03 March 2022

Meet Sara Pateraki, our collaborative Senior Designer

As an inquisitive, collaborative and experienced Senior Designer, Sara is making inspirational strides in the human-centred innovation space. With a vibrant culmination of industry experience and a passion for mindful co-creation, this designer based in Naarm, Melbourne is setting the bar for sustainable futures.

Sara is a true citizen of the world, spending her adolescence between Scotland and Greece. Born in Scotland and growing up on the sunny Greek Island Crete, she was raised by the sea, on the land and amongst the mountains of her father’s olive farm. Citing her upbringing as wholesome, such authentic and intentional beginnings have certainly shaped Sara to appreciate what she has in the simplest of forms.

Sara 1

From a formative age, Sara knew that she wanted to direct her energy towards creative design fields. Heading back to Scotland to undertake her university career, she studied a Bachelor in Design Futures at Edinburgh Napier University, followed by a Masters of Service Design and Social Innovation at The Glasgow School of Art.

During her Masters, Sara was part of a small team called Getgo, who set up a social enterprise in Wyndford, a community of North West Glasgow that was particularly deprived and vulnerable to high crime rates. Not only did Getgo establish this enterprise to nurture community and physically benefit the area, they also implemented, adjusted and left the enterprise with the people of Wyndford as an ongoing sustainable solution. This collaborative project was Sara’s first taste of service design through a social lens, and she simply loved seeing the work catalyse change and support communities.

Upon completing her Masters, Sara moved to Australia to follow her newfound fervour for designing for social impact. Landing positions in an array of industries, Sara is a particularly seasoned Service Designer with an incredible ability to pivot between any and all kinds of projects. With extensive experience as a designer for Transmax, Idean Global Design Studio and World Vision to name a few, Sara has worked across technology, transport, design and not-for-profit sectors.

While trying to align her inner values with her everyday work, she still seemed to be searching for more fulfilment and synergy within her career. And alas, after nearly nine years in the design industry, COVID-19 threw Sara into a frenzy of uncertainty; along with economic and career path turmoil came a heightened sense of internal reflection.

Team 1

Realising that her community-focused, collaborative and hands-on nature needed more nurturing, she found The Growth Drivers. Initially drawn to the numerous innovative projects that were positively helping people, systems and environments, Sara took the leap and applied. Ever since joining The Growth Drivers in December 2020, she has found the team, company ethos and diverse projects incredibly fulfilling.

As a Senior Designer, Sara finds that every day holds something new and inspiring. Whether she’s managing a team, working on a proposal, conducting research, running workshops or undertaking projects in a wide variety of social contexts, you will always find Sara collaborating, mindfully communicating and intentionally learning.

One of her favourite projects with The Growth Drivers was working with Swinburne University in a small team to better understand and support equity students in higher education. Placing immense emphasis on true collaboration with the students and education professionals, sensitivity, in-depth knowledge sharing and meaningful relationships were required to provide value to the students' university experiences.

“The thing I liked best about that project is that it tapped deeply into my bread and butter as a designer. That is, a lot of research and a lot of co-creation sessions with students and higher education professionals to understand behaviours, motivations and needs.”

Working across countless industries, Sara has learnt to find inspiration in the unknown. She believes that as a designer, she must be comfortable working in ambiguity for a while before being able to understand where things are going to go. Particularly, being able to “pivot” and jump into new project contexts is something that sparks excitement in her design career.

Sara, a natural collaborator, co-designer and team worker has found the culture at The Growth Drivers to be her favourite thing about her job. Despite commencing her career during the pandemic in a geographically distributed team, Sara loves that she can spend her days with inspirational, fun, kind and communicative co-workers. Remote work has not acted as a barrier with such a connected and vibrant team, and Sara thrives off the shared ethos and innovative collaborations that bring The Growth Drivers and clients together.

When it comes to businesses having meaningful impact, a better world must come from the inside out. And, when design teams like Sara’s experience a workflow that so naturally creates positive change, it is clear that this powerhouse is doing just that.

As she flourishes within an environment that inspires, challenges and aligns with her, Sara looks forward to her continued change-making journey with The Growth Drivers.

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