Here, we dive deep into how and why people at Square do what they do. Each interview spotlights one person in a creative role and unearths their inspiration, workday hacks and career advice. Without further ado…
Senior Brand Strategist
How would you describe your work to a five-year-old?
I use my imagination to come up with cool things for my company to make. Sometimes the cool things are photographs, sometimes they are videos, but it could be anything – even a theme park!
What everyday activity inspires your creative work?
Reading (and/or scrolling) the news. Culture(s) is the main inspiration for my work, and staying in it is a critical necessity.
Listening to podcasts gives me fresh perspectives, and is a constant reminder that there are more boundaries to push.
But really, nothing has been as inspirational or effective for my creative work as talking to my people. I’m lucky to have a very wide, diverse community. I have a lot of friends who are similar to me, but even more who occupy totally different social spaces and that gives me insight into experiences and perspectives that I keep with me as I cycle through ideas.
What was your path to your current position?
Definitely nontraditional. A lot of strategists went to school for marketing, or maybe took the Planner track on the agency side. I started as an experiential producer. I let my curiosity get the best of me, and that led me to doing account work and that’s where I found security in my identity as a creative –
I realised that just because my ideas didn’t manifest as a designed object, it didn’t negate my space as a creative.
So I turned the next corner and blended what I knew about building all sorts of experience and content, what I learned from managing business on the account side, and my culturally leaning imagination and started doing creative strategy. Creative strategy on the agency side makes you a bit of Swiss army knife, because your function changes a bit with every project. But again, I let my curiosity get the best of me and jumped brand-side, to see what could be made if that creative and strategic energy was continuously directed at the same spot.
Who’s your favourite Square seller and why?
Definitely Sip and Sonder, out in Inglewood. It’s a coffee shop founded by two Black women (one is a childhood friend), but I think they represent the best of modern entrepreneurship. Their business venture came with all the classic trappings of entrepreneurship, but it was also based on a vision and a dedication to the community they wanted to serve. These women had the option of starting the coffee shop anywhere, but they locked in on Inglewood because they believed the community (and communities like it) deserved to have lively neighbourhood gems like the typically gentrified neighbourhoods where you’d find a boutique coffee shop (Williamsburg in NY, Echo Park in LA, etc.).
What’s a piece of advice you’d give on getting creative?
Spend more time looking at your work than other people’s work. Especially today, we’re inundated with images, ideas, expressions and validations for other people’s creativity. Sometimes those thoughts can cloud your head or that hype can seep into your ambitions and distort your authentic approach. Even if you think you’re casually scrolling, it’s important to protect your perspective. That shit doesn’t live on IG.
If you had to describe your process in three words, what would they be?
Start with an insightful concept, then let your brain run wild.
What’s your favorite tool for expressing your ideas?
Google Slides 4 lyfe!
When are you most creative?
In the shower. Duh! Isn’t that everyone?
What’s your primary fuel for the work day?
Music – probably something loud, with a heavy BOOM BAP.