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Sherry Italia | Dubai | Evolve Everyday

Communications Specialist | CampaignME 30 under 30 | Ex-copywriter | See It Be It Alumni

I was always the bookworm, the bright student in school. My family had a great deal of confidence in me – “whatever you do, you will succeed; there is just NO WAY you’d ever fail.” I aced my medical entrance exam and was all set to become a doctor. Except it is not what I wanted.

I was passionate about writing and being in a creative field. I joined a media studies university, much against everyone’s wishes. I aced all my courses, explored internships in radio/broadcast, graduated in filmmaking, took up jobs in advertising as a copywriter. For 7 years, I worked on some very inspiring client briefs and was lucky enough to partner with the most exciting teams, win awards and even move from APAC to the Middle East with a job offer in hand.

In the 8th year of my career, I suffered a personal loss. With both my parents gone, I began rethinking my journey – the long hours, non-existent evenings, crazy deadlines and pressure did not seem as worthwhile. I needed time for “me”, to reflect on my personal choices. The people I interact with, the activities I indulge my time in, the emotions I invest in, what I surround myself with. That phase of my life made me stronger and wiser, and I often visit it, to remind myself of my inner strength.

I switched gears and moved to communications at a global technology firm. The culture was completely different from advertising, but it helped me learn and blossom in a whole new area of skills and expertise. Most importantly, work-life balance and investing in yourself was deeply valued. I spent nearly 300+ hours on technology courses and certifications – so I could be better equipped to write about the industry. Barely two years in, I was listed as Campaign Middle East’s 30 under 30 Faces to Watch – 2021 (Brand Edition) – a major milestone for me.

10th year as a working professional, I continue to learn and discover my strengths and weaknesses every day. Beyond my job, I spend my time connecting with new people and exchanging stories, writing poetry, playing board games, mentoring younger creatives, planning travel excursions, exploring new places and cuisines, and indulging in an occasional Netflix binge.

What were the biggest initial hurdles and how did you overcome them?

My greatest initial hurdle involved getting my family comfortable with the idea of me working as a media professional – non-traditional, non 9-to-5, male-dominated back when I started off with my internships. It took a series of jobs, successes, seeing your creations out there, awards, moving cities for a better life till we reached consensus. Among other first hurdles I faced was a toxic work culture in one of my internships. While it was thankfully a short stint spanning a few weeks, it gave me a fair understanding of workplaces that I could most certainly not thrive in.

What books are you currently reading?

The Flame – by Leonard Cohen

What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started?

- It’s okay to falter and fail. Not every creative idea will fly, not every project will see the light, not every dream will be a reality. You learn, move on and get better.

- When two people collaborating on a project always agree with each other, at least one of them is not thinking right. Conflict of thoughts and rationalizing helps refine the approach and put your best foot forward as a team.

- You cannot make everyone happy. In your personal or professional space, that’s never the expectation. Rather, try to do what makes you happy.

What advice would you give to an upcoming youth or talents locally and internationally?

Life is too short to settle in a comfort zone. Evolve, explore, be teachable. Try your hand at something new, move countries and engage with new cultures, take a break to recharge (it’s okay to). Chart your path like a never-ending line, so you don’t spend your time running trapped in a circle.


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