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Events: Three Asian creatives make it to the 2020-2021 See It Be It acceleration program by Cannes Lions

CANNES, FRANCE – Cannes Lions has announced the See It Be It 2020 – 2021 finalists. 15 aspiring women, from across the world, have been selected to join the unique talent accelerator program which will run as a virtual learning and mentoring program in 2020 and return to the Festival in 2021.

See It Be It, in partnership with the world’s most popular audio streaming platform, Spotify, is the Cannes Lions initiative aiming to achieve equal gender representation of creative directors and leaders across the global industry. A record-breaking number of 797 applications from 70 countries were received in 2020.

The program is designed to accelerate women into senior creative roles, as the 15 selected participants will each receive a VIP Cannes Lions experience. This includes a complementary pass, accommodation and travel to attend the Festival in 2021. The curated program comprises one-to-one mentoring sessions, networking events, masterclasses and workshops, as well as access to some of the industry’s most influential leaders. As the official See It Be It partner, Spotify enables the program to come to life through curated initiatives and a series of year-round events.


Louise Benson, festival director and VP events, Cannes Lions said: “We will support our See It Be It community in the coming weeks and months, through new and exciting virtual events, LIONS Live, and the Festival in June 2021. See It Be It is an instrumental initiative in Cannes Lions’ response to the gender imbalance that exists within the global creative community. The community has evolved into a global movement of women and the impact of the program has reached far beyond the Festival week.”

The theme for the 2020 – 2021 See It Be It program is Feminine Leadership. Swati Bhattacharya, chief creative officer, FCBUlka, and the 2020 See It Be It Ambassador, commented on the theme: “Women are amazing input givers, devil’s advocates and intangibility readers and all storytelling benefits from our diverse perspectives. Feminine leadership uses the female instinct to nurture an organisation or a department, like a mama lioness. When women suppress their female instinct, it’s like a creative hara-kiri.”

Dawn Ostroff, chief content & advertising business officer at Spotify and See It Be It mentor added, “Changing the conversation around equality in the workplace requires that we support and mentor one another in all phases of our careers. Mentorship is a role that we must take on each day, and it’s something that has played a vital role throughout my time in the industry. We’re proud to partner with Cannes Lions’ See It Be It to ensure that this incredible experience is offered to female creative leaders through a virtual platform, and that our efforts continue to educate and empower others.”

The 15 female finalists are named as followed:

  • Geetanjali Jaiswal, Independent Creative Director, India
  • Roxana Nita, Group Creative Director, Cheil Romania
  • Andrea Auz, Creative Director, Paper, Ecuador
  • Leticia Rodrigues, Senior Art Director, Wunderman Thompson, Brazil
  • Javiera Wuth, Senior Copywriter, McCann, Chile
  • Ana Carolina Gomez Guzman, Social Media Director, Together W/, Mexico
  • Rosa Guerrero Cabral, Creative Supervisor, Publicis Dominicana, Dominican Republic
  • Lauren Ferreira, Creative Director, Droga5, USA
  • Tescia Deák, Creative Director, Grey West, USA
  • Mica Gallino, Creative Director, JOAN Creative, USA
  • Ellen Fromm, Senior Copywriter, Colenso BBDO, New Zealand
  • Rachel Chew, Creative Group Head, BLKJ, Singapore
  • Allie Steel, Senior Copywriter, M&C Saatchi, Australia
  • Denise Tee, Creative Director, Wunderman Thompson, Hong Kong
  • Nedal Ahmed, Senior Writer, 72andSunny Amsterdam, Netherlands

Three of these women hail from Asia in their respective positions in the advertising and creative industry: India’s Independent Creative Director Geetanjali Jaiswal is a freelance creative with decades of award-winning advertising work under her belt. She has served in the jury for major award shows such as Ad Stars 2020, The One Club for Creativity 2020, and The Creativity International Design Awards 2019. Joining her on the list is Hong Kong’s Wunderman Thompson Creative Director Denise Tee, a multi-awarded Filipino creative who is now based overseas to lead Wunderman’s design and creative departments. She has also spent some time working with the teams at BBDO Singapore, BBH Asia Pacific, SM Supermalls, Ace Saatchi & Saatchi, and TBWA\ Santiago Mangada Puno. Completing this year’s Asian finalists is Singapore’s Rachel Chew, the current creative group head at BLKJ. One of the most promising young creatives in the region, Crew has gone up the creative ladder in less than a decade from working at BLKJ, DDB Group Singapore, Arcade, Thompson Reuters, and more, and scoring multiple awards for her writing prowess.

They, along with the 12 other finalists, have already taken part in a mentoring scheme with Invisible Creatives, the talent platform that supports the underrepresented creative talent created by Senta Slingerland, the founder of See It Be It and Maddy Kramer, ACD Art Director, who participated in the inaugural See It Be It program in 2014.

Louise Benson, festival director and VP events, Cannes Lions, added: “Many of our alumni have ascended the professional ladder and championed change in their organisations, countries and regions. It’s so exciting to welcome our 15 hugely talented creative females to the See It Be It community and to watch their future paths unfold.”

To date, over 100 women have gained a fully-funded place on the program and many alumni have progressed into leadership positions, won Lions awards and held positions 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. The program will be led by Ambassador, Swati Bhattacharya, and Madonna Badger, CCO and founder of Badger & Winters, will remain the See It Be It Chair.

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