Swati Bhattacharya, chief creative officer of the Mumbai-based agency FCBUlka, will be the 2019 ambassador for See It Be It, the executive learning programme for women run by Cannes Lions, the festival announced today.
See It Be It is an initiative launched in 2014 that funds women identified as 'future leaders' to attend the festival and provides opportunities for them to learn from mentors and network with creatives and Cannes Lion jury members from around the world. The aim of the initiative, supported by Spotify since last year, is to drive the industry towards a position in which the genders are balanced more equally.
Bhattacharya, who leads a team of 113 people at FCBUlka, has spent 24 years in the industry. She regularly works on themes of gender and feminism, and seeks in her work to avoid stereotypes around the portrayal of women in advertising. Clients on her roster include The Times of India, for whom she developed the #NoConditionsApply campaign to support more inclusive traditions around the Bengali Hindu celebration of Shindoor Khela, as well as UNICEF, GSK and Nestlé.
As the ambassador for 2019, taking over from Chloe Gottlieb, director of product design at Google, Bhattacharya will advise the women involved in this year's programme and help lead sessions on this year's See It Be It theme, set by Bhattacharya herself, which is "Invite Yourself": “As women, we don’t often feel deserving of the place we occupy. Our voices don’t always cooperate. I want us to leave Cannes believing that not only must we invite ourselves, but also leave the door open for our sisters,” she said in a statement.
Bhattacharya said she feels "honoured" to be named a See It Be It Ambassador. "Sisterhood is the most powerful catalyst I have had in my life, and it has not only changed my career, but it has changed my life. In seeing these young, bright women from around the globe, I will unlock parts of myself and parts of them.”
Applications for this year’s programme are now closed but those looking to get involved as a speaker, mentor or supporter can contact [email protected].