Siena Parker, a runner-up in 2017's FutureBook disruptor of the year award, is head of creative responsibility at Penguin Random House UK. Parker set up the company’s creative responsibility manifesto, which focuses on inspiration and access to creativity for everyone regardless of background or barriers. This includes leading programmes such as WriteNow which aims to find, mentor and publish new writers from under-represented communities. Before joining the publishing industry she spent five years at brewer Heineken in their corporate responsibility function.
Here she shares five things inspiring her to think and work differently right now.
Hardware: I’m definitely not a techie, and even though my iPhone is well overdue an upgrade, I am usually glued to its cracked screen, especially on my commute from Walthamstow. I tend to listen to podcasts - This American Life is my all-time favourite.
Software: Slack has been revolutionary for our team. We use it to share ideas and inspiration, and have conversations we would have otherwise had on email. Anything we can do to reduce the never-ending inbox is definitely a plus for me!
Book: Educated by Tara Westover. I was lucky enough to be given a proof when it was originally acquired by Cornerstone, and it’s stayed with me ever since. It’s a memoir about growing up in a survivalist family in America, existing largely ‘off grid’ and never going to school – yet Tara goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University. It’s been brilliant to see the incredible response to the book in the UK since publication.
Idea: I’m always inspired by the ever-growing number of brands and companies who aspire to become a true force for good in the world, and put social purpose at the heart of their business model. Some brands do this better than others, but I am always energised by the idea of bringing business ambition, rigour and resource to solving social and environmental issues – it’s what attracted me to the field of corporate responsibility in the first place.
Person: Zainab Juma, our very own creative manager at Penguin Random House, is always a source of inspiration but this month even more so - the phenomenally successful Penguin #LikeAWoman pop-up bookshop, stocking only titles by women, was her brainchild. This simple, bold idea has been a great way to continue our efforts to amplify marginalised voices through the Penguin brand, and involve our readers in our creative responsibility agenda.