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Divorce, transatlantic move inspire grad’s new book

Nathalie Benarroch’s autobiography explores the meaning of separation
November 29, 2019
By Molly Hamilton

Nathalie Benarroch, BA 86

What do divorce and a transatlantic move have in common? Separation. Separation from a person, separation from a country and separation from the known. This is the subtext of I Will Survive, Signed a Divorcee, a new autobiography from Concordia alumna Nathalie Benarroch, BA 86.

Benarroch is the founder and creative director of Your Influential Agency, an advertising and creative agency that represents brands from the worlds of fashion, sports, entertainment and more. She recently sat down for an interview in advance of her book’s launch.

What led you to your career in advertising?

Nathalie Benarroch: It was actually a high-school class — Mass Media. I had a great teacher who was also part of an advertising agency, Mr. Faigen. That’s when I realized that a career where I could express ideas and identities through words and images was really the only thing I wanted to do.

What inspired you to start your own agency?

NB: I had been working for other companies and found that the pace was too slow. Also, working for one company meant there wasn’t a lot of variety. If you’re working for a beauty firm, it’s always beauty, all the time.

What’s an average day like as a creative director?

Every day I like to focus on a maximum of two clients. I try to have a few hours blocked off to put together a website, a brand book or a logo proposal. Then, an hour to do all the little things like going through emails, writing proposals, et cetera. When you’re the creative director, you have to stay on the inside of technology, so I’ve been taking coding classes and also dedicating some of my day to that.

What inspired you to write your book?

of I Will Survive, Signed a Divorcee - book cover

There were various catalysts. After living in Paris for 20 years and going through a divorce, I moved back to Montreal. That sparked lot of change in my life. I noticed cultural differences between life in North America and life in Europe. All these changes led me to start writing. After a while, I had amassed different bits and pieces. Then I had a professional setback in 2016 and realized it was time to turn them into a book.

What did you learn at Concordia that contributed to your success?

I learned that you have to stay on top of the different facets of a business. I also learned how to work in a team. Concordia was my first time dealing with people who were different — but we all had the same passion for what we were learning and we were all very happy to be in the Communications Studies program.

Do you have any advice for current students in Communication Studies?

My advice is to really learn and focus on all the software out there. That’s what makes you valuable, especially when you start out. Whether it’s all of the Adobe Suite tools or learning how to code, you should always be in tune with technology. That’s how you make yourself a valuable asset. Even once you’ve graduated, continue learning. It’s important because the only constant in our business is change.

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