Last week, Spikes Asia’s See It Be It programme revealed its list of finalists made up of budding, inspiring female talent. The programme is an initiative first launched at Spikes’ sister festival, Cannes Lions, to help the next generation of women in creative positions develop and achieve their full potential.
Let’s hear from some of the finalists about who they look up to in their roles, and how optimistic they are about the future of women in creative positions.
Cultural strategist, Iris Singapore
I look up to my managing director at Iris [Sorcha John] who's not only female but also young. On top of gender, age just adds another thing to be insecure about when it comes to leading. But I look up to her because she's what we call 'hope punks' - challenging the status quo but with positivity, empathy & encouragement. And she just has a go at things that you might think are impossible.
Hui Chong Yong
Senior planning manager, SEA, ADK Singapore
I look up to Susan Credle who is Global CCO at FCB. I had the chance to hear her speak a couple of years back and was blown away by her sincerity, her empathy, and most importantly, her way of leading that emphasises honesty and generosity.
Our industry unfortunately brings with it a culture of constant posturing and high-stress competition, and many end up losing sight of how crucial it is to be kind to others. Meeting Susan, I'm now more inspired and able to define the kind of leader and human I aspire to be someday – someone who can kick ass and nurture at the same time.
Associate creative director, Toaster Ltd, Singapore
I look up to Cindy Gallop, former chair of BBH New York who is now running her own companies while constantly being a diversity consultant and speaker who inspired women everywhere. I’m drawn to her confidence and fearlessness. She is very comfortable speaking her opinions out loud – which was a challenge I faced in the early years of my career and for that, Gallop was a huge inspiration.
She turns all her visions into action without caring what other people think, inspiring others that with the right combination of attitude and foresight, they can design their own path forward too. She enrols women in a future where women are not only equal [to men] but are powerful too.
Senior copywriter/senior experience designer, McCann Health Japan
I look up to Kumi Tominaga, a creative technology director at R/GA Tokyo. She is my mentor in the Women’s Leadership Network by McCann World Group. Through this SIBI program, I’d like to find a variety of ways of working and living as a female leader and I want to think about my future!
Associate creative director, Synite Digital Pakistan
I look up to Atiya Zaidi, ECD of JWT|Grey in Pakistan. Zaidi's career journey has been inspirational. The way she has fought against odds to become the top creative of the country has not only inspired me, but has also given me (and so many other girls) a clear direction and footsteps to follow.
Over the years, she has given priceless career advice to the younger generation of women creatives in the fraternity, setting their trajectory right. She truly believes in the cause of diversity; she fearlessly advocates for it and nurtures it under her command. I have also had the opportunity to work with her, and have always found her brave, secure and truly empowering. Full of life, optimism and ideas – Zaidi is a total rockstar in Pakistan's advertising scene.
Senior art director, Leo Burnett Singapore
While I haven’t had the chance to work with Jessica Walsh, I look up to her because she is a woman of strength. Her work is bold, playful and unapologetically authentic. She taps on her own natural empathy and creates insightful work that speaks to people, translating everyday vulnerabilities into strong vocal opinions. Through her projects, Walsh inspires me to embrace my most authentic self and create works that I am passionate about.
Creative controller, Ogilvy Mumbai
I’ve had the privilege to work closely with one of today’s leading ladies in advertising: Sakshi Choudhary, associate creative director at Ogilvy, New York. She has not only won metal at the world’s biggest award shows, she is a See It Be It alumnus, has been on Campaign Asia’s Women to Watch list and is one of One Club’s Next Creative Leaders.
Besides being an inspiring creative boss, what has inspired me about her is the relentless determination with which she has made change happen for creative women in Indian advertising.
A classic example of which is Indian Creative Women, the country’s only group designed to give junior and mid-level women creatives access to our industry’s biggest female leaders. She also founded The Seesaw Project, an initiative that addresses the complex issues of gender balance using art. Her attitude of making change happen, rather than wishing for it, has inspired me to do the same.