Meet the online mentors
Sonya Milford

Sonya Milford

Sonya Milford

Design Director, Colenso BBDO

Sonya Milford is an indigenous Design Director from Āotearoa, New Zealand. Passionate about decolonising the future of creativity, Sonya founded the creative collective, Āhua, a group of artists working to challenge the systems that oppress minority creatives. Currently at Colenso BBDO, Sonya has contributed to the success of some of the agency’s most ambitious digital and design projects. She’s designed an augmented reality museum, crafted a browser plugin that unplugged the royal wedding and replaced it with indigenous news, and spearheaded Tally My Post – an app that lets people instantly value the items in their Instagram posts. Her craft and digital innovation has led to local and global awards, including trophies at Spikes, One Show, Clio, and The Best Awards.

Career & Background

What inspired you to do what you are doing now?

The opportunity to share indigenous stories and the need to make career paths for minorities in the creative industry.

What was your journey and where are you headed in your career right now?

I completed my BFA in Design at Lindenwood University, St Louis Missouri, while playing on a basketball scholarship. After a couple years post graduate experience, I moved home to New Zealand where I’ve worked as a digital designer in-house for companies like TVNZ and Air New Zealand as well as agencies such as Gladeye, before moving into my current Design Director role at ColensoBBDO. I’ll be moving to London at the end of this year to continue developing my career while travelling Europe.

Your favourite food for thought


Not necessarily books about careers, but books that are important to minority storytelling:

  • Amma by Saraid de Silva,
  • Kurangaituku by Whiti Hereaka,
  • Nights in the Garden of Spain by Witi Ihamaera.

Podcasts / Thought Leaders

  • Coco Solid, Tame Iti, and The Pacific Sisters.

What drives and inspires you

What are your core values?

  • Diversity
  • Gratitude
  • Growth
  • Kindness
  • Making a difference
  • Wellbeing

Who is your biggest inspiration and why?

Coco Solid has been a big inspiration since I moved home to New Zealand. She is a writer/artist that I cite in many of my projects.

You as a Mentor

Why have you decided to become a mentor?

I would love to share any knowledge and access to information that can help an upcoming creative.

What are the top skills or qualities you bring to mentoring?

  • Collaborative
  • Empathic
  • Intuitive
  • Knowledgeable
  • Non-judgemental
  • Passionate

Ready to be a part of Assisterhood as a Mentee?

We are now up and running in QLD, VIC & NSW – and we’re only just getting started! Let’s shoot for the stars – together!