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An interview with Zineb, our former Strategic Intern who decided to join the A-team.

An interview with Zineb, our former Strategic Intern who decided to join the A-team.

How did you end up at Allyens?

During my Masters in Strategic Communications at the VUB, I had the chance to do an internship here. I had already developed an interest for inclusive communications a long time ago. At that time, I was also working on my thesis in which I studied the perception of Belgians with and without a migration background on ethnic ads versus inclusive ads. So, it was a conscious choice to do my internship at Allyens. I wanted to see how challenges regarding this domain are being tackled in practice and how Allyens helps clients in their path to inclusive communications.

You are a communication strategist. Which essential skills should everyone in your function have?

My projects are often, if not always, focused on Diversity and Inclusion (D&I). In this case, I would say it is important to ask the right questions, to be solution-minded and to have a strong reflective and critical way of thinking. To be able to come up with actionable yet reasonable strategies, you have to get to the core of a client’s challenge and that is only possible if you ask the right questions. Which by the way can only be asked if you manage to get to know your client’s organization and industry from your fresh, unclouded perspective. Once that is done, you need to be thrilled to look for the necessary pieces and missing link that will bring you closer and closer to finding the right solution for your client’s challenge. As soon as you figured that out, you need to put the solution into a broader — sometimes even into a societal — perspective and assess if the proposed solution is a right fit for your client. Clients desire to launch an inclusive campaign that matches perfectly with their brands, just as they want an internal D&I policy to be aligned with their unique corporate culture, or attend a workshop on D&I that responds to their specific needs and challenges.

People who believe in something and whose passion comes straight from the heart. Believers, impact makers, change builders. Those are the people I look up to.

Zineb Berrag

You are a freshman at Allyens and yet you are already advisor diversity and inclusion. How did you delve into this subject?

As I said earlier on, the projects that I get to work on always have a Diversity and Inclusion approach. Even though I am a young graduate myself, I would not say that I am your average layman when it comes to this field of expertise. During my studies, I have acquired knowledge on inclusive marketing, mainly via research in which I studied the following themes:

  • The role of an ethnic-cultural identity on consumer behaviour and the associated purchase decision making process;
  • The impact of societal culture on the way Belgians with a migration background process communication messages;
  • For my thesis, I focused on a broader perspective than just ethnic minorities’ point of view. I started looking at the majorities too. I specifically did research on the acceptance and effectiveness of white, ethnotargeted and inclusive advertisements from the perspective of Belgians with and without a migration background.

Who do you look up to? Or better: who is the idol in your dreams?

I admire people who try to make a difference in society. People who, despite not having the necessary resources or the right network, still do the outmost to reach their goals, putting all their energy into it. People who believe in something and whose passion comes straight from the heart. Believers, impact makers, change builders. Those are the people I look up to.

Who is Zineb outside Allyens?

Zineb outside of work doesn’t differ so much from Zineb at work (laughs). As I already mentioned, diversity and inclusion are close to my heart. My job at Allyens is more than work that pays the bills; it is a purpose in life to which I am very committed. So also outside of work, I am automatically attracted to activities that are related to diversity and inclusion. Besides that I am a real family person, I enjoy the little things in life: a long breakfast with my parents and sister or an evening feel-good TV with friends.

Want to discover how the rest of 2019 went for us? Check our yearbook. Nostalgic throwbacks included 😅

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