Often time the arts can have a tangible, positive impact. That is exactly what Zoe Alexiades (Class of 2014) has aimed to achieve as an avid freelance graphic designer with her own business. Now having conducted a TEDx Talk and the recent winner of a HACCI Young Achiever Award, Zoe has made a career out of wanting to help others.
Days at Caulfield Grammar
Growing up at Caulfield Campus, Zoe could be found exploring many avenues. From pursuing summer, winter and spring sports, to taking part in the arts curriculum, Zoe’s time was spread across the school. She loved being involved in music and theatre, alongside leadership and community service. One thing is for certain – she absolutely made the most of every opportunity.
Becoming a Grammarian and starting ZRA Designs
In the initial absence of study between leaving the Caulfield Grammar gates behind and awaiting tertiary education offers at the end of 2015, Zoe found herself establishing her own graphic design business. Starting off inside the four walls of her childhood bedroom, ZRA Designs was born, an avenue for Zoe to work for many incredible organisations:
“I didn’t just want to design for aesthetic. I wanted to create work and contribute to work that was meaningful, had an impact on people and created change.”
ZRA Designs has seen Zoe work for Red Cross, White Ribbon and TABOO Period Products, a social enterprise based in Adelaide who aim to end period poverty globally. The latter has coincided with her current role at Albert Park College as Communications Manager and Student Leadership Coordinator. Isobel Marshall, Co-Founder of TABOO and 2021 Young Australian of the Year, was able to jump on to a zoom and talk to student leaders about her work. This has been one of Zoe’s favourite parts of her work – seeing the tangible change take place:
“Seeing my worlds collide in that way and not having to be a business owner at home and an employee at work, but actually having the two intersect and being able to take my passion for social change and bring it with me to my workplace has been so rewarding”.
One of Zoe’s favourite projects has been working with Up Movement Australia, an organisation that creates funky socks with local artists and donates 100% of the profits to build prosthetic limbs in low-income countries:
“My favourite part is that I see the impact of my work with each client and that is really rewarding, my work enables businesses to create meaningful change”.
Zoe’s work has recently led to her being the winner of a HACCI Young Achiever Award. No doubt is this incredible achievement a culmination of years of creating tangible change for those in need
Studying communication design
Zoe’s tertiary education journey saw her studying Communication Design at Monash University. Whilst studying and juggling her freelance design work, Zoe received a scholarship to Italy and a trip to Malaysia to participate in a Humanitarian Aide conference, the latter also sponsored by Monash.
With these incredible opportunities under her belt, Zoe was invited to conduct her own TEDx talk in 2019. Zoe spoke about the importance of accepting vulnerability, a vital part of her own process in making the leap to establish her business:
“No one really knows what they’re doing and that’s ok. It’s ok to be confused and feel a bit lost, accepting that vulnerability and working with it has been a key part of my journey”.
Giving back to the CGA community
Similarly in 2019, Zoe was invited to speak to the Caulfield Grammar Year 10s at a careers seminar. Coming back as a Grammarian and having the opportunity to connect with students was a key experience for Zoe, shaping her desire to work in a school and have a positive impact in an educational environment.
A message to future Grammarians
For those following Zoe in her graphic design and social change footsteps, Zoe has one key message: just start.
“Most of us have access to a laptop and the abode suite, so what are you waiting for? Make a profile on freelancer.com or Upwork or any other freelancing site and just get started. Overthinking how you might start or what you might do, is the hardest part of the process”.
Want to connect with Zoe? You can find her on LinkedIn.
Interested in hearing more about our Grammarians? Georgia Maclaren, Class of 2013, is a freelance graphic designer with a love for travel.