#EmbraceEquity with judge Antonia Goga
A Q&A with 2023 Design judge
March 8, 2023
In recognition of this year's International Women's Day (#EmbraceEquity) we wanted to celebrate all the talented hard-working women in our industry and so, we approached the women jurors of our three 2023 Awards competitions – Photography & Illustration, Design and Student - with a Q&A. We wanted to provide them with a space to discuss their experience in the industry today as well as share their advice to up-and-coming creatives.
Antonia Goga, Creative Director, Design & XD, Momentum Worldwide, Toronto, ON
How did you end up in the industry?
My passion for design started at a very young age. Of course, as a child I didn’t know anything about the design industry, but I remember playing with pen on paper, or on the computer as I wanted to design stuff. My mom gave my two brothers and I lots of freedom to learn and explore. I remember the three of us started our little business by designing logos for small companies and soon after, we were providing a wide range of services from design, development, photography, videography, and everything in between (thank goodness for YouTube and tutorials and our constant curiosity!). I came to Canada at age 19 and at that point I knew I wanted to formally train in this field. I consider myself very lucky because I love what I do and my passion is continually growing as I progress in the industry.
What were your goals as an up-and-coming creative?
In the early stages, my goals were very much focused on learning and becoming someone with a reputation for innovation, quality work and a strong work ethic. As I progressed and gained knowledge about other challenges and opportunities, my context had changed and my goals had expanded. Today, in addition to always producing great work being a great focus on mine, one of my goals is to also work on my personal and professional growth in the hopes of becoming a good role model, mentor and leader; to inspire, help and support new talent and females entering the industry. Much needs to be done in this space from equality and diversity and I believe this aspect of my aspiration will continue to grow and evolve. I am very passionate about this!
Who was your mentor?
I feel I was fortunate to have a great lineup of people and leaders helping me. I also believe as we grow and change, we face different realities and challenges in life, therefore our needs in this space change. Different mentors offer different values. Let me give an example; having a mentor to help you navigate the industry is very different mentorship than someone helping you grow personally to ensure your values and character are clear and form the foundation you are operating in at home and at work. I have a mentor outside of the industry. Someone who knows me so well and I can be myself with including sharing my fears and mistakes. Having someone like that is very powerful because we can only grow if we are honest with ourselves and our mentor. So find people like that!
What was your experience climbing the creative ladder?
I think it is important for anyone, more so new talent entering the industry, to recognize that your goal can’t be climbing the ladder. Yes, you need to have ambition, but you also need to focus on learning and growing in the early stages. Sometimes that means taking lateral roles, or working on something you may not like because you want and you need to learn and grow. Let me be honest! Growth is difficult. It isn’t easy for us, and our brain comes up with all kinds of reasons to avoid it! But I believe wholeheartedly that if you focus on your personal growth, your learning and capabilities, if you always look for ways to help and bring value to your colleagues, organizations and clients, then you will be given opportunities to take more challenging roles. That has been my main focus. Be yourself, grow, learn, always help and promotions and opportunities will arise!
Do you feel the creative industry has evolved when it comes to fairness to women in the workplace?
I believe all industries, including the creative industry, have evolved because there is more awareness, demand and push from inside and outside organizations to change. Having said that, the issues we are facing have been with us for a long time and in some instances have become our norm and unconscious mindset. We still have lots of work ahead of us, but I would say the time is now and generally leadership and organizations are willing to listen and change. What is important to note is that everyone is responsible. We all need to work together to bring awareness and changes to our industry, community and world. No effort is too small! Please speak up and be part of the change.
Reflecting on your learning and career, is there anything in particular you have done personally that you are proud of and you are willing to share?
As a female and young professional, over the years I have become more aware of inequalities, challenges and obstacles that women face every day at a global spectrum. I believe everyone has a responsibility to be part of the solution in their own way. No effort is too small and collectively we can make a difference. I am co-founder of a boutique consulting firm called &allagi. I partnered with a great mentor and coach with global and diverse experience in this space. In addition to our general service, we jointly launched a program called “&u grow” solely focused on empowering female professionals through personalized consulting, coaching and mentoring to help them grow and develop their capabilities based on their goals, dreams and journey.
Has your career provoked change out of the office?
Yes, absolutely! Having opportunities to interact with different people, groups, industries and clients you learn and grow in many different areas. You also begin to see the trends, synergies and opportunities. That gives you the opportunity to question many things we see outside of work and opportunities to share best practices for the greater good. It is important for all of us to take a step back and see the big picture outside of project work. We need to ensure work is ethically right, we need to ensure we are being good stewards of our community and environment. When we have that framework we will always form a strong connection between our professional and personal life.
What is your advice to young creative women seeking a career in the industry today?
Make sure this is for you. Honestly, life is too short and we all need to follow our dreams and calling. When we follow our passion and we do the things we love, everything becomes more enjoyable and fun.
The next thing I would say is focus on yourself, on both your hard and soft skills. Every day you get up and start work, there is an opportunity for you to be a bit better than yesterday. Both on a personal and professional level. If you have that mindset, you will never be disappointed.
The last thing I would say is surround yourself with good people. People who are willing to tell you where you need to grow, people who challenge you and people who believe in you. Those people will always invest in you and, in return, you will become a better version of yourself.