Three years ago I was just introduced to advertising. I wasn’t confident in my career path post-grad, but I’ve worked hard. I kept my head low, polished my craft, kept moving. Then I bumped into something, which startled me, but it gave me the chance to finally look up and see what it was: it was Adrianne C. Smith with open arms...and a golden ticket to France.
Before CC:DC, I had just a peephole view of what could be my future, and from a distance I couldn’t see many folks like me. But with CC:DC, I’ve been given the key to access some of the greatest bronze colored minds in the industry today, and I know I’ll be one of them very soon. Adrianne’s brainchild is an accelerator, a network, a twinkling gem, and an experience wrapped in silver.
Participating in the Cannes Can: Diversity Collective has helped me move confidently in the direction of my dreams. Spending the week networking with industry leaders and innovators gave me an opportunity to discover and explore careers pathways. Prior to attending Cannes Lions, I was a recent graduate with a masters degree in data journalism and a non profit marketing background. Through the program I was able to better understand how my skills aligned with an industry I knew very little about. Being surrounded by creatives and strategists from all over the world, helped shape and grow my confidence around competing on an international stage. I emerge more knowledgeable about the industry and its needs while cultivating valuable connections with people who are now my mentors.
Being able to go to Cannes has given me a look at what the industry has planned for the upcoming year. By experiencing the digital innovations, interactive experiences, talks, and networking with other creatives I have gained insight that I now use for pitches, projects and creative strategies.
Going to the Cannes Festival of Creativity via the Cannes Can: Diversity Collective was life changing. I’m in my second year at VCU Brandcenter and I go to school with some of the most creative people I’ve ever met. But going to Cannes is different. You can feel the energy. There’s a vibration of creativity and innovation that’s palpable.
And seeing people of color, who like similar to me, is inspiring. For far too long, the advertising industry has been too homogenous for too long when its audience is made up of every shade that’s underneath the sun. Going to Cannes stoked the fire inside to continue on my path and to even more put more energy into it. I’m forever thankful to Adrianne for the opportunity she gave me.
Having the opportunity to attend the Cannes Lions Festival of International Creativity as a Student Delegate in the Roger Hatchuel Academy was one of the most humbling, inspirational, cultural submersions I have ever experienced. Having a seat at the table with noteworthy game changers in the industry challenged me to think beyond myself and dare to push the envelope with my creativity. I also truly enjoyed gaining international exposure to beautiful minds, teaching me to view the world in a different lense. The atmosphere encouraged me to drive change and to continue to pursue what I love to do: create.