25 February 2020
Zem Clarke - a hugely talented graphic designer who is working at Sky Sports
Scrolling through Twitter on her phone last year, one Tweet in particular caught the eye of Zemeka Clarke, a budding graphic designer.
You may already have seen Zem's work and not know her name - but that is all about to change for ZemClarke!
Zem was one of the artists commissioned by Twitter to produce a mural depicting female football players which were created in various locations across the UK.
The stunning mural of the Lionesses' Toxteth-born striker Nikita Parris was produced by Zem and is still proudly on display in Liverpool's London Road (see below).
Having given Zem the opportunity to showcase her work as part of a hugely successful national campaign to increase visibility for women's football, the power of Twitter then handed her another opportunity that could have a far-reaching impact on her career.
Zem takes up the story: "I was scrolling through Twitter a few months ago and saw a pledge that had been made by Sky Sports as part of Women in Football's #WhatIf campaign. It was a Tweet offering the opportunity for a three-month placement on Sky Sports' Placement Programme and something I knew I just had to apply for.
"I'm a football nut; I've played since I was six for QPR, Watford and London Bees, formerly known as Barnet Ladies, and my work as a graphic designer is very heavily football-orientated.
"I couldn't believe it when I found out that from around 250 applicants, I had been successful. It literally was a dream come true and has just been the most brilliant experience, even better than I had dared to imagine."
Zem started at Sky in December 2019 and has not looked back.
"Every day my face lights up as soon as I step into the building," she says. "Learning from the producers, the editors and everyone has just been incredible and expanded my knowledge hugely in a way that just wouldn't ever have happened if Women in Football had not started #WhatIf.
"It's not every day that you get an opportunity like this, to really help you along the way and learn from some of the very best in the business."
Zem's time at Sky has seen her work in different departments so she gets a thorough understanding and experience of how the organisation works, from editing programmes to sitting in on strategy meetings.
"I started my first couple of weeks working on Soccer Saturday, then moved to the editing department helping out with producing highlights packages for live matches, then switched to another team specialising in social media," she explains.
"It has been so varied, so inspiring and thoroughly enjoyable. There are no words to explain how useful this is proving to be. I am getting to know how things really work around the industry and learning something new every day.
"I must admit that I was a little star struck a couple of times when I started, especially when I met Anthony Joshua - who is HUGE! - but then you just get used to seeing people like Matt Le Tissier and Jeff Stelling, give a little nod and say 'Hello' or have a chat. Everyone has been so welcoming and helpful right from the start."
Once her placement at Sky is over, Zem has a very clear idea about her future plans.
"At the moment I'm with the social media team, helping with football game Photoshop/montage imagery. I am really happy and excited to be in the team, and watching what they do is stunning," she beams.
"I just hope I'm here next year with the creative team! It feels like once you've got a foot in the door, which thanks to this #WhatIf opportunity I have, you can get connections with other people.
"When Twitter first emailed me about the possibility of doing some work for the World Cup last year, I initially thought it was a scam, and having my work showcased like that in Liverpool and up in lights at Piccadilly Circus was unbelievable.
"But being selected for this opportunity by Sky is definitely my proudest achievement. I never thought in a million years this would happen to me and as far as the future is concerned - never say never!"
Zemeka Clarke. A name you won't forget.
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