Women In Design feat. Sara Foley
Meet Sara Foley, Senior Designer at Mr B & Friends. Having worked under female creative directors, Saz highlights the importance of representation in role models. Her wisdom for the design sector includes managing imposter syndrome by turning it into motivation, bringing passion to presentations, seeking inspiration from diverse industry personalities, paying back by mentoring and fostering an open environment, and emphasizing that kindness isn’t a weakness.
Olivia @ ADLIB: Could you please introduce yourself as well as your background?
I’m Saz, I’ve been in the creative team at Mr B & Friends for 7 years now. I started here on a two week work placement, with a mini interlude in London as a Junior E-Commerce Designer, before being accepted back as a full time Junior Designer. Since then, I’ve worked my way up to Senior Designer and I’m currently in the process of shifting from designer to art director.
I am one of the lucky ones who has experienced working with only female creative directors at both companies I’ve worked for since leaving university and I can quite honestly say, representation in role models is astronomically important (but more on this later).
Olivia @ ADLIB: In an attempt to capture some of the Wisdom you’ve gained as a woman in the design sector so far, what are 5 “stand-out things” you’ve learned that you’d like to pass on to your peers as well as the future generation of talent within your sector?
- Keep an open dialogue with your inner saboteur
Imposter syndrome. We all know it. It’s not something that ever goes away, the voice in your head telling you you’re not good enough, you’ll never get the job, you can’t do this, and it only gets louder. The last thing anyone needs when they’re on round ten of client amends and your boss breathing down your neck, is your own inner saboteur amplifying the insecurity. You can’t hide from it. You can’t ignore it. You have to work with it – turn it into your biggest cheerleader and use it to spur you on, not tear you down.
- As the tiktok audio goes, ’More energy, more passion’
It’s presentation time. You’re in a room/zoom with your colleagues and clients there’s a high chance you’re going to be the only womxn present. When you step into a room already at a disadvantage, you’ve got to play to your strengths. All creatives are passionate about what they do. I’ve never met a creative that doesn’t have opinions or like to nerd out over ligatures in typefaces and the smell of fresh print. They’re the details that prove our worth. That’s our source of energy. Bring your passion, and it’ll make you the focus of energy in the room.
- Find the people who inspire you
IMO, the creative industry has one giant strength. The people in it. Different cultures, different passions, different journeys, different opinions, different styles, different personalities. It fosters creativity. Inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere, when you least expect it. It’s even better when it comes from the people you surround yourself with. Working with the people who inspire you, who make you want to be better, who challenge and encourage you. Those relationships will be your biggest success. My colleagues – past and present – inspire me every day, and if you’re in a job where you can say the same – then that’s where you’ll thrive.
- Pay back. Repay those who’ve pulled you up, by pulling others up with you. Reviewing student portfolios, mentoring junior creatives, amplifying creative voices by letting others speak first. Paying back fosters an open environment for everyone to step into.
- Being kind, isn’t being weak. Fact.
Olivia @ ADLIB: What is your take on the importance of role models?
It’s one of the most important things for any individual. To be able to see themselves where they want to be. It validates you, inspires you, and motivates you.
If you’re inspired by the stories and wisdom shared in our ‘Women In Design’ series and would like to contribute your own experiences, we’d love to hear from you. Creatives at all levels, please email Olivia and your story could be the next we feature.