By Rocio Ramirez, Sr. Art Director
As an art director, I don’t often struggle with how to visually bring an idea to life. However, when it comes to the writing part, I still often find myself at a loss for words (thank God for copywriters, right?). So, as I find myself googling “how to write a short article,” I am reminded of two weeks ago, when I spent the evening surrounded by some of the leading women in advertising.
I was fortunate enough to attend the Cannes Lions See It Be It: New York Edition. See It Be It is a Cannes Lions initiative to address the gender imbalance in senior creative leadership. During the evening, these women not only spoke about their fears and challenges in the industry, but also how to overcome them. We heard from industry giant Madonna Badger (Badgers & Winter’s) and game-changers Chloe Gottlieb (R/GA), God-is Rivera (VML), and Danielle Lee (Spotify).
That evening, alumni of SIBI shared how the program changed their approach to both work and life. Krystle Mullin (RPA), Kara Coyle (Ogilvy & Mather), Katherine O’Brien (Grey Group), Maddy Kramer (Saatchi & Saatchi), and Marina Cuesta (Dieste) shared their personal stories with us: everything from when to trust that little voice in your head or when to tell it to shut up. In one short evening, there was a rollercoaster of feelings: everything from roaring laughter at camp counselor stories to tense silence when questions like “Is it okay to cry at your desk?” came up.
Several hours and cocktails later, we were still sharing those stories.
Why? Because these stories resonated. They moved us.
Which made me think: without female representation in leadership positions, how are these stories ever going to be shared? Gender imbalance in leadership positions isn’t an ad industry issue. It’s a problem around the globe that many industries are struggling to solve. Since change doesn’t happen overnight, we also discussed how to be better leaders in our communities. For some women, it means leaning on their friends. For others, it’s their colleagues, daughters, nieces, or coworkers in entry-level positions.
Once, it was easy to dismiss the voices asking for more representation. But groups like the 3% Conference and Times Up movement have changed that. Global brands have begun to question agencies. In 2016, Michael Fanuele, then Chief Creative Officer at General Mills, didn’t simply ask his agencies to diversify to 50% women and 20% minorities. He demanded it from them or risk losing General Mills’ business.
As advertisers, we pride ourselves in working for a progressive industry surrounded by creative thinkers and innovative business leaders. As we push to create great campaigns, shouldn’t we stop and ask ourselves how representative our work is? Is our work telling the whole story or leaving part of it untold?
So I’m sitting here, writing this because for me, writing is a daunting task and words have never flowed easily. I’m putting my experience into a story to share with others, because the biggest lesson from my evening at SIBI was realizing that you have to get out of your comfort zone in order to lead.
Dieste, Inc. (www.dieste.com) is a Dallas- and New York-based company with a mission to pioneer the future of how brands and cultures connect. Through our partnerships and the deployment of proprietary consumer data, algorithms and human cultural intel, combined with insightful creativity, we are able to sync brands with consumer subcultures and create successful outcomes for our clients. Dieste has won multiple Cannes Lions for their work and has been named Ad Age’s “A-list,” “Agency to Watch” and “Multicultural Agency of the Year” numerous times. Dieste is part of Omnicom’s (NYSE: OMC) DAS Global network.
Rocio also known as Ro, is based in Dallas where she’s currently living her best life as a life-sized dog pillow for her giant poodle Jasper. If she’s not off exploring a tiny local shop you might find her taking in the latest art exhibit in town.