Estela Oliva, founder and director of Alpha-ville Festival, London’s International Festival of Innovation, Creativity and Forward Thinking, shares with us her first five jobs.


I started working when I was teenager, but I’m not sure if that’s illegal so I won’t speak about it.

1. My first job in London was as a video game tester, I worked at Square Enix playing games all day long and making sure that all the features and the translations in the different languages were good, functioning and accurate. That was fun.

2. Not long after that I got a job at PR Newswire in one of the subdivisions. I was a media analyst focusing on media monitoring. It was around 2003 so we did the monitoring manually looking at newspapers and magazines to identify coverage… if only I would have known about the amazing tools that were to arrive later on. I produced reports that helped brands identify how their new products were accepted by the press.

3. My next big step was in 2004, I interviewed at Google a few times (actually 9 interviews). I was lucky to be selected and I entered an important period of my life that was defined by a lot of learning and moving at a fast pace. I had always been a geek girl, but when I started working at there I felt at home, so it was great. At Google I did 4 different jobs between the Sales and the Marketing teams. I spent almost 6 years working hard and at some point I left.

4. After Google, I felt like the world was my oyster, and I was very intrigued by exploring more my creative side so I decided to start Alpha-ville, is an organisation that wants to investigate the cross over between art, technology and society. I really love this project. It focuses on an annual festival that is just about to happen.

5. Apart from Alpha-ville I currently work as a freelance online consultant helping companies make the most out of their websites and implementing online tools that allow them to make decisions. Since recently also moving onto the mobile app world.


We’ve asked professionals in creative industries what jobs they have had in the past to get their foot through the door (or at least pay the rent). For more in the “My First 5 Jobs” series look here.