Creative & Art Director.
Born and raised in Singapore, Naresh has had the opportunity to live many lives, which eventually led him to the United Kingdom. From being a founding partner of a brand consultancy, a filmmaker, a strategist, a designer, and a writer, he has always been drawn to helping brands solve business, cultural and entertainment challenges.
This realisation led him to pursuing a master’s degree in advertising. He currently works at Iris Worldwide, helping global brands such as Samsung, KFC, and Wacom, to name a few.
This road was forged from confronting prejudice and navigating across cultures and mindsets. Naresh considers himself fortunate enough to finally be able to carve his own world of self-acceptance, and to pursue his sense of creativity without apologies.
What does diversity mean to you?
Diversity is that buzz word that is violently thrown around in this woke generation of a socially conscious crowd. It is not a word that should be used to police the act and the reactions of people. Instead, diversity is a value we should all nurture within ourselves. It cannot be a word that defines who I am, but a word that is part of my world.
I am a gay, Singaporean migrant who happens to be Indian. With my creative partner who is a mixed raced English man of Iranian decent, we are the poster boys of diversity – in most places.
To define diversity by merely the colour of our skins or racial heritage is a dangerous road. In fact, the moment diversity becomes a KPI, we are losing the plot.
Diversity is the collision and celebration of a variety of points of view, sexuality, gender, ideas, creativity and thoughts. It is free, open, harmless and represents the unbiased exchange that is a revolution against the tribal concerns that is innate to humanity.
Diversity is born out of being different, and from the acute awareness of difference.
How can we build more inclusive communities?
By starting with yourself and the people you surround yourself with. Look around you. Who are the people you have let into your lives? Do these people share the same history as you do?
As the class outcast growing up – too gay for the boys, too Indian for the Chinese, too Chinese for the Indians and too English for the rest of my classmates – I found myself getting to know people from all walks of life. That gave me the opportunity to witness what truly inclusive communities can look like.
What is one thing you wish you knew five years ago?
I have recently come to realise that looking at my past and present and dwelling on the what if’s does nothing for my future.
Everything is as it should be.
What is your advice to a young person starting their career?
Be hungry. Work Hard. Don’t just network. Connect with people. Fight the right battles. Learn to shut up and listen. Never overthink. You are young, fuck it! Learn how to apologise. Work hard, and be kind.