Young Pros Spotlight
What is your role / current company?
Senior Strategic Researcher/VMLYR
When did you join the ARF Young Pros?
If you could give one piece of advice to other Young Pros, what would it be?
Seek fulfillment. Carve your own direction in work and beyond. Checklists and textbook definitions of a good career are obsolete. We’re fortunate to be living in a time when a well rounded life is considered fundamental to a fulfilling career, and people in the workplace are valuing it more and more. Let’s ride the wave! It’s a good one, and it’s high time we break away from the constant hustle mentality.
What is your proudest professional accomplishment?
Finding a role at the heart of research and strategy that I could only dream of five years ago. I found myself while writing my graduate thesis, I felt true happiness when it was published and praised, and all of it materialized because I had personal direction and exemplary mentorship. Two things I won’t ever let go of.
What is your biggest professional challenge?
Working across markets. It is exciting to have worked in two very different cultures – Pakistan and America. Such polar opposites in collectivism and individualism. Which is challenging in a great way for any researcher – always a moving target, always changing, everyday is a teacher.
How has being a Young Pro member impacted your career?
I deeply value a sense of community in the workplace. ARF has expanded the meaning of that in a short time. The very culture in practice of coming together often for sharing meaning and intellect is rare and truly valuable.
Do you have a favorite campaign or activation? What made it stand out to you?
I still can’t forget LemiShine’s clean even what you can’t see from 2017. It’s a dishwashing liquid challenger brand, under an agency in Austin. The insight and audience are tied together at the heart of their work and it has led to truly good work. Simple, clean, impactful.
What’s an example of a company/brand that you think is doing a great job?
In the US, M&Ms are my favorite maker, thinker and doer as a brand. The animated characters are joyful, serve such a strategic purpose and have built on the same creative platform for years. The evolution is noticeable, never an irrelevant departure and so memorable.
What is the one thing you’ve seen on the internet recently that made you smile? Work related or otherwise. (PG 13!)
Meme culture – I live for it. I saw a meme on finding a sense of purpose in another two years grad degree. The sarcasm made me smile because it’s so real — knowing why you want to go back to school and what you want to do with it when you are out in the world is so incredibly important in an industry like ours but rarely given enough emphasis. Memes are saving us everyday!
Has mentorship played a role in your career journey? Anyone you want to give a shoutout to? Include their name if you’re comfortable sharing!
The most incredible thing about this work is the people you meet. Those who I am nodding to know who they are, mostly my managers who should officially include mentor in their titles. I could not get where I am in my own gender research and professional advancements if it weren’t for them. They’re not only listeners but incredible empaths with a deep sense of direction. So fortunate to have these mentors in my life!
What’s your dream job? (If money was no object, what would you do?)
What I do in my day to day is pretty close to what I would dream of in my teenage. What’s next? Studying gender and media and a deeper application in the world on policy and governance levels. There’s a ton of research and expertise, but very little application. Onward and upward with the work we do! It creates new meaning, and we’re only getting started.
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