This week I got to interview another inspiring person whom I admire immensely, she was my lecturer in Design School and is now the founder of the annual creative conference HELLO AMBASSADOR, which features talks and workshops with creative industry experts,providing an opportunity for entrepreneurs, designers, artists, comedians photographers and many others to showcase their work and share ideas.
10 Qs with Elisma Uys-Hanekom
1. A bit about yourself and career background?
I was born in Pretoria and grew up in Johannesburg. I finished my honours degree in Fine Arts at UP and then started a non-Profit organisation called JKK, with the main aim of promoting positive social change through creativity. My first initiative was an annual art publication called PostBox. Through the years Postbox evolved into a variety of creative events and exhibitions, and in 2013 I started Hello Ambassador.
2. What is Hello Ambassador and what inspired it? (The official write-up): Hello Ambassador is an annual Creative Conference based in Gauteng. Now in its third year, #HA2015 will consist of a 2-day event, featuring Talks by industry experts (from a variety of creative disciplines), a Creative Expo, Workshops, VIP events, Awards, a Street Festival and After Party. Inspiration: My passion has always been to promote and develop the amazing creative talent and potential in SA. I started Hello Ambassador with the aim of providing a platform where young creatives and industry experts could meet, network, collaborate, gaining experience and exposure, showing off the unique talents of our country both nationally and internationally.
Images sourced from: http://www.helloambassador.co.za
3. What is the most exciting part of your job?
1. Working with an incredible creative team. Our brainstorming sessions are amazing fun!
2. Coming up with new innovative ideas
3. Executing those ideas and seeing my brainchild become a reality and grow
4. Meeting interesting and ingenious people
5. Getting positive feedback and hearing stories about how Hello Ambassador helped or inspired people
4. What/Who inspires you and why? How do you stay inspired?
It’s not always easy to stay inspired! Especially when things get rough and you’re faced with what seem to be impossible challenges (which happens almost daily with a DIY event like this). During those times I have to constantly remind myself of the end goals, my previous successes and the foundational reasons why I’m doing what I’m doing. Or rather, my husband, Dirk, has to remind me of these things! He is most definitely one of my main inspirations. Furthermore I am extremely inspired by initiatives and campaigns that have a positive influence on society. I love watching video’s and reading articles of such initiatives to gain inspiration. Other creatives’ success stories are also great.
5. How do you make sure you are relevant as a creative? I believe it is extremely important to stay current. I read a lot of online articles, watch videos, subscribe to relevant blogs and newsletters and attend as many conferences and events within my field as possible. I am also currently doing a lot of research regarding the creative economy. I am planning to either do an entrepreneurial or business degree in 2016 or start with my Masters.
6. Escape/dream destination why? I LOVE traveling! My favourite destinations so far have been Argentina, Peru, Brazil, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Mainly because of the interesting cultures and people, beautiful nature and historic sights. I also loved San Francisco, LA and New York. Next on my list is Mexico, Spain and maybe France or Italy. India and Nepal are also on the list, but I need to do Africa first. Come to think of it, I don’t have a dream destination, I want to see the world! Locally I love Cape Town and the Garden Route.
7. Biggest career milestone? Biggest Lesson? Successfully pulling off the first Hello Ambassador (2013) completely DIY and self-funded was a huge thing for me. It made me realise that anything is possible! I’ve also learnt a few hard lessons. One of the biggest lessons I had to accept was that you cannot do everything yourself. You have to delegate and trust people with your dream. On the other hand I have also trusted the wrong people…
8. In your opinion what distinguishes African creatives from their international counterparts? What do you think makes them special/ are they? There is something undeniably unique to African and South African creativity. Whether nurtured by history or endowed by heritage, I am not sure. Perhaps a combination of both. I also think the diversity in SA and the ways in which we are constantly reinventing, reappropriating and reinterpreting our culture and heritage, give a unique flavour to our creations, distinguishable in concept, process and style from the rest of the world.
9. Best and worst advice ever received? Best: Don’t wait for things to happen – if you want something done, do it yourself. AND Fake it till you make it. Worst: “You’ll totally pull off a Mohawk.“
10. Words to live by… Love. Faith. Hope
One of the things I admired mostly about Elisma was/is her ability to inspire, when I was a student of hers she made it all look so effortless, and that is why I wanted to feature her on DesignPeo, I hope you are inspired by her words, and that you definately buy tickets to the HA2015 taking place in September (4-5) at the SCI BONO in Johannesburg, more info at: http://www.helloambassador.co.za/