Getting to Know Our Team 8: Maz
The eighth in a series of occasional articles about our employees in 2021.
Please tell us about your professional background before you joined GWS
I graduated with a degree in Theology and Religious Studies in 2017 and moved to Bristol in 2018. I worked for an energy supplier, initially in sales but later moved to their trading and forecasting team. After that, I took up a project management role for a company which mainly did carbon neutral innovations. I still find the energy industry fascinating, and try my best to keep up with major developments there. However, my first love is writing and research, so I’m feeling much better suited to copywriting and marketing already.
Please take us through the kinds of things you do in your job at GWS in a typical week
I haven’t been here long, so much of my time at the moment is spent getting up to speed with GWS’ clients and the work they do. I write content for our clients, including social media posts, and for our own website and newsletter. I also spend time with David and Philip brainstorming potential strategies for our marketing clients to keep building their web presence. Since starting here I’ve been tasked with researching everything from building restoration to resistance to the Vietnam War – even if my job is mostly writing, the content varies significantly! As I go on, I expect I’ll be diving more into Google Analytics as well.
Which aspects of the job you enjoy the most?
Definitely the creative work. I like to be able to construct some kind of narrative in whatever I write and take the audience on a journey. Sometimes that’s a straightforward company history, and other times it’s a case of distilling technical information into something clear and engaging – or both! I also enjoy working with Victor and Kyle to ensure that the text works with the designs they make.
What has been your biggest achievement / something you are really proud of?
In my previous roles, I’ve run workplace seminars on transgender awareness and respect for colleagues. These were really successful, with the last one I ran being attended by approximately 80 people (virtually, as it was during lockdown). This has led to some really thoughtful Q&A sessions and many colleagues expressing to me that I’ve answered questions they were too afraid to ask. I’ve been able to point people towards helpful resources and generally advocate for better trans inclusion at work.
Websites and Digital marketing are constantly evolving. What changes do you see happening lately that affect the work you do in your role (be it design, development, SEO, copywriting or social media)?
There’s definitely a shift towards visual media over text. Look and feel are even more important; people are bombarded with content from all directions, so people rely heavily on first impressions. Additionally, search engine algorithms are forever becoming more sophisticated which means SEO must integrate more naturally into website text. We’re also seeing more clients request help with marketing on LinkedIn in addition to the usual Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
What are some of your hobbies and interests outside work?
I enjoy running (slowly), singing (badly), and generally making a fool of myself on stage. I’ve done standup, storytelling, and traditional theatre performance. Since lockdown I’ve also enjoyed livestreaming and have met some fantastic people I never would have otherwise. I also love puzzles and trivia, and have a particular love of Only Connect.
How have you found adapting to a different way of working during the lock-down?
Truthfully, I found it very difficult; not so much from a technological standpoint but because I hadn’t realized how sociable I am! At my last company we did weekly quizzes which were very silly but gave us something to look forward to.
Have you got any work hacks you could share?
Firstly, the Pomodoro Method, which involves working for twenty-five minutes and breaking for five, repeatedly. It’s great for maintaining focus over long tasks while keeping my brain sharp. Secondly, I try to keep my work space as physically separate from everything else as possible. Obviously, that’s a lot easier when I’m working from an office rather than home.
Where do you look for inspiration: a person, a blog, a brand?
I’m always inspired by creative people from all disciplines. Some of them I’m lucky enough to call friends, while others I simply look at in awe. There’s no one person I look to; it depends on what I need inspiration for!
Quick fire round:
Tea or coffee?
Coffee (but I’ve only just started drinking it).
Omnivore or vegetarian?
Vegan – it’s hard not to be in Bristol!
Mac or Windows?
Favourite genres of music (e.g. classical, jazz, blues, folk, country, pop, rock, metal, disco, house, rap, trance, EDM)?
Anything electronic, hip-hop, folk, funk, alternative, indie… hard to pin it down!
5 musical artists you enjoy listening to?
Sufjan Stevens, Radiohead, The Mountain Goats, Massive Attack, The Allergies.
All-time favourite song?
I Want To Be Well – Sufjan Stevens.
Favourite chart song of the past two years?
MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) – Lil Nas X.
Morning or night person?
Night. I wish I was a morning person, but alas.
Favourite subject(s) at school?
Religious Studies, closely followed by Drama and English.
Cereal or toast?
Item you couldn’t live without?
My rainbow dungarees. I wish they were acceptable officewear!
Work-life balance or workaholic?
I’m not sure I know any country well enough as a whole, but I love Barcelona and Berlin.
Thing you’ve missed most in lock-down?
Live performance and cinema.