#EmbraceEquity with judge Zoe Kim
A Q&A with 2023 Student 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.
Zoe Kim, Senior Designer, Anomaly, Toronto, ON
How did you end up in the industry?
I fell into design completely by accident. I was working as a writer/editor for magazines and other publications when I discovered I had a talent for editorial layout. I decided to leave my writing career behind and go back to school to give my new skills a more formal footing. While in school, I was lucky enough to meet someone at Rethink during a portfolio review and got an internship there after graduating.
What were your goals as an up-and-coming creative?
Since this was my second career, my goal was to learn from the best people in the industry to accelerate my growth and "catch up" to my peers. I was incredibly fortunate to meet and work with some brilliant and talented people who gave me new perspectives on what I can do through design. It shifted my focus from chasing titles to creating impactful work and uplifting other creatives, which is a goal I still carry today.
Who was your mentor?
I feel very grateful to have had many mentors throughout my career, but the mentorship I received at Zulu Alpha Kilo had the greatest impact on me as a designer and as a woman navigating this industry. This was in no small part because of the strong female leadership present at the time, from people like Kim Pereira, Jenny Luong, Susie Lee, Christina Yu, and Stephanie Yung. Their openness and guidance allowed me to see what I was capable of, and in turn, made me passionate about mentorship and representation for others in the community.
What was your experience climbing the creative ladder?
It was definitely not a solo climb up the creative ladder. Even though I worked hard to become the kind of designer I wanted to be, I would not have gotten to this point without the mentors in my life. They pushed me to grow in specific ways, guided me through professional challenges, and most importantly, gave me the confidence to advocate for myself. I recognize how fortunate I am to have crossed paths with all these people and to have the career I have today because of them.
Do you feel the creative industry has evolved when it comes to fairness to women in the workplace?
I feel like there have been slow improvements overall in the way we are treated, but my experience is limited because I don't have the unique challenges that mothers in the industry face today. What I do think has had the most impact is having more women in leadership positions so that they're able action against these issues and create policy/culture change for a more equitable workplace.
Has your career provoked change out of the office?
I think seeing success in a new career has given me the drive to try and learn even more new things. I am constantly on the lookout for classes, and it's made life outside the office very fulfilling – and busy!
What is your advice to young creative women seeking a career in the industry today?
Advocate for yourself! When I was starting out I was incredibly timid and would not ask for things that I wanted. It takes practice to build the confidence, but it's the fastest way to get what you want and deserve in your career.