Photos of the Elephant Room participants

Creative Storytellers

One Month Mentors for International Women’s Day

Championing togetherness and sisterhood has always been important to us at Clarks. So, to honour International Women’s Day 2022, our One Month Mentor programme with The Elephant Room continued – this time with a focus on supporting women and non-binary creatives.

Ten powerful, prominent women and non-binary leaders within the creative industry (including a couple from our very own team) were paired with aspiring mentees looking for their break. Through talks, events and one-to-one conversations, the mentors shared knowledge on how to make your creative dreams a reality and #BreakTheBias around gender.

Below, our mentees share their One Month Mentors experiences, from discovering a newfound confidence to learning about the importance of networking and nurturing creativity.

“It is such a humbling experience to be supported and guided by a woman who is a leader in her industry.”

Aroosa

Hi, I’m Aroosa. I have a social media marketing and copywriting background.

Why was it important for you to be mentored?

I’m at a crossroads in my life and in need of some direction and guidance. I went into this hoping that a mentorship would give me the tools to build my own brand and become a better social media marketer and copywriter.

Have you felt like you have been supported throughout the programme?

Definitely, The Elephant Room team have been phenomenal. They were always willing to help and I can see that they genuinely care about the participants and our development. I honestly cannot thank them enough.

My mentor has also been a great support. It is such a humbling experience to be supported and guided by a woman who is a leader in her industry. I’ve picked up so many gems over the past month and can honestly say I feel more confident in achieving my goals.

How confident are you about your career development today?

I am much more confident about my career development and really excited to see where my journey takes me.

Ellie

I’m Ellie, and I am a third-year graphic communications student about to make a break into the events industry.

What inspires your creativity?

I get inspired by my surroundings - colour, cultural art, illustrations, social media, psychology. Everything around us has been created or designed, and everything around us can teach us something. I have a love for bold, bright colours and patterns.

Why was it important for you to be mentored?

It has been an important step for me as I am soon to graduate and go into the industry. I know I have all the transferable skills, but having a mentor was beneficial in improving my confidence in myself and helped develop my understanding of the industry. It has been a huge learning curve for me.

Joana

My name is Joana Lopes Fialho, I’m a 20-year-old creative director and content creator. I’d describe my work as creative, comforting and challenging.

Why was it important for you to be mentored?

No one is born knowing everything. No matter how inspired or talented you think you are, there are always people around you to be inspired by and learn from. Being mentored is important to me because I want to learn from other’s experiences, thoughts and feelings.

What's the next big thing on your to do list?

Start my own small business and artist collective. I’ve long been planning an apparel collection, but never brought it to fruition, but after partaking in this mentorship I feel confident that I can make it a reality. And I hope to create an artist collective to bring together like-minded creatives, so we can encourage and inspire each other on a constant basis, partaking in collaborative work, open discussions and shared exhibitions.

Nazneen

I'm Nazneen, and I'm working to establish my career in the digital advertising industry.

Have you ever done anything like a one-month mentor programme before?

Nope... It's remarkable at how thorough and well thought out the entire programme was. Every single webinar and workshop allowed the mentees to build connections and learn first-hand from incredible people across the world. I'm enormously grateful to be part of a cohort of talent thanks to The Elephant Room and Clarks.

How confident are you about your career development today?

I can confidently say that the OMM programme has shaped the trajectory of my future by instilling in me a newfound confidence. I've experienced first-hand how valuable it is for networking and being connected to incredible women who have given me invaluable advice.

Elsie

My name is Elsie Ayotunde Cullen and I’m a 26-year-old multi-faceted creative. I’m the community manager at GUAP Magazine, a media platform that nurtures emerging creatives. I’m also in the final year of my Masters at The London School of Economics where I’m studying Health and International Development.

How would you describe what you do in three words?

Meaningful creative change.

What has been one of your proudest moments to date?

My most recent, proudest moment was putting together a Mother’s Day exhibition in honour of my late mum who passed 2021, December. I’m proud because I felt like I was able to really share her legacy with those who attended, whilst also creating opportunities for others to reflect on the preciousness of their own mothers and motherhood. It was also amazing to have given some creatives and speakers their first exhibition/panel experience.

Sara

I'm Sara Tonelli, I'm 20, and I'm from a really small town near Florence, in Italy. I moved to London almost 2 years ago for University. I'm now a first-year undergraduate studying Creative and Cultural industries, with a specialization in Art Direction.

How would you describe what you do in three words?

Pushing out boundaries.

What inspires you creatively?

When I create my work I'm mostly inspired by what is happening around me: I always combine my own experience and knowledge with my everyday life and experiences that I gain on an everyday basis, bounding this together usually through a deep thought process.

Zosia

My name is Zosia, I'm a Polish, London-based graphic designer, currently developing my own, independent freelance practice.

Why is it important for you to be mentored?

I think it's especially important to have support at the beginning of a career, to fill the gap in this weird moment after finishing University and trying to find my way into the industry. For me, that was the hardest year of my life, as I moved to a different country and looked for my first real job here. It's also about putting my emotions into many recruitment processes, having to make difficult decisions and learning how to do it. Having a mentor helps to keep going and feel supported in this journey.

What has been one of your proudest moments to date?

Gaining confidence and self-awareness.

Cherise

My name is Cherise, I am an artist, illustrator and co-owner of homeware company Rugs ‘n’ Harmony. I graduated from University with a BA hons in Social Work. I’m hoping to create a charity that focuses on aiding mental health within the Black community through the arts.

What inspires you creatively?

My inspiration for creativity has a lot to do with my mental health and my journey of healing but also having a positive impact on others through my work. It’s about me getting my thoughts and feeling out. When I am in a creative space I feel a sense of safety, something I haven’t felt for many years of my life but would love to continue feeling. My creativity keeps me sane and grounded.

Secondly, my culture and community also inspire my creativity, from the clothes that we wear to the music that we listen to and the joy we bring to each other.

What's the next big thing on your to-do list?

Curate and put on an interactive therapeutic art exhibition, where individuals can get involved with making art but also leave with a positive impact on their mental health.

Group photo of the Elephant Room participants

Tessa

My name is Tessa. I am a music industry executive from Dublin, Ireland. I’m a passionate non-binary all-rounder, dedicated to A&R, artist management, music partnerships and co-founding a record label and management company.

What inspires you creatively?

My inspiration for creativity comes from music, fashion, art, the creatives I surround myself with, innovation and authenticity.

What has been one of your proudest moments to date?

My proudest moment so far has to be the day I decided to go all in, quitting my job with no plan B and dedicating myself to creating my own lane. Multiple opportunities have been given to me since I made that choice. I’m grateful for my resilience and persistence.

What's the next big thing on your to do list?

My next big thing would be to further establish my relationships and community within the industry, diminish my imposture syndrome one day at a time and create opportunities for myself and others.