Gal Crush of the Week: Zeenia

Zeenia Dastur

Hey gal, this is me…. My name is Zeenia Dastur and I am currently in my final semester studying a Bachelor of Communications Majoring in Advertising! I love to travel, exercise, wake up early and make the most of the day, eat food, drink vino and above all work hard!

My deal is… My deal is… Alongside Uni, I work in marketing for a luxury beauty brand, Sisley Paris. It’s taught me so much more than just my degree alone and I highly recommend working in an industry that you’re interested + studying at the same time!

Recently… Before this job, circa 2014, I went on exchange to Milan for a semester. I ended up loving it so much that I stayed for another semester… The thought of leaving after an entire year was still heart-breaking so I applied to a bunch of different Internships and was lucky enough to receive a spot at Accenture (consulting firm) working in their customer innovation network. Everything was in Italian, it was my first proper corporate experience, I was 19 (the youngest in the office), but it was the most rewarding experience of my life thus far and has taught me so much more than I ever thought possible!

Why I did it / am doing it… My first year of uni was super hard. Not difficult in relation to my studies, but it was more about the transition from high-school to Uni. I had built-up this idea in my head of what Uni was going to be like (Lauren Conrad and Heidi Pratt in The Hills. Don’t lie you love it too!). It was about my first week in when I realised that Uni life in Australia was the exact opposite. Everyone stuck to their high-school cliques and didn’t socialise too much outside of their comfort zone. I knew I wanted to meet people and experience new things so exchange seemed like the perfect option.

Zeenia Dastur
Zeenia in Europe!

What I loved about it and what I learnt from the experience…  I found that people truly value their education in Europe. Learning about history, culture, art, fashion, technology etc. was like a gift to them, something that I had not previously respected or appreciated before I moved to Milan. Living abroad and meeting people from different cultures and with such diverse perspectives opened up my mind and taught me so much about the world. I was out of my comfort zone and learnt so much about myself and what I could do as a young and ambitious gal. I loved that I was able to (cliché alert)…find myself! I made life-long amazing, intelligent and interesting friends from all around the world so I can now go to America, Europe, Africa etc. with a friendly face to call! My experiences abroad lead me to now be working for an incredible company here in Sydney with an amazing team. I wouldn’t have the job without my internship. I wouldn’t have had my internship without exchange! Everything happens for a reason!

What I didn’t love about it / don’t love about it… My internship after my year of exchange was incredible, but it did have its downsides. Working within a huge corporate firm is hard as it is, let alone your first corporate job in Italy! (the work-place culture in general was soooo different) It was really hard for me to get used to men saying “harmless’’ comments with sexual connotations as if it was normal. Women in Italy are sometimes treated like sexual objects and that was really tough for me while working because quite frankly all I wanted to do was work hard and learn as much as possible! Although it was frustrating at times, its taught me a lot about what I deem acceptable as a young woman and it’s given me a voice that speaks my mind when I am in an uncomfortable situation that I don’t agree with.

My advice to anyone pursuing this pathway is…. Life is short! Make it worthwhile. We are so blessed to be surrounded by an abundance of opportunity. If you are unhappy about something in your life, change it! Apply to everything! Anything that is of interest is something worth applying for. (even if the interest is about 10%) You never know what you could learn. Worse comes to worst you work there for a couple of months and then move on! All I knew is that I wanted to stay in Milan. I had no idea about consulting or digital strategy at the time. Even though it was a longshot with my lack of experience and age, I applied and got in! Even if you end up with 20 rejections, each rejection teaches you something and helps you understand what you like and makes you work 10x harder to get there! 

And p.s I am passionate about… I am super passionate about women’s rights and the power we have as women to create change and break that glass ceiling. I think as women we can motivate and inspire each other to be the best women we can be. I love ENID for doing exactly that!

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