Not many people are bold enough to take the step this young lady has taken into her future, that’s why today she is our FWL Girl Boss.
Feruza Afewerki, is a 23 year old, Economics Graduate from West London and Creative Director for Dream Nation. Dream Nation is a media business that aims to empower and create a community of individuals impacting the world by doing what they love to do. The business brings their community of Practical Dreamers together through a series of three annual events, as well as their online editorial blog.
Feruza is a passionate individual with a love for creativity, style & making an impact. She hopes to empower & inspire others to be true to themselves and live out their calling.
Name: Feruza Afewerki
Position: Creative Director
Company: Dream Nation @DreamNationHQ
Education: Economics Graduate, University of Kent
Social Media : Twitter & Instagram: @Feruz_a_
What was your first job and how did you land it?
My first job was working at a property investment firm within the admin team, I was put forward for the position through a professional services recruitment firm I had applied to. 3 months into this role and I had been promoted to work within the account management side, which felt like career progression for me, but deep down I knew it wasn’t my calling or the career I envisioned for myself. It came to an unexpected turn when I had been fired from my first job after working there for 5 months.
Why were you fired and how did you feel when this happened?
Getting fired was a really difficult experience to go through but looking back now it was one of the best things that could have happened to me. My boss explained that he couldn’t see how this is what I wanted to do with my life, making me unsuitable for the role. He further advised me to go and pursue a career that I would be excited to get out of the bed for in the morning. As cliche as that sounds when I heard these words I felt such relief for the first time in knowing that I didn’t belong in my current work place and that was okay. Although I was happy to leave, I’ll admit that I felt like a failure at first when getting fired. Thankfully, I learnt quickly to detach my worth from my job. This started a journey of finding out who I am, what makes me tick, where I want to go and fearlessly pursuing that.
What lessons did you learn from this?
I’ve learnt that it’s important to follow your passions and not waste time doing work that isn’t meaningful to you. It’s easy to ignore the dreams in our hearts because they seem impossible or bigger than ourselves, especially as women we can sometimes underestimate our capability to adapt and grow into a role or dream. Stepping out to pursue my dream to be a Creative Director taught me that all progress takes place outside of your comfort zone and sometimes the only way you learn is by doing.
How did your family take the news?
My parents were really disappointed at first, especially as they didn’t understand the complete career change I wanted to make. Over time they have grown to be more understanding of my choices and ambitions.
How are you finding your current role as a Creative Director?
It’s been exciting stepping into this role, as it keeps me on my toes and continually pushes me to learn and grow. I love being in a more creative space and that I get to work on the two things I am most passionate about which is creative planning and business. I found that when you find what you love to do, it doesn’t feel like work.
What inspires you on the job?
I’m inspired by my team and seeing ideas come to life in a collaborative way. I really believe team work is dream work. I am also inspired by seeing what seems impossible come to life with enough dedication, faith and creativity.
Despite being quite young, what gave you the confidence to take up the role as a Creative Director?
I would say that it has definitely been a journey and I’m still building up my confidence within this role each day. Being a part of a team that supports each other and being a part of a network and community of dreamers has been very empowering. At times we have dreams that may seem bigger than ourselves, beyond our years or circumstances but by stepping out of your comfort zone you naturally build up that confidence. I’ve had to deal with imposters syndrome and feeling inadequate, however building yourself up and asking for help when needed can make all the difference. I have also grown in confidence by being intentional to invest in myself, in reading books, researching my industry, and learning from other successful people I admire.
What’s a typical day like for you on the job?
I wake up around 7am and I like to start the day praying to frame my mind and heart for the day. A typical day for me at the Dream Nation office starts around 10am and the first thing I do when I reach the office is get through my emails. From then on it’s very flexible and no two days ever look the same. As my team has grown, my days tend to be centred around a lot more meetings with members of my team, collaborating, brainstorming on ideas and plans for projects. As well as the leading on the planning, project management and administration for our three annual events and promotional campaigns.
What challenges have you faced since starting this role?
The biggest challenge I’ve faced since starting my role in a start up has been learning to lead myself. The culture of Dream Nation is definitely leader driven and you’re no longer micro managed, so that has been something I’m learning everyday. It’s a process of learning to be consistent, disciplined and stay organised. Definitely find what works for you and keeps you motivated. I’ve found having daily and weekly routines like praying, meditation and journalling keeps me focused and on track.
What do you love most about your role and what do you dislike the most?
I love knowing the work I’m doing will impact and make a difference in people’s lives. The most difficult part of this role would be dealing with those around you who may not understand the vision and calling you have, wether that be family members or friends.
If you could go back and make any changes, what would they be?
I would have attended more events that could help in building my network and also gotten involved in projects I actually believed in at a younger age.
What is the future for you in event planning, do you plan on starting your own company?
The future for me is to keep creating and building the vision of Dream Nation and to continue to empower others to live for purpose and be practical dreamers. The vision is something I have been honoured to get behind on and build. We’re working on pushing boundaries and putting on bigger and better events and experiences that will inspire and spark great visions and dreams within our Dream Nation community.
What tips would you give to anyone wanting to get into events?
Seek out opportunities to get experience within an events team, whether that be interning, volunteering or shadowing events managers. Attend loads of events and experience them for yourself, network with those who are involved and learn from them. The events industry isn’t the easiest to get into, so try standing out by creating your own events portfolio or vision board to demonstrate your eye and passion for events.
What advice would you give to new graduates who are trying to find their career paths?
There is a great deal of pressure to be climbing a career ladder straight out of University, even though a lot of graduates haven’t discovered or know what they want to do. My advice would be firstly to understand that it’s a process and a journey of learning this. I believe that you should pay attention to what interests you, what makes you tick, what do others say you’re good at and see if you could make a career out of that. You will be spending most of your life working so you might as well spend it doing something you enjoy. Secondly challenge the status quo of what the ideal career path is and cultivate the gifts within you. I believe everyone is created for purpose and a calling worth being pursued. Discovering that may take time but I firmly believe your purpose will find you and when it does, it’s important to be brave, take the risks and try to make it work.
Can you share with us the most important piece of advice you have received?
‘Write the vision and make it plain.’ Writing down the vision, goal or a dream and planning all the steps I need to take has helped me have a lot more focus and direction to seeing it become a reality.
One thing that makes you “Younique”
One thing that makes me is that I’m always pushing myself beyond my comfort zone.