Spikes Asia 2019: The Future Truly is Female As Seen in See It Be It at Spikes–Insights and Insider Details from Knox Balbastro and Rica Facundo

SINGAPORE — For the first time ever, Spikes Asia Festival of Creativity has brought over the groundbreaking See It Be It program to Asia. Originally hosted by the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the program brings together women from all over the Asian creative industry to discuss the steps that need to be taken to illuminate a brighter path towards inclusivity and diversity. It brought together 10 participants from all over Asia and provided a series of not-to-miss workshops and meetings with inspirational female leaders, as well as some exclusive mentoring sessions. 

Needless to say, the whole program is so jampacked that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Luckily, we caught up with some of these year’s fortunate participants and mentors and got a sneak peek into how the experience was inside the exclusive sessions. 

One of these year’s SIBI mentors, Knox Balbastro, Staff Content Strategist at Alibaba, was a participant in the 2016 Cannes Lions See It Be It. She shared how she first realized the need for Asian creative women to be elevated in the global stage as when she was in Cannes, she barely saw any Asians, let alone female ones who looked like her, and experienced the same things as her. 


With that in mind, Knox was over the moon when she found out that the program was going to Asia for Spikes, and true enough, the gaps she identified as an Asian woman in Cannes were met — she noted how this edition focused on issues women within the region in particular face. For instance, because of the rich diversity of cultures and behaviors all across APAC, what works for one market may not necessarily work for another. Knox, who started her advertising career in the Philippines, also emphasized the stark difference she saw when she moved to work in Singapore – the former visibly having more female creative leaders than the latter at the time. That was a major topic throughout the workshop: inclusivity and equality. 

One of this year’s Filipina participants at SIBI is Rica Facundo, Culture Strategist at IRIS Singapore, who shared the strength she found through the stories of her fellow participants: “We’re all on our own paths and it would be almost impossible to find someone who has the exact same career story. But we can learn from each other’s shared experiences & struggles.  So yes, I came in looking for mentorship, but I found sisterhood instead. ‘Don’t change the world, change the people around you.’ This is one of my favorite quotes from the program and explains how I feel about the program.”

Rica also imparted how “authentic leadership” was brought up multiple times throughout the program: “We all have our role models who form our brain trust, but if leadership comes from within, it makes sense that we should lead in a way that’s true to who we are. It also acknowledges that leaders are not perfect. They are human too. This is relevant to me now because I’m at a mid-point in my career where I have a better idea of my strengths & weaknesses and I can play to that.”

Ultimately, the main intention of the See It Be It program, may it be in Asia or another region, is to empower women to work together and let their authentic selves shine in the highly-competitive creative industry. 

Both Knox and Rica wish for more women to be able to break preconceived notions and barriers and rise above issues of disparity and inequality. Knox hopes that other female leaders from outside the industry also take part in future editions of SIBI, showcasing the massive presence of women in the general work force. Rica on the other hand looks to the future, and shares a line that struck with her from See It Be It Ambassador Valerie Madon’s session, You can’t create the next Droga ad because you’re you”, which means that if your work reflects who you are, that is what will effectively move people. And if every woman lets her authentic self shine in her work, then she, as a force to be reckoned with, will effectively move the world. 

Photos courtesy of Rica Facundo

adobo magazine, the Word on Creativity, is an official media partner of Spikes Asia 2019 Festival of Creativity.

Partner with adobo Magazine

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