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Meet the Team: Think Bespoke’s Visual Designer

by Thought Starters

Have you met Maria? She’s a visual designer and marketer and works in collaboration with myself, Debbie and Think Bespoke’s clients to improve their personal and organisational branding and stories on LinkedIn and their website blogs. Maria designs and develops the branded visual elements for LinkedIn, social media and websites.  She’s also the creative brain we rely on to make sure our client proposals and reports ‘pop’.

Maria Surace

I’ve loved welcoming Maria into our unique mode of working here at Think Bespoke because she’s one of the most professional people I know, adapting her approach to each of our client’s unique requirements for their visual storytelling on LinkedIn and beyond.  We believe being able to tell the story of your unique skills and experience, while also celebrating who you are, what you believe and why you do what you do is a powerful combination. So in the spirit of sharing our story here at Think Bespoke, here’s more information about Maria’s career history and why she does what she does.

What was your first job?

My first ever job was at a Sizzler Restaurant in my teens. I look back now and realise how much my experience there shaped my work ethic. My manager instilled customer focussed values in me that remain the cornerstone of my service offering today.

Our team were very focussed on providing the best service at all levels of the business. A testament to that is when Sizzler ran internal competitions for the best restaurant and our team won the State Championship and went on to compete nationally. I was part of the customer service team that represented Victoria. A very exciting experience when you’re aged 16!

How has your career path changed since then?

I started my full time career in reception and admin. I always had a natural affinity for all things creative and would often be tasked to create internal newsletters and company communications. As my career evolved I moved into marketing roles which really fed my creative appetite and I was responsible for marketing activities within the business including design, promotions, communications and events.

I’ve been very fortunate to work with some amazing and very supportive role models over the years including colleagues, management teams and industry leaders. In fact it was a past manager that planted the seed for starting my own business.

What led you to do what you do now?

I often designed logos or helped small business owners with their marketing while still employed in the corporate world. A manager I was working with at the time suggested it might be a good business idea – helping small businesses with their marketing. It was only then that I realised it was something I was already doing and really enjoyed it.

In the meantime, my daughter was born and I didn’t really think about the business idea again until two years later, when my son was born. My focus in life had changed. I wanted to be with my kids, to have flexibility, spend time with them and support them when they needed it.

The business idea resurged and I began working in my business just one day a week. The business has steadily grown over the years and now I can’t imagine life any other way.

Why do you do what you do?

I love connecting with people and helping with their marketing needs. Everyone has something they are good at and my clients are no exception. They are good at what they do, the services they offer. It often means they are focussed on their business and don’t have the time or experience for marketing activities.

I love being able to remove the stress and overwhelm associated with visual branding, social media and marketing for my clients.

I love that I am working in an area where I get to use my creativity and make a difference in my client’s professional life.

What do you like about working with Think Bespoke’s clients?

Karen from Think Bespoke attracts an amazing array of clients who are very focussed, thoughtful and appreciative. They have similar values to Karen and her team. I love being able to provide input and develop their visual branding to shape and drive their associated marketing activities. It flows through all business activities including website, social media, email campaigns, documentation and marketing activities.

If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

I would remove violence so that people can live in harmony. I can’t understand the violence we often see in our news and around the world. There’s no need for it and ends up affecting so many innocent people. Just be kind.

What words of wisdom do you live by?

Live life with no regrets. Sure sometimes we might think we could have done something differently but then we wouldn’t be on the journey we are on today, therefore live your life with no regrets. Try new things, say yes more often and enjoy the journey.

Karen Hollenbach

Karen Hollenbach

As the Founding Director of Think Bespoke I help individuals and organisations unlock their potential with LinkedIn. Sign up to my E-insights for LinkedIn tips.

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