I had known and I was turning down work. For a short time, no work was coming my way.
Not giving up
I questioned my choices, particularly when I saw the drop in income…or at times no income. But I knew that I had to follow my heart or I’d continue to live an uninspired life where my career was concerned.
How do the corporate and creative worlds differ?
The biggest difference that I see is that the creative world has the ability to be more agile and nimble. There is a perspective of “let’s try this and maybe we’ll be wrong and fail, but let’s try and see what we learn, then we can reinvent.” I’m also finding that in the creative and start-up worlds there is a 21st century approach to doing business that is collaborative, transparent and open to exploring partnership opportunities, even with companies and products that might be considered competitors.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to move into creative?
Be willing to completely reinvent yourself
Start from within. Study, learn, set aside what you know for awhile to learn something new…step outside of your own box…you can then incorporate what you already know into what you are learning. Learn as much as you can, network and meet as many people as you can in the area you want to move into.
Surrender your ego over to your vision
Be willing to take a lesser position, less income or take a career step back to move into a new direction. Be willing to learn something new and have a beginner’s mind, no matter how experienced you are. I have a friend who did that in his own career. He’s now the CEO of the company he “took a step back” to join.
Don’t get discouraged
Keep the faith. Believe in your self. Keep moving forward and you will get there.
What's next for you?
I’m interested in moving away from consulting and creating a full time opportunity with a start-up or creative firm located on the West side. I’d really like to make the investment and work with one company that is in a growth mode and help them fulfill on their vision.
"Believe in yourself, keep moving forward and close the door behind you and take consistent action towards you vision, you will get to where you are going."
If you are interested in booking Nina for an assignment, get in touch.