Q+A with Zac Koretz of Creative Cares

[dropcap letter=”H”]ard working, down to earth, and all around good soul are just a few words to describe Zac Koretz. We first me at a model casting call for 10MGMT last year, as I was covering the event for social media and he was working. Zac works at 10MGMT as a talent agent where he spends his days signing talents of all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, and genders to book them with clients across the country as another means of creating equity and opportunity for those who are underrepresented. He started his side hustle, Creatives Cares, earlier this year and has been hard at work helping nonprofits such as The Simple Good boost their marketing endeavors for free.

Tell me a bit about Creative Cares (C2).

I recognize that as a creative, a lot of my ability to get into the doors that I’ve been in without a college degree has been, because I grew up in a neighborhood that allowed me to go to a nice school and I’m also a white male. Regardless of being a gay man, I’m a man first and I’m a white man before anything else. If I was a black man or a woman of color, I probably wouldn’t be where I’m at right now, which is really shitty. Regardless of my talent, regardless of my skill set, people have preconceived perceptions of everybody. Even the work that I do at 10MGMT, my whole goal is to create an inclusive world through digital media. Our goal at 10 is to sign all shapes and sizes, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or ability and I really push that. With everything I do, I’m in a position in so many different avenues to make change for other people, instead of just myself. The goal with creative cares was to really use my skill set and my experience in the digital space to help nonprofits that are benefiting these communities for black, brown and queer people. For nonprofits marketing is half the battle because it’s how they drive donations, but it you have 90 percent less readily available funds, how do you drive donations? So, save your 5 to 15 percent annual marketing budget, redistribute it back into the community and I can do the work for free. Then you can elevate your branding, you can have a social strategy, you can keep all of that intact, but then you don’t have to worry about the cost of it. I want to make sure I’m doing my part to uplift underrepresented people and unheard voices.

Part of C2s mission statement talks about helping black and brown communities, queer and transgender people, and women. Why is this focus important to you, especially in today’s society?

A lot of creatives and entrepreneurs, both on a local and global scale, are women. When I look at pop culture and media, more times than not I’m going to be taking inspiration from someone like Beyoncé or Rihanna versus a John Mayer or Kanye West. We get so much from communities of color, people of color, and they’re underrepresented, mistreated, and over looked. We would be nothing without all of these people in arts and culture. It’s up to our culture to say, “Hey something needs to change.”

Are you doing all of the behind the scenes work for C2 or is there a team?

There’s no team! It’s just me. My goal would to someday form this into a nonprofit. I could drive donations and use that money to fund this work and to help more than one nonprofit at a time.

Your first partnership was with The Simple Good, a local Chicago nonprofit helping young people overcome life’s adversities. What was that experience like? What did C2 create for them?

They are the first brand I’m working with. Actually the founder of The Simple Good is one of the models we represent at 10MGMT. Her name is Pria and she’s a phenomenal entrepreneur and she’s worked with the Obama foundation, done Ted Talks and is such an inspiration and really takes the trauma and struggle from her own life and funneled it into the mission and values behind The Simple Good. I worked on a couple of projects for their social accounts. Social media marketing, photography, graphic design, and a little bit of outreach. I know quite a bit of people in Chicago so I reached out to my network.

Do you have any other partnerships lined up for C2? What does the future hold?

I don’t have any other partnerships lined up now. My goal is to have someone help me and get more than one client at a time and do it quarterly instead of yearly and see if that impacts the non profit better. It’s a battle. I need to figure out how I can do more while also sustaining what I’m doing at no cost. The goal would be to do this for 10s of nonprofits at a time instead of just one.

Do you have a dream organization you’d love to work with?

Actually yes. There’s this nonprofit in Chicago called the Chicago Period Project and their mission is to empower homeless and in need people to experience their period with dignity. They basically provide menstrual products to women in need. I really like their work because they’re focused on anyone who has a period. That could be a transgender man who hasn’t had gender reassignment surgery. That could be someone who passes as a cis woman. It’s anybody who experiences a period. The work they do is so powerful because it’s so inclusive.

What’s the hardest part and what’s been the most rewarding part of Creative Cares?

I think the answer’s the same for both. I think the hardest and most rewarding part is just doing it. Being able to impact a community that’s often times overlooked, undervalued, and mistreated and just saying, “I’m not doing this for me. I want to make sure I’m using my privilege to be better than just myself and to allow these companies work shine.” It’s rewarding and it’s great going into the meetings I have with them and to see the progress they’re able to make because they don’t have to save money to hire someone to help them. Marketing is a basic necessity for businesses and I like that they don’t have to worry about it. There is a challenge with that, because I have to be able to deliver and make sure I can give the time and energy for it at no cost. Sacrifices have to be made on my end but the work they’re doing is so important and I’m happy I’m able to do it.

You mentioned that you are also in school. What are you studying?

As of September, I started back at school. I’m taking college classes and studying business management, because I really want to understand how to create a structure for a company and the best way to run a business so I can push this forward.

We first met at a model casting call for 10MGMT here in Indy. Has your role as a talent agent at 10MGMT helped prepare you at all for your endeavors with C2?

One hundred percent! Like I said, this is something I wanted to do for a couple of years now. I fully believe that I’m exactly where I’m suppose to be right now and that I wasn’t ready to do this before. I think being at 10MGMT has allowed me to understand the value of being an entrepreneur and also when we have positions of power, we need to do something about it for other people. One of the mission statements at 10 is to represent the best and brightest in the industry and make sure that we’re representing everybody – all shapes and sizes. Being able to speak to inclusivity and the need for that as a business owner is huge. I work so closely with David, Founder and Director of 10MGMT and a lot of his values have rubbed off on me.

Check out Creative Cares website for more info and follow Zac on Instagram!

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