Social Change Maker Profile: Aiden Dabbagh, Initiative Sydney

Social Change Maker Profile: Aiden Dabbagh, Initiative Sydney
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B&T has partnered with UnLtd over the past few months to showcase some of the heroes in our industry – and their respective charity work. Last week we profiled Venessa Hunt from GroupM.

And now, meet Aiden Dabbagh! Aiden, 27, is a communications designer at Initiative Sydney – and thinks that everyone in adland should be doing some form of pro-bono work.

First ever job: Pizza Hut kitchenhand. We have them as a client now so I’ve really come full circle.

If I wasn’t doing my job, I’d be: Probably doing something in writing or content creation.

How I got where I am today: A train. It was late.

Causes I care about: Equality and mental health. Initiative and Mediabrands are aligned with a charity called Batyr who are focussed on having open conversation about mental health in Australia, which is something that really needs to be addressed and destigmatised.

If you also believe in equality (particularly in our industry) head to B&T‘s Changing the Ratio on May 28 for a day of diversity, inclusion and the promotion of women in Australia’s advertising, marketing and media landscape.

We’ve locked in some killer speakers (including Lisa Wilkinson!) and attendees will walk away with game-changing ideas, practical tools and case studies to take back to their organisations. To be one of those attendees, grab tickets here. Now, back to Aiden.

The change I’d like to see in the world and why it’s important: I find it odd and a little sad that there are individual people who are worth billions of dollars, because once you get to a certain level of wealth anything more becomes redundant.

The nine richest men in the world hold more combined wealth than the poorest four billion people. That’s mind boggling to me. I’d like to see more of the hyper rich take a leaf out of Bill Gates’ book and commit to significantly contributing to causes that matter.

How did you first get involved with UnLtd: I first became aware of UnLtd through their various charity events, and later through the NGEN brief competition for Hear for You last year.

The charity projects I’m currently working on: We’ve just finished up a campaign for Heartkids, and we’ll also be taking part in the UnLtd charity cup.

Some social issues I’m passionate about are: All facets of equality.

I think the marriage equality result was a great milestone for Australia, but you only have to look at some of the comments you see on Facebook to see that a lot of Australians have a long way to go when it comes to tolerance and understanding of different cultures and identities.

Why I want to give back: I think we are in a very unique position in the advertising industry when it comes to charity work.

The skills we have can help add value for a charity far beyond what we could offer through a donation, which is pretty awesome. Plus it helps the soul a little bit if you can do something more than sell stuff.

The best/most rewarding volunteering experience I’ve had: We’ve just finished up our pro-bono campaign for Heartkids which is a charity we were originally connected to through Unltd and Nicki Willoughby. We were able to raise over three million dollars worth of pro-bono media value for their campaign.

It was super rewarding to be able to use our skills and experience to help further an amazing cause to such a large degree.

My greatest achievement: Being told by a South African person that my South African accent was pretty good.

The person/company I’d like to challenge to get involved and why: Everyone in adland who doesn’t currently do any pro-bono work. Not only is it a rewarding experience, but it’s a great learning opportunity and a good way to build your skills and profile.

My advice for someone just starting their career is: Excel is your friend, not your enemy.

If I could have one super power, it would be: The power to change anything I want.

I’d be able to do a lot of good, and then afterwards give myself washboard abs & become friends with Donald Glover.

UnLtd is a social purpose organisation connecting the media, marketing and creative industries with charities helping children and young people at risk. Find out how you can get involved at unltd.org.au.

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