Next Creative Leaders 2022: Sarah Guessoum

By Laurel Stark Posted on Dec 13, 2022

"It’s important to surround yourself with people that push you forward and motivate you to be the best version of yourself. Good relationships with clients, peers, and leaders pave the way for more creative freedom. So, focus on building that trust– it’s something earned, not given."


Every year around this time, we announce a new class of Next Creative Leaders. And as the Co-Founder, I get the honor of reflecting on and finding the words to introduce you to our latest class. Over the past eight years, Next Creative Leaders has come to mean talent and impact to me. But this year, the word that is circling our 2022 class is legacy. We highlighted a handful of our winners this year so you could learn more about them as individuals and read their stories.


Sarah Guessoum
Creative Strategy Lead at TikTok, Dubai

Based:

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Hometown:

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

SEE SARAH'S ENTRY

What’s your “I made it into advertising” story?

I am an Architect turned Art Director. My interest in crafts and creating things has been there for as long as I can remember. I loved studying architecture, but once I did my internship in an architecture firm, I realized it wasn’t the right practice for me. One of my professors suggested becoming an Art Director – something I had never heard of until then. By the time I graduated, I was interning at J. Walter Thompson and fell in love with the industry.

What convinced you to go brand-side at TikTok?

As with the rest of the world, the pandemic turned the creative industry on its head. Clients realized that people needed content that was authentic and valuable during these precarious times, and that’s when the TikTok briefs started pouring in. It proved to be a formidable platform during the pandemic, allowing people to shift moods but also unleash their creativity – together. So, when I got the opportunity to work at TikTok as an Associate Creative Director, I went for it knowing I would be able to satisfy my love for being creative while expanding my horizons into the world of e-commerce and marketing.

How did your upbringing shape you as a creative?

I moved around a lot as a kid. My dad is an engineer who builds bridges all over the world. Every time a bridge was completed, we had to move, and this taught me to be more curious and aware of diverse cultures around me, and be able to churn out cultural insights quickly. As I grew older, my curiosity led me to become more aware of societal problems and the problem-solver in me made me want to fix them, which fueled my creativity.

What’s the piece of NCL winning work you’re most proud of and why?

The Zero Straw is closest to my heart. It’s an innovative straw that changes color once dipped into a glucose-containing beverage, potentially becoming a life-saving warning system for diabetics. Being a diabetic myself, it was a gratifying experience to be able to help the diabetic community and have a positive impact on their lives, and my own. On a professional level, I also learnt a lot as I got to be a Conceptualizer, an Art Director, a Product Designer, a Project Manager, and a Salesperson!

What is your secret (or not-so-secret) creative superpower and how do you flex it?

Not giving up on ideas I believe in. I can’t remember the number of times I’ve heard the sentence “this can’t be done” for innovative ideas I’ve managed to bring to life with my team. In order to really leave a lasting mark, you have to persevere in the long fight – those are the stakes.

Describe your dream creative assignment.

Here’s $20M, go!

What do you think are the most important ingredients to a fulfilling creative career?

I read something recently that stuck with me. In today’s world, we spend most of our time with our colleagues and they have the biggest influence on our behaviors and outputs. It’s important to surround yourself with people that push you forward and motivate you to be the best version of yourself. Good relationships with clients, peers, and leaders pave the way for more creative freedom. So, focus on building that trust– it’s something earned, not given. Lastly, celebrating the small and big wins help you feel more fulfilled.

"It’s important to surround yourself with people that push you forward and motivate you to be the best version of yourself. Good relationships with clients, peers, and leaders pave the way for more creative freedom. So, focus on building that trust– it’s something earned, not given."

How would you describe the creative community in Dubai?

Dubai’s Creative community has grown a lot in the past 10 years. Dubai is the hub for the region’s festival of creativity ‘Dubai Lynx’ (part of the Cannes Lions family) and we’re seeing more creative networking events and mentorship programs by industry leaders (See It Be It - Dubai Lynx edition) emerge every year. We have several creative community spots like Design District and Al Serkal Avenue that often invite industry leaders and local creative communities to come together and celebrate creativity.

Who are your creative heroes and why?

David Droga. I met him at the Cannes Lions festival of Creativity upon winning Gold at the Young Lions competition back when I was a junior creative. His humbleness and positive energy were infectious. Of course, not to mention his work, we all know how brilliant it is.

Who is inspiring you right now and why?

My husband. He’s a guitar maker slash chemist slash product designer slash mechanical engineer who just decided to open a construction contracting business. Through his example, I’ve seen that you can choose what your life looks like, and you should never feel stuck doing something you hate doing. Even if it means making a big shift.

What made you apply to Next Creative Leaders?

As one of the few senior female creatives working in the industry in the region, I have faced many struggles throughout my career. This made me a stronger advocate of initiatives like this, that inspires and empowers other young female creatives.


LI: SARAH GUESSOUM


Check out all the Next Creative Leaders of 2022!

SEE THE WINNERS

Tags

Share To

Related

What's Your ONE? : Super Bowl Edition
Design Sprint Into The New Year
What's Your ONE? : Holiday Edition
Next Creative Leaders 2022

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow Us