Creativity and a Drive to Succeed

Date: 11 Sep 2023

It was Dilworth and the Staples Education Foundation that provided the building blocks to success, according to budding entrepreneur Shaan Johari. Not only have they given him the courage to push himself further, but they’ve instilled the confidence that anything is possible.

Shaan is currently working in an AI agency as a creative director, video editor and thumbnail creator on his mate's YouTube channel and his future is looking brighter than he could ever have imagined.

“Without these people in my life encouraging me I don’t think I would have developed and grown as much as I have – I feel so grateful and appreciative for all those who have supported and believed in me over the years,” he says.

From Shaan’s early years at Dilworth, creativity took front and centre stage. He excelled in subjects like visual arts and design, often topping his class at the annual prizegiving. But his time at the school honed more than his artistry. Leadership, kinship and drive also played a major role.

“Being selected as Deputy Head of House and eventually School Prefect allowed me to develop skills such as leadership and effective communication, both of which are prominent in my character today. I always wanted to push myself to see what I could achieve. Coming from a low-income background and being raised by a single mother provided me with the fuel to strive and make the most of my Dilworth opportunity. I wanted to make my mum proud.”

Through Dilworth, Shaan created lifelong bonds with students who, like him, were motivated to fulfil their potential.

“A huge part of my inspiration from Dilworth came from the friends I hung around with. Developing a tight relationship with boys who shared a similar mindset created a sort of synergy that each of us fed off to push ourselves further.”

After graduating from Dilworth Shaan went on to study architecture, but later discovered his real passion lay in creativity and entrepreneurialism. While his end goal may have changed, as a recipient of a Staples Education Foundation Scholarship, he had support and guidance every step of the way.

“Receiving the scholarship meant a lot to me. Not only did it massively aid me financially, but it also provided me with endless support from mentor figures and invaluable networking opportunities. Having male role models like Haydn Staples and my mentor Neil Martin inspired me and helped me find out what my unique strengths were. The fortnightly meetings I had with General Manager, Karen Bennett, also helped me plan out my goals and build valuable skills.”

The Staples Education Foundation wraparound scholarship programme was created to support Year 13 Dilworth students transitioning into university, by offering financial and holistic support, mentors and buddies, ongoing training through the Support and Development Programme, and industry work experience.

For Shaan, it has been worth its weight in gold.

“The funding I received allowed me to focus my time on achieving better results in my studies while having extra guidance from my mentor gave me an insight into the industry and enabled me to view my work from another perspective. Meanwhile, the networking opportunities landed me intern positions at several firms and gave me all-important work experience. The scholarship has helped tremendously in all areas of my life.”

So where to from here for this talented and enthusiastic creative?

“Right now we’re looking at scaling up the business, and at the same time, I’m working to adopt habits that improve my daily life and help me become the best version of myself. I’m learning visual marketing so I can better understand how to capture an audience’s attention and convert sales, and I’m keen to continue expanding my knowledge of how visuals can be used to impact people.

“Eventually I’d like to generate a passive income by selling my own courses in this area, as well as start my own creative agency and give back to the community in some way with the knowledge I gain along the way.”

By making the most of the opportunities Dilworth and the Staples Education Foundation afforded him, Shaan has a great deal to look forward to.

His advice for others offered one of the life-changing Staples scholarships.

“Make sure you take every opportunity you can and appreciate the kindness that the SEF staff offer. Don’t be afraid to open up about your thoughts, because the team is not just there to help you become more successful, they also want to see you achieve success and be happy!”