How I Got Here: The Iconic’s Styling Team Lead on navigating a major career change (2023)

“Work hard, say yes, surrender to the opportunities presented to you and enjoy the journey.”

Have you everstalked someone on LinkedInand wondered how on earth they managed to land that wildly impressive job? While it might look like smooth sailing, there’s no doubt been a heck of a lot of hard work involved in getting there.

So what lessons have been learnt and what skills have proved invaluable in getting them from daydreaming about success to actually being at the top of their industry?

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Welcome toHow I Got Here, where we talk to people who are killing it in their respective fields about how they landed their awe-inspiring jobs, exploring the peaks and pits, the failures and the wins, and most importantly the knowledge, advice and practical tips they’ve gleaned along the way.

This week, we’re delving into the career journey of The Iconic’s Styling Team Lead, Ashley Syne. At the age of 28, ater six years as a high school dance and drama teacher, Ashley made a 180-degree career change.

Realising her long-time love for fashion and styling, she studied, interned and networked her way to her dream job – but not without taking some all-important professional risks. Ultimately, it was Ashley’s determination, passion and people skills that got her to where she is today. Here’s what she learnt along the way.

What do you do and what’s your official job title?

Currently, I am the Styling Team Lead at The Iconic. I manage the eCommerce styling and hair and makeup department of Production Operations and lead a team of around 15 full-time, casual and freelance staff.

Take us back to when you were first starting out. Did you study to get into your chosen field, or did you start out with an internship/entry-level role and climb the ladder? Tell us the story.

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I actually had a massive career change at the age of 28. After I finished school, I studied education at UNSW and was a dance and drama secondary school teacher for about six years. I then decided I wanted to pursue a career in fashion, something I always had a love for. While working full-time at a high school, I studied fashion part-time through Orana Fashion Business College and would work hard iterning during the school holidays.

This was just a one year course, but I ended up landing an entry-level role as a production assistant with Bauer Media halfway through my course. It wasn’t an easy decision to take the leap, leave teaching and start from the ground up, but I decided to jump in the deep end and say yes! I had to take a big cut financially and it was a risk, but thankfully I had a great partner and family who supported me through the transition.

My manager at Bauer Media was very supportive of my wanting to pursue styling and eventually she gave me opportunities to actually style photoshoots, not just produce. This is where I gained some real hands-on experience.

What challenges/hurdles have you faced getting to where you are now? Can you tell us about one in particular?

It definitely hasn’t been easy. I think the biggest challenge at the beginning was taking quite a large cut in salary. My partner and I had also just bought our first home so it was quite stressful not being able to contribute financially as I had previously been able to.

Also, jumping into something I’d never done before was quite daunting. Going from teaching to producing in a high stress and fast-paced environment was very overwhelming at first. But I was driven, passionate and I wanted it, so I worked my butt off and didn’t look back. Also, returning to work after maternity leave was a big adjustment for me, both personally and professionally.

What do you want people to know about your industry/your role?

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Through high school, I always wanted to work in fashion. But when it came to the crunch and I didn’t get into the fashion school I applied for in 2004, I became very disheartened. I thought the fashion industry was too unattainable – and to be honest, it was a little intimidating for a girl from a small town on the south coast.

I thought teaching would be the ‘safe’ career option. But now that I’m in the fashion industry – it’s so not what I imagined. I’ve met the most kind-hearted, beautiful, warm and friendly people; I’ve had mostly positive experiences within the industry. Sure, I’ve come across the occasional character I just don’t gel with, but that’s life.

I’m a very down-to-earth person and know there’s a lot more to life than clothing. I find most people in the industry are similar, nothing like that ‘entitled fashion snob stereotype‘ we often see depicted in movies.

What’s the best part about your role?

The best part about my role is definitely the people. My team are some of the kindest, most talented, fun people I know. The Iconic is such a great place to work because everyone is so friendly and truly loves what they do.

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What would surprise people about your role?

My role is quite heavily admin-based at the moment. Because I’m a leader, I’m often in meetings with other departments, communicating important information to my team and planning. I don’t do a lot of hands-on styling right now – I’m more focused on the overall styling direction, look, feel and quality of our imagery. I have regular meetings with my team so we can catch up on what’s happening on the floor and how I can better motivate and support them moving forward.

What skills have served you well in your industry?

Being a great communicator, staying kind and humble and saying yes to opportunities when they come your way! Also, attention to detail is a big one – and being a team player. Try to think outside the box; be creative and open-minded.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to be in a role like yours one day?

Work hard, say yes, surrender to the opportunities presented to you and enjoy the journey! Also network, network, network… I hate to say ‘it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know’, but who you know does play a huge role. You never know where that chance meeting you had with that photographer or makeup artist might lead you.

Every person you meet in the industry can open up a new door for you, so don’t be shy, talk to people, learn and keep learning. Work with other creatives, collaborate on creative projects and shoot. There’s still so much I want to learn and accomplish, I’m only just touching the surface of where I want to go.

What about a practical tip?

Keep a little book of contacts like photographers, hair and makeup artists, stylists and PR contacts and start test shooting and building your portfolio. Get on social media – having a presence on socials as a fashion creative has been a huge help in connecting me with the right people.

Download the Vogue Runway app and keep on top of what’s happening in the world of fashion. Then get off your phone, go outside and see what people are wearing on the streets – go to an art gallery or a photography exhibition. Be inspired by the world and get those creative juices flowing.


Read the rest of the How I Got Here serieshere.

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Can you explain why you changed career paths answer? ›

Example Answer 1:

I want to change my career path for future growth potential and new challenges. I feel my skills and experience will transfer well into this new career. For example, I saw your job description mentions communication with clients and the ability to lead projects, which were key parts of my last job.

How do you navigate a career change? ›

The dos and don'ts of navigating a career change
  1. Think holistically. ...
  2. Have a plan. ...
  3. Use your network. ...
  4. Consider further education. ...
  5. Consider other options. ...
  6. Talk to a professional.

How do you answer a career change interview question? ›

How to address your career change in an interview
  1. Discuss your long-term goals. Explain how your decision to change careers relates to your long-term career goals. ...
  2. Be positive and honest. ...
  3. Highlight your unique perspective. ...
  4. Emphasize your skills. ...
  5. Research the company. ...
  6. Bring tangible evidence.
14 Apr 2022

How do you answer how do you lead a team? ›

Here's a sample answer: I believe I can lead and inspire a team to perform their best and try to accomplish goals. I can achieve this through relationship building, being motivated about the goals, and influencing others around me.

What is your career path Example answer? ›

Career aspiration example 2

I would like to manage international projects and globally dispersed teams. I have strong leadership skills and communication skills that I would like to continue developing. My long-term career goal is to become a program manager and manage several projects at the same time.”

How do I prepare for a career change interview? ›

Here are six tips to help you have a successful career change interview.
  1. Play Up Similar Skills.
  2. Have a Plan for Gaining New Skills.
  3. Showcase Your Flexibility.
  4. Point Out Any Advantages of Your Old Career Path.
  5. Be Prepared to Explain Why You're Changing Careers.
  6. Be Aware and Adjust for Culture Changes.
1 Feb 2022

What is the best answer for changing job? ›

I want to work in an industry I'm more passionate about. I don't think I'm paid my market value. I think I've learned all I can in this role. Desire to learn more or grow a current skill.

What does navigate your career mean? ›

This means setting clear goals and defining the steps to get there. If you're aiming for a promotion, what do you need to do to accomplish this? If you're contemplating a career change, are there ways you can gain experience or skills that will help prepare you?

What is a good reason for a career change? ›

Some of the good reasons to give:

Looking for better career prospects, professional growth. Looking for new challenges at work. The company's growth prospects are poor. Current job duties have been reduced.

How do you answer how do you manage change? ›

How to answer, "How do you handle change?"
  1. Identify your strengths. Think about your strengths and how they helped you handle change. ...
  2. Reflect on your experiences handling change. ...
  3. Describe the outcome in your example. ...
  4. Highlight what you've learned. ...
  5. Use the STAR technique.
29 Mar 2021

Why should we hire you answer best? ›

Show that you have skills and experience to do the job and deliver great results. You never know what other candidates offer to the company. But you know you: emphasize your key skills, strengths, talents, work experience, and professional achievements that are fundamental to getting great things done on this position.

How do I say I am a good team leader? ›

Examples of team player statements to incorporate into your resume include:
  1. Embraces teamwork.
  2. Team-player who can also work independently.
  3. Thrives in a team environment.
  4. Excellent communication skills.
  5. Enjoys working closely with others.
  6. Team-oriented personality.
  7. Dedicated team-member.
  8. Team leader.

What are the qualities of a good team lead? ›

The qualities of an effective team leader inspire the trust and respect of the team and stimulate production within the workplace.
  • A Clear Communicator. ...
  • Strong Organization Skills. ...
  • Confident in the Team. ...
  • Respectful to Others. ...
  • Fair and Kind. ...
  • An Example of Integrity. ...
  • Influential in Core Areas. ...
  • Willing to Delegate.

What are the most important things for you as a team lead? ›

Here are some important qualities of a good team leader:
  • Communication. A strong leader can clearly and concisely communicate goals, tasks, and other organizational needs to their team. ...
  • Honesty. ...
  • Relationship building. ...
  • Decisiveness. ...
  • Innovation. ...
  • Responsibility. ...
  • Motivation. ...
  • Determine your leadership style.

What is career path in simple words? ›

A career path is a list of steps to take in your professional life for progressing into different or more advanced roles at work. It's a series of jobs and experiences that help employees reach their ultimate career objectives and future goals.

What made you pursue this career path? ›

When answering “Why did you choose this career?” you can point out factors like growth prospects, job security, scope, etc to help make a valid explanation. A possible answer to this HR interview question can be, “I have always found a certain satisfaction in writing and knew I wanted to make a career in content.

How do I describe my career goals? ›

Short-term goals: Hone skills that support stability in your role, build time management skills, build strong work relationships. Long-term goals: Earn a specific salary, get a job with strong benefits, practice work-life balance, build a strong reputation at work.

What are the 3 most important things you are looking for in a new career opportunity? ›

There are three key employer characteristics a job seeker should look for in an employment relationship: reputation, career advancement and work balance. These often show up in employment surveys as being most important for candidates.

How do you write a personal statement for a career change? ›

A personal statement for a career change might include your name, the reason you're interested in the job and an explanation of how your background in a different field is uniquely applicable to the position. You could also use this section to express your sincere passion for the field.

What are the two things you consider the most when changing a job? ›

Here are the most important variables to take into account before changing jobs.
  • Work-from-Home Flexibility. ...
  • Health Insurance. ...
  • Paid Time Off. ...
  • Retirement Contributions and Stock Options. ...
  • Educational Benefits. ...
  • Room for Advancement. ...
  • Company Culture. ...
  • Company Stability.
11 May 2022

What motivates you to apply to this position? ›

After you show them you're targeting specific things in your job search, talk about what caught your interest. What is this? You could mention details you saw on the job description, on the company website, etc. Show them you understand what their role involves and are excited to be doing the work!

Why is career Navigation important? ›

Thinking about their future possibilities can help to motivate youth to reach their lifestyle goals. Their lifestyles will be greatly affected by their careers. The intent is for youth to understand this connection.

What are the 4 types of career paths? ›

There are four types of career paths—knowledge-based, skill-based, entrepreneur-based, and freelance. Every kind of career path caters to a specific set of qualifications that help you perform your job.

What are the 5 career pathways? ›

The five health science career pathways are:

Therapeutic Services. Health Informatics. Support Services. Biotechnology Research & Development.

What are 3 reasons to change careers? ›

Here are the TOP THREE REASONS people want to change careers: Better work-life balance (56%) Higher pay (50%) More meaningful or fulfilling career (49%)

Why do you want to work with us? ›

I see this opportunity as a way to contribute to an exciting/forward-thinking/fast-moving company/industry, and I feel I can do so by/with my …” “I feel my skills are particularly well-suited to this position because …” “I believe I have the type of knowledge to succeed in this role and at the company because …”

What do you see yourself in 5 years? ›

In next five years, I would see myself as a person with more knowledge and experience and look for new opportunities which will improve my skills and enhance my knowledge I think that working in your organization will improve my experience and expertise.

What are the five 5 change management strategies? ›

5 Steps in the Change Management Process
  • Prepare the Organization for Change. ...
  • Craft a Vision and Plan for Change. ...
  • Implement the Changes. ...
  • Embed Changes Within Company Culture and Practices. ...
  • Review Progress and Analyze Results.
19 Mar 2020

How do you handle change are you good at dealing with change? ›

you're feeling out of control and overwhelmed.
  1. Think things through and ask, 'What's the worst that can happen? ' ...
  2. Ask yourself how much you can control. ...
  3. Accept and reframe. ...
  4. Celebrate the positives. ...
  5. Take action. ...
  6. Manage your stress. ...
  7. Seek support.

What have you done to improve yourself professionally? ›

Examples of what you could discuss are courses, seminars, and training that you attended, to develop your existing skills, or acquire new ones. Including specific examples of times, you went out of your way or your comfort zone to work on your development is the way to success.

What are 3 things that you would like to change? ›

Here they are:
  • Change your priorities. This is important if you want to live a balanced, fulfilling life. ...
  • Change your self-talk. Your self-talk has significant influence in your life. ...
  • Change your motivation. ...
  • Change your habits. ...
  • Change your friends. ...
  • Change your commitments. ...
  • Change your inputs. ...
  • Change your methods.
25 Jun 2008

What 3 things would you change about yourself? ›

The 3 things which I would change about myself is .
  • learn how to live a confidential life which helps us in failure situation.
  • learn how to be happy or search happiness in every movement . ...
  • Never miss understand others and understand the situation well.

How do you handle stress and pressure? ›

2. Commit to a Positive Attitude
  1. Decide what you can do. Pinpoint which parts of the situation you have the power to change or influence for the better. ...
  2. Get support. Find someone to talk to about your situation. ...
  3. Care for yourself. Take especially good care of yourself when stress in your life is high.

How do you handle pressure? ›

6 Ways to Handle Work Pressure
  1. Adjust your attitude. It's automatic for human beings to see pressure as a threat to our wellbeing. ...
  2. Stay in the present. ...
  3. Give yourself positive reinforcement. ...
  4. Visualize the worst case scenario. ...
  5. Take a deep breath. ...
  6. Ask for help.

What are 3 good qualities of a team leader? ›

11 traits you need to be a highly effective leader
  • Acknowledge, appreciate and give credit. ...
  • Active listening. ...
  • Communicate effectively. ...
  • Show commitment. ...
  • Embrace failure. ...
  • Invest in your team's future. ...
  • Lead with empathy. ...
  • Demonstrate integrity.
27 Aug 2022

What are the 5 roles of a team leader? ›

Responsibilities Of A Team Leader. The responsibility of a team leader is to establish a set of expectations, monitor progress, motivate and provide guidance and support so teams can complete tasks successfully. Team leaders are not usually tasked with employee discipline or annual performance reviews.

What are the 4 Roles of a team leader? ›

Team Leader Responsibilities:

Motivating the team to achieve organizational goals. Developing and implementing a timeline to achieve targets. Delegating tasks to team members. Conducting training of team members to maximize their potential.

Why should we hire you as team leader? ›

When hiring a team leader, employers look for excellent leadership skills, good communication skills, approachability, conflict management, and resolution skills. A strong sense of integrity and the ability to innovate and inspire are also preferred in candidates aspiring to become team leaders.

What is the most 3 important things for a team to succeed? ›

Through trust, communication and role identification, I have seen teams succeed and flourish in the midst of business and chaos. When these three areas are strong, success flows naturally and effectively.

How would you lead a team by example? ›

Six Ways of Leading by Example
  1. #1 Listen to the team. ...
  2. #2 Respect the chain of command. ...
  3. #3 Get your hands dirty. ...
  4. #4 Deliver on promised results. ...
  5. #5 Resolve conflicts quickly. ...
  6. #6 Value people. ...
  7. Organizational cohesiveness. ...
  8. Respect and trust.
26 Oct 2022

How did you lead the team? ›

Always keep your team fully informed of project goals, priorities and those all-important deadlines. Effective communication will be essential in both establishing your credibility and gaining the support of your team, so make sure you provide clear direction and always welcome questions and feedback.

How would you lead a team interview questions? ›

Team Leader interview questions
  • How would your colleagues and team describe you? ...
  • How would you mitigate a dispute between two team members who disagree over their responsibilities? ...
  • What techniques have you used to motivate a team? ...
  • What are your preferred methods of communication and why?

Can you give an example of when you had to lead a team? ›

During my last job as a supervisor I had many situations where I had to encourage my team to reach a difficult goal like a deadline, supervise 3 teams at differnet sites. So I had to motivate the Teams and tell them about the importance of our job and of our teamwork.

How do you introduce yourself to a new team as a lead? ›

9 tips on how to introduce yourself as a manager to a new team
  1. Get to know your team.
  2. Be positive.
  3. Dress for the job.
  4. Pay attention to your team.
  5. Share your story.
  6. Be clear about your expectations.
  7. Identify roadblocks.
  8. Prepare (and make time) for questions.
6 May 2022

What is the best example of a role of the team leader? ›

Manage the work.

The best leaders manage their team's work. They plan, organize, delegate, arrange resources, and ensure the completion of the team's responsibilities.

What is team lead roles and responsibilities? ›

A team leader provides guidance and instruction to a working group about a project or portfolio of projects. They are in charge of delegating work, overseeing progress towards goals, and coaching team members as needed. Team leads often serve as de-facto mentors for the team, even if they don't have a manager title.

What are the 3 qualities for team leader? ›

Top 10 Qualities of a Good Team Leader
  • Leadership is not all about you. ...
  • Honesty, Integrity and Humility. ...
  • Hold your team (and yourself) accountable. ...
  • Good leaders make a decisive commitment to a vision. ...
  • Know thy self and believe in thy self. ...
  • Successful team leaders speak well and listen better. ...
  • Achieve goals in good time.

What is the most important responsibility of a leader? ›

What are the 3 Most Important Roles of a Leader?
  • Leaders need to have clear goals and objectives;
  • They need to motivate their followers and provide them with direction;
  • They must support their team members in order for them to succeed.
19 May 2021

How do you lead and motivate a team? ›

  1. Provide a vision and purpose. ...
  2. Set clear goals. ...
  3. Lead by example. ...
  4. Encourage teamwork. ...
  5. Be optimistic and positive. ...
  6. Give praise and rewards. ...
  7. Communicate with the team. ...
  8. Empower team members.
6 Mar 2015

How do you describe your leadership style? ›

Example Answer #1:

“I would describe my leadership style as direct, and leading by example. I enjoy delegating tasks and taking the lead on projects, but I also like to stay involved and inspire my team by showing that I'm working hands-on to help them, too.

Why should I select you as a team leader? ›

When hiring a team leader, look for ​​strong leadership skills, excellent communication skills, conflict management and resolution skills and approachability. Great candidates for your team leader role may also have integrity and humility and the ability to innovate and inspire.

How do you introduce yourself in a leadership interview? ›

Work History in a Nutshell

Start by briefly introducing your professional story. Outline your experience, showing a trajectory from early career until now. Keep the focus on your current or most recent position—where you can speak directly to your proficiency as a leader – and stay away from personal details.

How would you contribute yourself to make a team successful if you are ask to lead the team? ›

Here are 9 ways you can contribute more effectively to make the teams you work with more successful, regardless of your specific role.
  1. Understand the end goal. ...
  2. Have knowledge of your role. ...
  3. Project work is often fluid and free flowing. ...
  4. Recognise interdependencies. ...
  5. Be credible and reliable. ...
  6. Ask questions and communicate.
19 Aug 2015

What should I say in a leadership interview? ›

Tips for answering leadership interview questions
  • Situation: Start by establishing the situation and sharing any important details.
  • Task: Recount your specific task or responsibility.
  • Action: Describe, step by step, what you did to address the task or responsibility.
  • Result: End with the impact of your actions.
16 Aug 2022


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