Heather Iqbal connects creatives to craft a more inclusive industry
The time has come again to highlight someone who brings unique, positive and Unmistakable vibes to their industry. It’s a great time.
This month we dug a little deeper into the thoughts of Heather Iqbal, an Unmistakables partner and founder of Do That Thing.
What's your name and what do you do?
My name is Heather-Sabrina Iqbal and I run Do That Thing - a new kind of mentorship scheme to help get black and ethnic minority creatives into the industry.
How does your identity affect your work and your life in general?
Massively, especially over the last few years, when I've become more and more educated about some of the barriers I've faced because of my identity. Through moving to London I've also had the privilege of being able to connect with a wider network of other Pakistani Muslims who I share a bit more in common with, compared to my community back in Bradford, where I often felt I wasn't a "proper Asian" because I had different tastes in music for example. Both understanding and being supported in my identity has made me more proud and positive about it, encouraging me to lace it more and more through my life.
Who have been your role models and why?
I'm always inspired by the generation of women I'm raised by - my mum, my aunties, my sisters, my grandmother. Tenacity, determination, love and courage are the major values they've taught me. Though I'm definitely still working at being as good at all four of those things as they are. Also the FOOD they've given me, my days, that deserves a special mention!
Do you think other people see you differently to how you see yourself?
Yes, though recently I've been making efforts to not always focus on that. I think I've been previously hyper aware of how people might be perceiving me, as a woman, as an Asian, as a Muslim, as a Muslim who doesn't wear a hijab, as a Northerner...but at a certain point, even though garbage projections by any of these categories aren't my fault, you can't really function if you're trying to second guess how people might be categorising you. I like to think, through support of my community and by building my confidence, that I'm prepared to deal with people projecting perceptions on to me, and try to channel more energy into breaking down those perceptions in the long run, for myself and hopefully for others too.
Do you see yourself in advertising and marketing?
Definitely, I work in Environmental and Human Rights Communications as my day job, but increasingly for me, as all of these become more and more audience led, the boundaries between marketing practices are becoming increasingly blurred. Like previously, persuading MPs to shift on an issue just to be labelled as Comms or Public Affairs, but you're seeing more traditional campaigning or marketing techniques being used to ask them to shift their position.
Are you tired of hearing about Diversity & Inclusion?
Yes and no. I think the perplexing thing is that so many people are so early in their journey of being inclusive, that they need walking through some basic lessons, which at the base end some top line diversity concept serves. But I think it's way more exciting to see organisations like Fearless Futures break the mould on what Diversity and inclusion is and how people are educated about its fundamentals.
What one thing would you say to your younger self?
Things are really great! Though not always easy, because it turns out you don't really want to let them be...