What you need to know:
- As a junior, I was not vocal about the challenges I faced because I was trying to prove to myself how strong I was
Tough times never last, but tough people do!
This saying reflects how one can develop thick skin through challenges in a manner that automatically stimulates growth.
Caroline Mees, Founder and Creative Director of Colour Creative Hub, a multimedia company that provides creative solutions to organisations, businesses, and individuals in Tanzania, is a vivid example.
Her journey in the creative world began at an academy in Malaysia, where she was pursuing visual communication and audio engineering.
A few months into her university journey, Caroline gave birth, and as a teen mother, she had to relocate to Germany to continue with her studies at the Sae Institute due to restrictions at the institution in Malaysia.
Two years later, she returned to Malaysia and interned at a teen magazine as an assistant publicist and a marketer.
In late 2012, she returned to Tanzania because she wanted her son to grow up in a familiar environment.
“I was first employed as an Art and Creative Director at AIM Group, and it was everything but what I expected it to be. As a junior, I was not vocal about the challenges I faced because I was trying to prove to myself how strong I was. In two years, I jumped from being a graphic designer to being a Creative Art Director,” she says.
She began consulting on the side for QA, who were the main suppliers of Moet and Hennessy. This helped Caroline build a network that contributed to her career progression.
“This was the time Elements reached out, as they wanted me to be part of the team as a Marketing, Events, and Talent Manager to assist in their revamp to a sports club."
According to Caroline, she worked on the branding, logo, videography, and different campaigns that contributed to the company's growth.
It was during this time that she decided to mentor about five people who reached out to her for guidance in the creative industry.
Through her own experience, she shared lessons with them that led to her evolution.
“I wanted to be a safe space that would help creatives work in their elements and succeed at it because there were no such people to train creatives to explore their potentials,” she recalls.
As she mentored other people, Caroline pushed herself to the brink of a breakdown, which led her to take some time off from work. This was shortly after she registered her company in 2015.
“I was already invested in the entertainment industry, and I was managing DJs and artists. I was also in the spotlight due to working with these artists. I wanted to be the best at my work and forgot that it was a process that took a while."
Caroline, who was also a mother to a teenager, says the pressure of balancing work and parenting took a toll on her mental health.
She took a career break and immersed herself in religion, which made her faith stronger and improved her mental well-being.
In 2018, she joined Str8up Vibes as a Creative Director, and through her work, her network expanded due to the people she connected with.
In late 2022, she worked with Johari Rotana as a brand visualist when they reopened.
She has so far worked with over 25 clients, both local and international. Caroline also bagged an award for CEO of the Year in the creative and management category.
She advises women to search for information to help them get financial support for their work.
“They must have a vision and goals they want to achieve that will not only change their own lives but also the lives of others. Everything circles back to how impactful your work is.”
Women must be open to working with other people to breathe life into their dreams. “There is a belief that asking for assistance could lead to having your ideas copied; which is not true.”
Caroline urges men to join this conversation, saying that for society to be on one page about women's empowerment in diverse sectors, it is important to involve men who have been leading these sectors from the beginning.
“Women have to be confident enough to pursue their goals because no one will be on their side unless they prove something to the world. Unfortunately, that’s how the world works.”
They can only ask for assistance when they are already working on their goals because it is easier for other people to assist when you are already working on tangible goals, she explains.
She further emphasises that no one can tell women what they can do and what they cannot do because “no one knows better than you, which allows you to dream as big as you can.”