When advertising creative Alessia Castiglione applied to be part of the Assisterhood mentoring program, she was freelancing in Brisbane between mid-pandemic jobs. Once accepted into the program, she was connected with creative director and copywriter Claire Bartels, whose international experience has placed her on teams across Melbourne, NYC, Minneapolis and Shanghai. This made Claire the perfect role model for Alessia, who has now moved to New York City where she works as a copywriter at Anomaly.
In the final instalment of our Assisterhood mentoring series, Mavens corresponded with Alessia to learn how she was able to make the most of the mentorship.
What was the application process like. How did you choose between all the wonderful 'Assisters'?
I knew I wanted Claire as my mentor from the start. She just lit up the zoom room and I was instantly like “I need to learn from this incredible woman!”. I basically wrote her a love letter and asked if she’d be my mentor. To my complete surprise, she chose me.
How did the mentorship play out in your matchup? How frequently did you catchup, where were they, what kind of things did you discuss...?
We met anywhere and everywhere! We’d try to meet at least once a fortnight. Sometimes at the park, in front of a laptop or for coffee. If I had specific questions for Claire I’d try and prepare before the meeting to make sure I got the most out of it. Other times we’d meet and she would read my tarot (she’s a multi-talented lady) and it would be a more casual chat.
We would discuss where I was at in my career, where I wanted to be and even long-term goals. I tried to cover at least everything I had mentioned in my letter, and any other topics that came up throughout our many frenzied conversations.
Do you feel the program helped you achieve your goals?
Claire had worked in Shanghai and the US before returning home, and having similar goals of wanting to work overseas, I knew she’d be a huge source of advice and inspiration. She absolutely gave me the perspective, tools, answers to my concerns and all the nudges I needed.
She also helped me expand my network within Australia and beyond! Claire connected me with people she’d worked with before in Brisbane, Melbourne and the US to help me reach my next step. At the time, I was looking for my next role locally, but with one eye overseas as Covid was still very much rearing its ugly head and I had no idea when I’d realistically be able to move overseas.
Why do you recommend the Assisterhood program?
There isn’t enough female talent in the industry and at every level, and this is no longer an excuse. We have plenty of talent and ideas to go around, and our voices need to be in the mix to shake up the homogeneity. Assisterhood also came at the perfect time. To my knowledge, there wasn’t anything around like this at the time. This is truly a wonderful and inspiring mentorship program specifically designed to help up-and-comers in the industry - so you always have an “assister” to trust, have your back and bounce ideas off - to help get you to the next stage of your career. I never thought I’d be where I am so soon without Claire’s incredible support and belief in me.
Do you have any tips for future 2022 applicants?
Just go for it. Really listen to each mentor and see the background and skills they bring to the table. Then go write them a love letter about why you think they’re the perfect mentor for you, and what your next goals are.
About Claire Bartels, Assisterhood 'Assister'
A lover and a writer who's spent the last half-lifetime working in Melbourne, NYC, Minneapolis and Shanghai with the best and brightest. Bringing home the mother lode of experience creating for brands like Kmart Australia, Nine West, Bulla, GAP, Walmart, Etsy, Fossil, BEHR paint, Kohl's, Sleep Number, Rooms to Go with Sofia Vergara, Crate & Barrel, Banana Republic, Sephora, Barbie, Cadillac and The Cosmopolitan Hotel of Las Vegas.
What inspired Claire to get into the creative industries? "The idea that I could be free to be my shiny, wild self e’ry dang day. It started with a sumo suit ad shot on the Shanghai subway. I was working in marketing at the time and the process just got me. I was instantly addicted and starry-eyed with the thought that I could be fully myself and get paid to do it."
"But now that I have kids I’m putting the freedom in freelance; bending time to be there for me and my family. The future is freelance."
To be paired with a mentor like Claire through the 2022 Assisterhood program, learn more here.