If you want to be the Global Senior Art Director for one of the most recognizable brands in the world, there is one thing that’s guaranteed–you have to hustle. That’s exactly what Amarena Diaz did, and her hard work paid off. With a recent transition from The Coca-Cola Company to Art Director of OshKosh, Amarena has done anything and everything to get to where she is today. From taking coffee orders to flying on a private jet to the World Cup, find out how she harnessed her skills and ambition to make her dreams a reality.
Instagram handle: @amarenadiaz
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Occupation: Recently transitioned from Global Art Director for The Coca-Cola Company to eCommerce Art Director for OshKosh #OKBG at Carters Headquarters
Secretly Obsessed With: Shark Tank
On My Nightstand: A variety of business books from Malcolm Gladwell, Gary Vaynerchuk, Brian Solis, Tim Ferriss
Last Thing You Read: Everyday – Mother Teresa’s “Do It Anyway” Poem
How did you get started in your field?
Several internships. During college and in my early career I made sure I did anything and everything to get my foot in the door and understand the business. I’ve filed binders, organized tapes, you name it. Exposure to the design world was important to me, so I reached out to individuals I admired, took every great opportunity I could get and worked my way up.
What key elements played into your success?
There are really three things: hustle, lots of coffee and a supportive family.
What’s the best piece of advice you received?
Find mentors, know your worth and awaken the passion inside of you.
What struggles did you face getting to this point?
Work/life balance. I’ve gradually learned to take the motto work hard, play hard to heart.
Will Smith once said, “The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be out-worked, period. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me, you might be all of those things. You got it on me in nine categories. But if we get on the treadmill together, there’s two things: You’re getting off first, or I’m going to die. It’s really that simple, right?“
I agree 100 percent. I will not be out-worked. You have to hustle. You have to sweat. There will be many long nights and you have to be up for the challenge.
What accomplishment are you most proud of and when do you feel most successful?
Most recently, finishing work for The Coca-Cola Company on brands Coke and Powerade for The FIFA World Cup. Having the opportunity to work with multiple powerhouse brands on one project was a great accomplishment. I feel the most successful after any long night without a lot of sleep. In design, there are a lot of those, but it’s all worth it.
Who was the biggest influence in your professional life?
Truthfully, all of my mentors along the way have helped me develop my professional skills and confidence to get to where I am today. There are many women I consider mentors; some I’ve reached out to, and some have reached out to me. A few I’ve worked with professionally, and we’ve kept in touch throughout the years.
What advice would you give to girls looking to enter your industry/space?
Just get your foot in the door. Find people who are doing similar things five or 10 years ahead of where you want to be, and lean on them for advice to help align your future. Always scope out your own plan five to 10 years in advance every year, and don’t be afraid to go after what you want and change it when necessary.
Regarding skills women need in design, there are a few things that are inherently raw. You have to have the eye for it. If you don’t have the eye, design is not your space. If you do, then you need to fine-tune your skills. Get yourself involved with anything that inspires you creatively, whether it be a museum, a class, a show, meeting someone new, visiting a new city, etc. I truly only live in a positive world. In fact, whenever I look at any decision – I always do pro/con/pro. I’m an eternal optimist and eternally positive.