Mirella Arapian (she/her) is an Armenian-Australian creative director. She’s the founder and creative director at MEK, a purpose-driven design studio building brands of the future with social and environmental impact. Specialising in branding, campaigns and design, MEK disrupts the norm and defies convention to help revolutionary brands tell their story to raise awareness, attention and action, and win hearts and minds. Mirella is also the founder and director of Womentor, a global mentorship program for women in design committed to improving gender equality in the design industry.
Mirella has worked across Australia and North America with leading brands and organisations including Sea Shepherd, PETA, WWF, Museums Victoria, Environmental Film Festival, RMIT University and World Animal Protection. She’s spoken at design festivals, industry events and education institutions around Australia; her work has won awards, been featured in international publications, and exhibited at Melbourne Design Week and the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Bucharest, Romania.
Mirella is an animal rights activist and volunteers for various organisations across social justice, animal liberation and human rights. As a woman in design leadership and child of immigrants, she’s an advocate for equality, diversity and inclusion, and uses her business as a platform for activism and positive change.
Career & Background
What inspired you to do what you are doing now?
Knowing there is so much injustice in the world and having the skills, experience, expertise and resources to effect change. What I do is bigger than myself and keeps me going when I feel unmotivated or uninspired.
Your favourite food for thought
- Meditations – Marcus Aurelius
- No One is Too Small to Make a Difference – Greta Thunberg How to Win Friends and Inﬂuence
- People – Dale Carnegie
Podcasts / Thought Leaders
- On Being
- The Philosopher’s Zone
- How I Built This
What drives and inspires you
What are your core values?
- Making a difference
Who is your biggest inspiration and why?
Myself — who I was 10 years ago, who I am today and who I’ll be in 10 years. I started from nothing, with nothing, and looking back I’m incredibly proud of how far I’ve come and what I’ve achieved. I believe in myself and back myself.
You as a Mentor
Why have you decided to become a mentor?
When I was starting out I didn’t have any mentors, role models or anyone to look up to or go to for advice. I want to give others what I didn’t have when I needed it, which was part of what led me to create Womentor, a mentorship program for women in design. I love mentoring and it’s extremely important to me to nurture emerging designers and empower them with the support and conﬁdence to realise their full potential and make their dreams a reality.
What are the top 5 skills or qualities you bring to mentoring?
- Asking powerful questions