“In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.” 
― Sheryl Sandberg

BABE #10: SARAFINA PERSUAD, <BR>Associate Copywriter @ FCB

Associate Copywriter @ FCB

Sarafina and I met in college, where we both majored in the Editing, Writing & Media (EWM) program and sat next to each other in Writing and Editing in Print and Online (WEPO.) We quickly became pretty good pals, collaborated well together on projects, and realized we lived a few doors down from each other at the same apartment complex when we caught the bus at the same time one morning before class. #Destiny. I really love Sarafina. She's an incredible writer and thinker, and I felt like I was constantly learning something new from her in class. She's good people, she's killing it in Chi Town, she's a hustlin' Canadian babe and a fellow Copywriter like myself, and I'm excited to have her (and her cat) here today.


The Basics:

Hometown: Cambridge, Ontario
Current city: Chicago, Illinois
Alma mater: Florida State, Florida State, Florida State—Woo!
Degree: B.S in EWM (Editing Writing and Media) and Communications
Hustle: Associate Copywriter at FCB

The Interests:


Babe you admire and why?
Tina Fey, hands down. From getting her "in" with improv comedy at Second Cityto being the first female head writer on SNL, to writing, producing and starring in her own show - she’s a creative powerhouse that proves you can have it all.

How do you spend your free time?
I’ve grown to enjoy making my own cross-stitch patterns of Drake lyrics. It’s a silly way for me to take my mind off of writing while still feeling creative. However, when I'm in the mood to write, I work on my stand-up bits, which I sometimes perform at open mics around town. I also really like to explore the neighborhoods of Chicago for new shops and eats. Living in such a lively city, you rarely find yourself bored. 


If you were a character on The Office, who would you be and why? ;) 
Darryl. Like him, I’m all about getting work done, but I don’t mind having a bit of fun along the way.

Go-to adult beverage?
Gin and tonic.

Must-have item in your purse:
A pen. You never know when you’re going to need to write something down. 

What is one food you refuse to eat?
If I’m hungry enough, anything is game. 


The Hustle:

Tell us about your hustle:
I’m a copywriter at an ad agency. In simplistic terms, that means I write the words that you see in advertisements and scripts that help make commercials. Advertising is a fun industry to be in, especially if you’re in the creative department. I get to spend my days writing and collaborating with other creative-minded people, trying to solve problems for brands, and turning our ideas into real-life things. 

Previously held jobs and internships?
I spent some time at Florida State working as a PR intern for the College of Communication and Information, as well as a Media Assistant for the Oglesby Union. From there, I moved to Chicago where I spent a year and some change working at the Gap, before landing my first copywriting gig. I’ve worked at three agencies, so far: Epsilon, Wunderman and currently FCB.

What's the most important lesson your job has taught you so far?
Speak up. Take pride in your work and your thoughts and speak with confidence. The way you present yourself can change the way people perceive you and whether or not they truly hear what you’re saying.

Dream brand to write copy for?
I don’t I have a “dream brand”, necessarily, however it would be my dream to leave my mark on a brand. I would love to be a part of making something as iconic and impactful as Like a Girlby Always, P&G’s “Proud Sponsor of Moms”, “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” by Old Spice, or if I’m so lucky, Nike’s “Just Do It”. You never know which brand or brief will lead to a campaign that’s going to make waves.

What's it like being a woman in your industry?
Thanks to the many kickass women who came before me, we’re at a time in advertising when it isn’t a rarity to see women creatives. In terms of numbers, we’re no long living in the “Mad Men” age. However, that doesn’t mean things are all fine and well. Like many industries, advertising was originally a boys club and some of that old-school, gender-biased thinking still lingers in some agencies more than others. Luckily, there are industry leaders who go above and beyond to talk about sexism in advertising, and are actually taking steps to eliminate it. The 3% Conference is a shining example of how women in my industry are working towards change. Since the conference’s founding in 2010, the number of women Creative Directors has risen from 3% to 11% - that’s huge! At my current agency, I appreciate that I’m judged not by my gender, but by my talents.

What motivates you every day?
My parents. I owe all of my success, and credit where I am in life, to them. I strive to make them as proud as I can every day for their unconditional love and support.  

Favorite part about your job?
Besides brainstorming, I would have to say seeing something I worked on outside of the office. It’s a wonderfully weird feeling when you walk into a store and see something you help make, yet no one around you has any idea. Must be how Lemony Snicket felt.

Hardest part?
Coming up with ideas. The words “creativity” and “deadline” might as well be oxymorons, but those two words constantly co-exist in a creative department. There are days when ideas come easy and then there are days when they come painfully slow—you just never know when a good one is going to appear. 

Any funny/embarrassing work moments?
I almost ruined my work Mac because I accidentally cried on the keyboard while watching a Coke commercial.

Career advice for other women?
Be curious, be fearless, and be kind. Ask questions and admit when you don’t know something; that’s how you learn. It’s okay to be afraid, just don’t let that fear overpower your confidence; instead, let it push you forward. Being kind may cost nothing, but it’s contagious, which is worth something. And last but not least, in the wise words of Tina Fey, “You're not in competition with other women. You're in competition with everyone.” 

Follow Sarafina!

sarafinapersaud.com | sarafina.persaud@gmail.com

This interview has been condensed and edited.

BABE #11: VENUS ENVY, <BR>Female Drag Queen

Female Drag Queen

Seeking: <br>Babes Who Write

Babes Who Write