Dushka Zapata | The Innovator 25 Americas 2017
Charting the future of public relations

2017 Innovator 25 Americas - Dushka ZapataThe Innovator 25:

Dushka Zapata 

VP of Communications
ZenDesk
San Francisco 

“You can't go to work if you feel all the colors inside of you are fading.”

After working for more than 20 years in the communications industry, Dushka Zapata took a breather in 2016 to focus squarely on one communications goal: help companies and people put into simple terms who they are, what they do, and where to go next. She also self-published several books of personal essays intended to inspire and empower —  resulting in a remarkably reflective, holistic view towards work.

How do you define innovation?
The ability to remain relevant through an understanding of yourself and others.

What is the most innovative comms/marketing initiative you've seen in the last 12 months?
Facebook is consistently innovative.

In your opinion, what brands and/or agencies are most innovative around PR and marketing?
I'm going to again say Facebook.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider 'innovative.'
I left PR for almost two years because I was no longer excited about what I was doing. You can't go to work if you feel all the colors inside of you are fading. It's not that I recommend quitting. It's that I recommend the gift of being connected to yourself, and only one person can give it to you. (You.)

Who do you admire for his/her approach to innovation? 
My mother. She is way more relevant than anyone I've known and she is in her mid 80s. I admire her tirelessness.

How do you get out of a creativity or productivity rut? 
You rest. It's not about doing more. It's about doing less.

What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation?
You don't find it in a brainstorm or in a day full of meetings. Innovation and creativity need idle time.

In your opinion, what's the most innovative place in the world? 
I would have to say New York. I don't know if it's innovative but I know it makes me feel something electric, and what is innovation for if not for that?

What's your favorite hobby that's not work-related? 
Yoga. I would say writing, but that's not a hobby.