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Meet the… creative director

Zixi's Elizabeth Utting-Quereuil reveals how she found herself working in the media tech industry, and why attending industry events and learning from colleagues and leaders has been priceless training

Elizabeth Utting-Quereuil, creative director, Zixi 
Talk us through an average day in your role 

The first thing I have to do is clear my inbox. I wish I was as carefree as the people who can handle a 3-digit notification bubble. Especially working remotely and on a different coast than my Zixi team, there are usually a few things to get up to speed on. 

Every day is a bit different, priorities tend to shift quickly in such a fast-paced industry. While my focus is on enhancing the brand presence overall, my day-to-day involves a lot of production work and project management. I keep track of all marketing deliverables in a PM tool and make sure our small but productive team is aligned and on target. 

Depending on the season, I could be head down in NAB or IBC vision and graphic production, or planning campaign assets and content launches with the team. On other days it’s a mix of website maintenance, diagrams, power points, advertising, and content. 

How did you get started in the media industry?

Before media technology, I started out in research companies, lifestyle, and advertising agencies but all had a similar thread of focus on data and science. I worked with datasets and created books and reports for executives and then moved on to branding & advertising for life sciences. 

Then I joined Aspera, a startup in high-speed data transfer because I understood (on a small scale) the pain point of what they were aiming to solve. I used to spend a full workday babysitting large print files I had to send over FTP. I vividly remember starting at Aspera a month and a half before NAB and I had never designed booth graphics before. Sometimes the best way to learn is to jump right in. I became hooked on the fast-paced environment and the restless innovation of the industry. 

After Aspera, I continued on the media tech road with the IBM Hybrid Cloud team, and now am lucky enough to be with even more innovators in the industry at Zixi. 

What training did you have before entering the industry?

I graduated from art school, so officially none! But I understand how to organise chaos, and as a designer that’s my universal language. Attending industry events and learning from the amazing colleagues and leaders I’ve had over the years has been priceless training. 

Why do you enjoy working in the industry?

I’m a creative person who loves abstraction. The majority of my experience is working with companies that are trying to convey something that isn’t really material branding and it isn’t lifestyle branding. I love that weird space. You have these really powerful solutions that have or will change the future and you have to create something equally as fluid and adaptive in the way you present yourself. The juxtaposition of the engineering genius it takes to create the technology and the creative abstraction it takes to represent the true power and innovation is what I love.  

What piece of advice would you offer someone looking to explore a role similar to yours?

Just start. Ask lots of questions. Research. Don’t be afraid to ask again. You can be creative in any role in any industry but you have to find something you care about contributing to. Attend tradeshows, talk to everyone, observe what others are doing, and make connections. Most importantly, remember that everything is always shifting, be flexible, be willing to help even if it’s outside your title.