Women In Design – feat. Zara Weston

We had the chance to speak with Zara Weston, Creative Producer at Motability Operations, delivering the Motability Scheme to over 650,000 disabled people across the UK. Their purpose is to deliver smart, sustainable solutions that advance customers’ mobility in a fast-changing world.

The purpose of article series ‘Women In Design’ is to feature, showcase and share the reality of being a woman in design. We gather and showcase stories, career journeys, as well as advice and wisdom. 

Olivia @ ADLIB: Could you please introduce yourself as well as your background?

My name is Zara Weston. I am a design leader and specialist with over 15 years industry experience. I trained in design at Bridgwater College in Somerset as well as completing two degrees in graphic design at the University of the Arts London. I lived and developed my career in London for 14 years, then relocated back to the South-West to run a design agency in Bristol 5 years ago. I have since started a new role at Motability Operations.

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?

1. You are never going to know everything

I have been developing in graphic design for over twenty years now and feel I am still learning now. I have come to understand that the beauty of design is that it is an ever-evolving path – whether that is learning a new skill in a programme or taking inspiration: it is always changing. I hope in another twenty years’ time I am still learning new things.

2. Belief in yourself

Success takes all shapes and forms, and everyone’s definition of success is different. I have always been hugely ambitious, and the sky is the limit in terms of what I want to achieve in my career – this means I have always had a high bar to aim towards.

When I look back on my career and achievements so far – I know I would never have accomplished my goals without the belief in myself that I could do it. At every step of my career there have been obstacles and I have become resilient and have learnt to listen to my inner voice.

3. Respect and value your team/peers around you

It is so important to learn from those around you and collaborate. I learn so much from others, whether it be the newer generation of designers or other professionals in the industry. Starting out in design you need others around you to grow and learn from – and as you become more senior and have a team of your own its about listening and taking learnings from them to inspire your teachings.

4. To embrace change

Life is never going to go to plan and that includes your career path. Like so many others the pandemic changed everything for me personally and in business – I had a set vision for my life and overcoming that to accept and adapt to change has been one of my greatest achievements. If you can learn to adapt to change you will learn to thrive in any situation.

5. Do what you love

If you are passionate about a subject – doing what you love as a career takes hard work and commitment but is rewarding when you get there.

As I have moved through my career and taken on more responsibility there have been times where I have lost sight of why I am doing all this in the first place. It is important to stay true to yourself and your subject: for me it’s my passion for design – sometimes everything else can get in the way. There are a thousand directions to move in so it’s trusting your gut on who you are what you want out of your career.

Olivia @ ADLIB: What is your take on the importance of role models?

Role models are so important because they inspire you to become all that you can be. They inspire, guide or encourage us to make the most out of our lives. As I have moved through my career as a young professional, I have been lucky enough to have role models that have helped me achieve my dreams but also shape me to become a better person. You never forget those people.

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Olivia Lowe