Ok Mentor is a 3-week crash mentorship programme managed by two amazing women: Stef Stanley and Liz Stone alongside other incredible female mentors. It provides all the skills a female professional needs to enter and thrive in the creative industries.
Our editor-in-chief Ana had the chance back in November 2019 to attend this and today she’s interviewing the two main figures who made everything happen!
You had a very interesting career path leading you to the job that you do now at LinkedIn. What is the one thing you have learnt throughout those years that has most resonated with you?
The power of networking. But I mean honest, vulnerable, true ‘networking.’ There is nothing more powerful than connecting with another human being and sometimes I see that when people get too caught up in networking/meeting influential people, they only focus on what they ‘need.’ My approach has always been to work hard, be truly interested in the people I meet and before asking for anything, seeing how we connect beforehand. This resulted in a natural movement of help from other people, and it led me to where I am today. You are who you know to an extent.
What was your favorite part when creating the plan behind OK Mentor?
I honestly loved everything, and still do! It keeps changing and growing and I keep learning and meeting more inspirational people so it hasn’t stopped being amazing. I think the most interesting part for me was developing our USP – what was unique about us? As well as our long term vision, that was really inspiring.
What is one piece of advice you would give to any female creative just tipping their toes into a creative industry?
It’s a very competitive landscape, and you need to find out early on how to showcase not only your talent, but what’s unique about you. An easy way to do that is to shine/focus on your personality, i.e. your charisma. or how to position your work in a truly unique way. How does your work compliment the company you are interviewing with? Or the client you are trying to book? The biggest learning of all is that you have to always focus on what’s in it for them. That’s how you win.
How did the idea for OK Mentor come about?
Honestly, If Liz hadn’t come to the same dinner as me a year ago and approached me at the end wanting to explore ways of giving back to young talent, not only would OK Mentor probably not exist, but my life would be much less fulfilling. Liz and I really wanted to find ways to contribute back to young girls that in a way, reminded us of younger versions of ourselves. We sat for 5 hours straight during our first meeting thinking and discussing ways we could make this idea become something real, unique and impactful. Quite quickly we realized we could build an incredible global community together and a year later, we are growing like crazy. I am so glad I came to that dinner.
You’re a co-founder of OK Cool, creative agency based in London. Was this the pathway you have always wanted to take on, or was it completely different that you imagined when you were younger?
I had no idea I was going to end up running my own agency, leading a team and having this kind of responsibility. I studied fashion design and after I graduated I worked in fashion for a year, realised I didn’t like the frivolity of it and decided to move into film, photography and content creation. At the time loads of brands needed social media and content marketing so I saw an opportunity and went for it. It was a very exciting/daunting few months as I was setting up the business. Luckily, I had a close friend who was an experienced agency founder— he helped me in the initial phase with branding, positioning and business structure, (he later came on and joined me as a full-time business partner and co-founder). I really had no idea what I was doing so I leaned on friends, advisors and the internet to answer my questions.
How did the idea for OK Mentor come about and why do you feel now is the perfect time to launch it to the world?
I felt there is a shortage of resources available to young graduates and young professionals who want to succeed in a creative field. There are no shortcuts to gaining experience and nurturing your own talent, but there are a lot of fundamentals that aren’t really taught at University. I made a lot of mistakes in my early years and I wanted to pass that knowledge on. I chatted to my friend Stef Stanley (now my co-founder) and we decided to turn this into something bigger than just an idea.
What advice would you give to all the young female hopefuls trying to succeed as entrepreneurs in a creative industry?
I always say that there are two things you should always think about:
- Don’t get too caught up with trying to achieve everything right now. Be patient, have a plan and trust the process. Things will work themselves out.
- Start saving! You never know when you might need some capital.
Applications are still open until the 31st of March, so hurry up! Learn more about OK Mentor here.