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Cannes Lions 2020: Next Year’s See It Be It Now Open for Applications – Aiming to Provide Equal Gender Representation in the Creative Industry

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity has announced that See It Be It 2020 is now open for applications. In partnership with Spotify, See It Be It is the Cannes Lions initiative aiming to achieve equal gender representation of creative directors and leaders across the global industry. Swati Bhattacharya, Chief Creative Officer, FCBUlka, is appointed as the 2020 See It Be It Ambassador and Madonna Badger, CCO and founder of Badger & Winters, will remain the See It Be It Chair.

15 aspiring women, from across the world, will be selected to take part in the See It Be It talent accelerator programme in 2020. Participants receive a VIP Cannes Lions experience during the Festival (taking place from 22 – 26 June 2020), including a complimentary pass, accommodation and travel. The curated programme includes one-to-one mentoring sessions, networking events, masterclasses, workshops and behind-the-scenes jury room tours, as well as profile-building opportunities and access to some of the industry’s most influential leaders. The programme is designed to enable and accelerate women into senior creative roles.

Since its 2014 launch, See It Be It has grown to become a global movement of women, championing the goal of gender equality across the branded communications industry. A record number of over 700 applications were received in 2019. By 2020, over 100 women will have gained a fully-funded place on the programme and many alumni have progressed into leadership positions, won multiple Lions Awards and sat on Cannes Lions juries. To cultivate a community and global network of support and learning, the See It Be It events series has now reached over 4000 women in countries including the US, Canada, Singapore, Nigeria, Bulgaria, UK, Australia and Pakistan. As the official See It Be It partner, Spotify helps bring the initiative to life through the events series, recently curating programming in London and New York, as well as initiatives at the Festival.


Danielle Lee, Global Vice President, Partner Solutions, Spotify and See It Be It mentor, said, “This is Spotify’s third year partnering with See It Be It and the reason is simple. See It Be It’s mission to provide a platform for creative female voices around the world seamlessly aligns with Spotify’s ethos of creating spaces for all voices to be heard. Creative and Marketing should lead the way in reflecting the audiences they serve. We’re excited to lift up the 2020 class as they are sure to inspire us.”

As Ambassador, Swati Bhattacharya will guide, advise and mentor the 2020 cohort. Bhattacharya was appointed as last year’s Ambassador, but due to a serious personal incident, she was not able to travel from India to take up her position. Swati will work with See It Be It Chair Madonna Badger to deliver the 2020 programme.

Speaking on her appointment, Bhattacharya said, “It is an honour to be given a second chance to be the See It Be It Ambassador. Last year was hugely devastating, but the incredible support I received from the See It Be It team was so special. They focused, not on what I was missing, but how they were missing me. This kind of support is what makes See It Be It so vital to the industry. My career would not have succeeded without support and I want to share my story with others. Leadership is a beautiful dance between work, life, and love – and whatever decision you take – if you’re supported – it makes anything possible.”

Madonna Badger, CCO and founder of Badger & Winters, and See It Be It Chair, commented, “Every year, the women of See It Be It do an exemplary job at showing off the shift towards parity and diversity that is happening in the creative industry. As a mentor, I have listened to the inspiring, ‘against all odds’ stories and challenges of rising female leaders from all over the world. It makes me proud to see how this program has paved the way for them and continues to challenge the gender gap between male and female creative directors.”

Louise Benson, VP of Festivals, Cannes Lions added: “It is incredible to watch See It Be It grow into a global, committed community of women who are empowering each other to progress into leadership roles in the industry. I would like to extend my thanks to the team – Swati, Madonna and to everyone at Spotify – for their tireless support and energy to make the 2020 programme the very best it can be. We can’t wait to see the applications from women around the world.”

Bhattacharya is one of India’s most influential female CCOs, leading a team of 113 people at FCBUlka, and working on brands as diverse as Unilever, Dominos, Times of India, ITC and DSM. She began her career as a copy trainee at JWT and throughout her 24 years in the industry she has won numerous creative awards, including Cannes Lions and the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke, India’s highest award in cinema. Her passion for equality and the development of talent is reflected in the work she creates and the culture she has fostered within FCB and across the Indian creative community.

Madonna Badger is the Founder and Chief Creative Officer at Badger & Winters, an advertising, branding and design agency that was named a 2019 Ad Age Small Agency Award winner. Badger & Winters specialises in building brand love with women and has worked with brands like Avon, Chanel, Cover Girl, Diane Von Furstenberg, Godiva, Nordstrom, Pepsi, P&G, and Vera Wang. The agency has produced work for over 40 countries in 27 languages. Badger has been at the heart of See It Be It for many years and is central to the programme’s expansion.


About Cannes Lions

Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is the world’s leading celebration of creativity in communications. Founded in 1954, the Festival takes place every June in Cannes, France. As the most prestigious international annual advertising and communications awards, entries from all over the world are showcased and judged at the Festival.

The five-day Festival is the only truly global meeting place for professionals working in advertising and communications. Attendees from nearly 100 countries come to experience five days of workshops, exhibitions, screenings, master classes and high-profile seminars presented by renowned worldwide industry leaders.

Winning companies receive the highly coveted Lion trophy, a global benchmark of creative excellence, for Brand Experience & Activation, Creative Business Transformation, Creative Data, Creative Effectiveness, Creative eCommerce, Creative Strategy, Design, Digital Craft, Direct, Entertainment, Film, Film Craft, Glass: The Lion for Change, Health & Wellness, Industry Craft, Innovation, Media, Mobile, Music, Outdoor, Pharma, PR, Print & Publishing, Radio & Audio, Sport, Social & Influencer, Sustainable Development Goals, Titanium Lions.

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