A Career Choice is a Life Choice Logo

In the latest edition of our A Career Choice is a Life Choice series, we’re speaking with Alexandra Bahou Zagata, copy manager at Shinola, a luxury design brand based in Detroit. Starting her career in traditional journalism, she decided to make the move to a different industry because of her curiosity. Read more about her career insights and her industry change.

Alexandra Bahou Zagata, Copy Manager at Shinola Detroit

DB: What is your current position?
ABZ: I am the Copy Manager at Shinola Detroit, a luxury design brand headquartered in the Motor City.

DB: What has your career path been like?
ABZ: I grew up writing stories, and I always had a natural curiosity about everything. In high school, I decided to walk over to my hometown television station and ask if they could teach me more about interviewing and video editing. I will always be grateful for their willingness to mentor me. After one of the reporters couldn’t make it to the Memorial Day parade, they let me do live coverage for the show. Needless to say, I was hooked.

I majored in journalism at Michigan State University. During my senior year, I started working as a multimedia journalist at the Detroit Free Press. I was so humbled to be given the opportunity to do what I loved. After four wonderful years at the paper, I transitioned to WXYZ-TV in Southfield, where I worked as a web producer and digital reporter for almost six years. When the position at Shinola opened, I was at a spot in my life where I had an itch to explore the world outside of news. It was the only industry I’d ever known and the curiosity to try something new persisted. The position with Shinola intrigued me because it was familiar but also vastly different. There would be a lot of writing and tight deadlines, but there would also be marketing campaigns and special projects.

DB: What do you value most about your current role?
ABZ: I love that my role allows me to wear many different hats. With the versatility of my position, there is something new to learn every day, which I thoroughly enjoy. I also really value being a manager. I’ve been blessed with wonderful managers throughout my career, and I was eager for the opportunity to mentor.

DB: What has been the biggest learning to date from your career path?
ABZ: Trust your gut and be open to new experiences. I always get excited when I realize that I’m really nervous about an assignment. For me, it’s a sign that I’m continuing to push myself outside of my comfort zone. I never want to feel stagnant.

DB: If you’re looking to hire someone on your team, what is your favorite question to ask them?
ABZ: I feel like interviews can be a little stiff, so I enjoy asking questions that reveal who a candidate is on a personal level. I appreciated when hiring managers would ask me about my passions outside of work. I think one of the more important questions would be around preferred working habits: do they like to knock things off their checklist independently? Do they enjoy collaborative sessions? Are they comfortable with both scenarios? It helps paint a picture of what they need to succeed in the role.

Deanna Backos is a partner at the midnight oil group, a Detroit marketing agency offering full-service communications for clients. We live and breathe our clients’ brands, always developing new ideas, strategies and creative solutions to build awareness, engage with their target markets, and develop true brand advocates.