Q & A with Alison Steiner



Alison Steiner is a Creative Business Consultant working on our Wayfind Creative programme.

We would like to ask you some questions…

  1. As a creative careers mentor – what do you most want to achieve?
    I would like to work with my mentees to help them improve their incomes and outcomes by supporting them to develop sustainable creative practice.
  2. What do you hope to offer Wayfind Creatives?
    Along with my colleagues at Wayfind Creative, I hope to offer the Wayfind Creatives a framework from which to develop their practice, that is meaningful, and supportive of their long term goals. Understanding that their goals will not be achieved overnight in many cases but through good planning, resilience, persistence and perseverance will be more attainable.
  3. What are your particular areas of expertise?
    I have B.Com, and Grad Dip Arts. My areas of expertise come from a creative business practice where I was the business owner/manager/director, developing a strategy to identify, grow, develop and implement opportunities include business planning, accounting, marketing, commissions, funding applications.
  4. What do you think is the greatest strength of being a creative?
    The greatest strength of being a creative is their vision and ability to create.
  5. What do you think is the greatest challenge of being a creative?
    I think the biggest challenge of being a creative is earning income from their practice i.e. developing a sustainable career working in their practice. Often Creatives’ like to do everything themselves and not get help. I understand this is mostly due to $$ but they need to trust themselves, their ability and be strategic.
  6. Has life changed for you since Covid-19?
    If so, please share… I am not sure Covid changed my life, however, through this time, I have transitioned out of the creative business I part-owned, and re-evaluated my work/life goals. I was able to participate in around 34 (free) online presentations, due to Covid, including Social Enterprise World Forum, Maori Business and Innovation. I used the time to reflect on how I could transform my life to enable my work and personal life to be complementary in an authentic, innovative, good way. I identified that the skills and experience from my working life could be shared to help guide creatives to navigate their way to sustainable business practice with underlying ethics and philosophy of integrity, authenticity, equity, equality, resilience, whanaungatanga (connection) and manaakitanga (kindness).
  7. What will your life look like in a year?
    I would like to think I have mentored a range of creatives who are on their way to establishing their practice and to have continued to engage with other creatives, businesses and community to create connections and opportunities we haven’t thought of yet (across sectors) including a digital hub to improve social, creative and economic wellbeing.
  8. What’s the most important lesson life has taught you so far?
    No matter what happens, you can get through it (resilience), try to keep an open mind to everything, persistence, ask for help, keep moving one foot in front of the other and importantly, breathe, (i.e. look after your wellbeing)A recent personal example of this:
    Following a wonderful walk of part of the Camino de Santiago in 2017, I received a Breast Cancer diagnosis when I had just started a GradDipArts and transitioning out of the creative practice I was in.I completed the first course and took time out (from formal study) and moved to online learning, exploring a range of ideas and theories, while I undertook treatment, including five operations and chemotherapy.

    At the same time, I needed to make sure my role of managing the business was maintained, particularly as the IRD, banks and creditors don’t wait! In 2019/20, I completed my GradDipArts and exited the creative practice as described earlier.

    This journey has not been easy but in the words of Winston Churchill, “If you’re going through hell, keep going”.


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