Ambassador // Cinzia Di Vito: Head of Creative
We caught up with Cinzia to find out more about her story.
Tell us a little bit about what you do, where you work and how you got started.
I am currently Head of Creative at The Sideways Theory, a full-service communications agency that has been quietly working its way through the industry for the last 10 years.
At The Sideways Theory I lead creative processes and manage our collaborators to ensure we deliver the best solutions for our clients.
I started collaborating with The Sideways Theory last year as a freelancer. It was a moment in my life where I needed to work on my own terms, and it has been a very empowering and satisfying year. I finally saw the results of years of hard work and I found myself with plenty of work to do for many different clients. With The Sideways Theory we had been working seamlessly together on a lot of exciting projects so I was very happy to receive an offer.
My career in the creative industry actually started in Italy when, after graduating in Industrial Design with a specialisation in Graphic Design at the ‘La Sapienza’ University of Rome, one of my former lecturers asked me to work for his creative agency in Milan. After a year and a half, I decided to go back home and plan my adventure to come to Australia.
When I moved here I opted for a marketing & advertising Diploma at TAFE so that I could learn more about the industry in Australia and I started attending every networking event possible. That’s how I got work experience at KWP! where, after a few weeks I got referred to Nation, which was an emerging and fast-growing agency at the time. My journey with them lasted for four years and working with so many talented people definitely shaped who I am as a creative.
What do you enjoy most about being an Art Director/Designer?
Firstly, the feeling of knowing that what you are doing in that moment is going to be great. The light bulb moment. The butterflies in the stomach. The rush through the veins. That love at first sight with an idea, a concept, or even simply with a shape or a typeface.
Secondly, seeing happy clients. Organisations or individuals, who see themselves in the work I do. Clients who really recognise themselves in the work, as if what they had in mind has finally materialised in front of them. I love seeing them loving the results and making the most of it. That’s what I love the most.
What challenges have you faced during your career?
Definitely coming from another country with a different culture and a different language, adds a level of difficulty that I can’t deny. Creatively it can be a great advantage and a point of difference, but it has been a bit of a struggle and a cause of anxiety.
Add to this the fact that I am quite shy. Add to this the fact that the room is usually full of people with more experience than me. Add to this the fact that the room is usually full of men. And so on.
This leads to a much bigger conversation about mental health. I saw many people in the industry, and I include myself, burning out because of work during the years. And it’s not good enough. We are creatives and we put all of ourselves into our work because work for us means passion. But we need to put ourselves first. We need to look after ourselves and support each other. Only by feeling listened to, appreciated, supported and trusted we can give the best as people and as creatives. If any of these elements are missing, you need to speak up.
Do you think it's important for women to be visible in upper management, why?
Some rooms have too many boys in it. That’s just the truth and we all know it. The imbalance is very visible. Women shouldn’t have to be louder or intimidating to sit at the decision-making table or to get what they deserve and what they are worth. We shouldn't have to change who we are to fit in and to be heard.
Your gender, as much as your hair colour or your accent or how loud your voice is, shouldn’t discriminate you from being in a leading position. What matters is honesty, responsibility, integrity and emotional intelligence.
If leadership roles in an organisation are predominantly male, you are basically missing a fundamental point of view of circa 49.6% of the world population.
Do you think there is enough support for women in our industry here in Adelaide, what would you like to see more or less of?
SheCreates definitely represents some fresh air for Adelaide. Industry organisations and events should probably be re-designed for a more progressive audience.
Young creatives thrive for new knowledge, mentorship, networking and collaborations. Industry organisations and events should be a source of inspiration and desire for new learning. Semi-Permanent, SXSW, OFFF, 99U, are only a few great examples.
Something that I found very helpful and inspiring in the past was the Mentor Program. I have been both a mentee and a mentor for the AADC and AGDA Mentor programs and I think that a female-based mentorship could really create strong and empowering connections in the industry.
Last but not least, we need to see more transparency. Coming from a different part of the world made it particularly difficult at times to navigate through contracts. Wages, policies, moral and intellectual rights, training & professional development processes are, more often than not, taboo topics and they shouldn’t be. Hopefully by working together, we can ensure that transparency for women is at the core of every collaboration.
How do you see the industry progressing over the next 5-10 years, what do you hope for?
I think the industry is becoming more dynamic, with a lot of young freelancers finding their way and getting out there. We will probably keep seeing smaller entities and new boutique studios prevailing over big agencies because of their quicker turnarounds and easier production processes.
Clients will see the benefit of being able to tailor projects to their needs and budgets by changing teams whenever they need to. This will hopefully create more creative collaborations and therefore greater opportunities for growth.