She is a Creative Strategist and Digital Innovator with a passion for human-centered design solutions. By applying Design Thinking methods she explores systems to create better human experiences that generate impact. Enthusiastic, empathic and creative, she believes Human-Centered design and Strategic Thinking can transform the way we experience the world. Everyone, Meet Antayra Mares.
What are you up to lately?
Making the most out of working from home! As part of my routine, I catch up on the day’s news in the industry, after finishing daily goals I touch base with friends, mentors and attend online training sessions toward my professional and personal growth. Lately, I’ve gotten really interested in the future of design and communications. I tend to pick the brain of people on the topic which most of the time leads to a full-on brainstorming session of possible scenarios on the topic.
Where are you now?
I’m currently based in Singapore, this is my 3rd year calling the Lion city home. Singapore is definitely a great city to explore. I consider it a melting pot of inspiration. It’s quite enriching to witness diverse cultures, food, landscapes, and languages in just one place.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I define myself as curious by nature. I had the opportunity to grow up in various cities in Mexico, which awoke my driving curiosity to explore cultures and the world. Living in Mexico, Shanghai, New York, and now Singapore has made me open, humble, and empathic. Experiencing the day to day of these great cities has been an eye-opener on the importance of changing behavior depending on our cultural environment. I quickly managed to adapt to new environments and learned the fundamental principle that different is not wrong, it’s just different. It also helped my skills as a problem solver, and thinking on my feet which comes in handy as a Creative Strategist.
I have been in Creative Strategy for over 9 years, and the question ‘How can we improve our experiences as humans?’ is something that intrigues me and keeps on motivating me. Attending the Parsons MA Strategic Design and Management was a huge step into properly being able to pinpoint the core cause of any issue and quickly manage the outcome while providing creative solutions. The program allowed me to explore methodologies, systems, and techniques that combined with my Visual Communication degree allows me to create better human experiences which is what I apply mostly on my day to day work.
Proudly Pisces! I identify well with my zodiac characteristics. I have a strong imagination and tend to see the bigger picture – often I start to visualize the possible scenarios of a story I’m being told. I consider myself very approachable and empathetic. These characteristics come in handy when I need to put myself in the shoes of the user/client. This often leads to alternative ways of thinking and to the exploration of new ideas on how to create human-centered strategies that generate impact for certain audiences.
Are you an introvert or extrovert?
100% extrovert. I truly enjoy meeting people, listening to their stories, and understanding their background. I am energized by interacting with people and thrive in situations that involve group work, collaboration, and social interaction. I’m adapting and enjoying the new Singapore normal of meeting people in smaller groups, I believe it allows for better communication engagement which leads to more meaningful conversations.
Your official designation now is?
I’m the Head of Creative Strategy and Accounts at 2Stallions Digital Marketing Agency. My focus ranges from UX Strategy for customized Websites/Applications to Creative Strategy of multi-channel marketing campaigns that generate impact and conversions. Some of my responsibilities include Client management & communications, Creative Marketing Strategies, Brand Strategy, Digital Strategy, Leadership, Managing Creative Teams & Projects, UX/UI Innovation, and collaboration on the planning, managing, and implementing holistic multi-channel marketing campaigns.
Marketing is broad, what’s your specialty?
My specialty is creating Human-Centred experiences for holistic multi-channel digital products. The Human-Centred approach fuels the creation of experiences that resonate more deeply with an audience, ultimately driving engagement and growth for our clients and their users. It also allows me to take inspiration from real users, work within audiences and technological constraints, and consider every product/service touch-point as an opportunity to surprise, delight, and deliver benefits to clients and end-users.
What do you love about Marketing?
Marketing is very powerful. I love that I get to work with amazing brands and people. It inspires me that my work makes a real impact on diverse businesses from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. It’s fascinating! I love helping people connect the dots and creating strategies and stories that resonated with clients and end-users. I get to make people fall in love with a brand story or help them discover something unexpected. I enjoy the fact that Digital Marketing is constantly changing and evolving and working in a fast-paced agency two days never feel the same.
What do you hate about Marketing?
Hate is a strong word that I don’t often use. I don’t believe there’s something to hate about Marketing but if I consider some of the challenges I’ve faced those would be more on the technical aspect of Marketing. I’m fortunate enough to work with a great team of technical experts that are always open to share their insights and knowledge. At 2Stallions we have a culture of mentorship and knowledge sharing that allows us to grow out of our comfort zone and thrive as a team.
When thinking, you’d like to be alone or with people?
I’m always thinking, and my mind is full of ‘What ifs’ questioning anything and everything that surrounds me. My thinking starts alone but it quickly becomes thoughts that I share or write-down to explore further.
Your ideas, most of them came from?
Ideas come from all sorts of places in a very random way. But ideas that I trust for projects often come from open conversation, research, and understanding what’s the challenge I’m trying to solve, this methodology leads me to recognize a new path for solving any challenge. However, for ideas to be successfully implemented, it is essential to nurture, develop them, and follow them up with a feasibility study that evaluates its promise and nurtures its further growth if it appears promising.
Are you a digital nomad or office freak?
A healthy mix of both. One of the great things of working for a Digital Marketing Agency is that my work is fully Digital! In addition to our Singapore HeadQuarters, we have teams located in Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, and India that we manage digitally. I rely on technology for effective communication and with great collaboration software available, it is easy to work remotely. Sometimes I can be found exploring cafés around Singapore but to be honest, I’m mostly rooted in my home office space.
Your favourite social media?
Instagram! Social media has become such an integral part of everyday life that I have learned to use it beneficially. I enjoy the diverse media and formats from an equally diverse audience.
What do you do when you’re not working?
On my day to day routine, I take some time to focus on my mind and spirit, afterward I work out, I enjoy the gym floor, yoga, and reformer Pilates. I have created a weekly routine to balance the 3 of them. I also invest time in developing new skills and challenging myself to keep on growing as a professional. I like to spend time building relationships and catching up with old friendships on FaceTime. I enjoy hosting small gatherings and introducing new people to each other and discussing anything and everything.
During holidays or long weekends I like exploring new environments and places, In the past that involved traveling, however with the travel restrictions in place, I have realized there’s so much more I have yet to explore here in Singapore.
What is the first thing you’d do when you’re hired/chosen to handle a new project?
I mostly go for tried-and-tested methodologies that help me break the creative and project management processes down and ensure the correct allocation of resources needed. Before kicking-off any project, I review the scope of work, define the Key Performance Indicators, and set SMART milestones. I use these milestones as the focal point for the teams, for the monitoring and forecasting of the entire project.
I’m a huge fan of Gantt charts! By creating them I can easily track adjustments that might be made throughout the project. Once a project is kicked off with a client I use a snapshot of the initial Gantt as a baseline to share with the client, this enables me to track actual performance against what was expected.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
This might be odd and I hope someone can identify with it. I’m neither! I tend to run on the same energy level all day and depending on what’s the plan for the day I have no problem stay up late or going to bed early. Nowadays I’m creating reasons to wake up earlier than usual – those reasons are going to the gym at 6:30 am, it wasn’t easy at the beginning but now I’m used to it. I have also noticed getting the morning sun while outside acts as a natural cue to my circadian rhythm making it easier for me to sleep at night.
How do you stay motivated?
Over time I have created small rituals and goals that have become a pattern to achieve my daily goals. I believe having a personal calendar where you include daily tasks, goals and time off is important especially nowadays where work-life balance is a challenge. I feel like they are overlapping and it is important to keep them separated.
I tend to follow the 3’Rs for habit formation, Reminder, Routine, and Reward. I enjoy this habit because it removes the debating or decision making when you don’t feel motivated. You just follow the routine pattern on what to do next. Challenges are also a great way for me to stay motivated. I found that by creating tasks that are right on the border of success and failure are incredibly motivating in mastering new skills and abilities.
The best book you’ve ever read.
Definitely there’s more than one that has shaped the person that I am today, but one of my to-go-to books is Design Thinking for Strategic Innovation: What They Can’t Teach You at Business Or Design School by Idriss Mootee. This book provides a framework for design thinking that is relevant to business management, marketing, and design strategies and also provides a toolkit to apply concepts for immediate use in everyday work. It really explains how design thinking can bring about creative solutions to solve complex business problems.
How to contact you?
Feel free to reach out via LinkedIn!