On May 18, 2017, my friends and I (15 of us to be exact) had the honor and privilege of attending The 3% Conference Detroit Minicon, where every single one of us left feeling empowered, moved, and enlightened. Each of the speakers we had the opportunity to listen to offered a diverse perspective and ideas that stuck with all of us and spoke to us differently. I speak for all of us when I say that we all left the conference feeling confident, aware, and capable, which are feelings that mean everything to us as we are just beginning to learn how to navigate in the world of advertising.
Eric Weisberg, Doner CCO, greeted the crowd and prepared us for the day ahead.
Eric did a brilliant job of kicking off the conference, getting us all fired up by raising the question: “How can we all succeed if half of us are held back?” and closed with the statement “Don’t just talk, do.” The heads began to nod.
3% CEO + Founder Kat Gordon spoke to how far-reaching this business mantra extends, and how it is revolutionizing the way agencies do business. Diversity = Creativity = Profitability. That’s the drumbeat of the 3% Movement.
Kat enlightened all of us on how it was all made possible and how the power of just one voice can make a change for all women and men in the advertising business. She said it best, “Improving the future of the ad business is everyone’s business.” Inclusivity is truly the key to success and happiness.
A panel of creative leaders from the Detroit market localized and personalized the issue of diversity.
Karen Cathel, Aaron Doyle, Anita Salomon, Tiffany Moy-Miller, and Eric Thomas offered an amazing variety of outlooks and pieces of advice. Tiffany brought up a point that personally resonated with me, “There is really no need to apologize unless you screw up.” One of the hardest things that I am still learning to do is to stop apologizing for my existence as a woman. Seeing these inspiring women in positions of power in the business that I am so passionate about and plan to spend my life in is so empowering and reassuring. There is no feeling quite like it. Surrounding ourselves with people like everyone at the conference is another great piece of advice we were able to take with us. It’s all about the people we surround ourselves with.
Through tragedy came clarity for Madonna Badger, CCO of Badger + Winters and creator of the #WomenNotObjects campaign. Listen to how she survived the unthinkable to find her life’s purpose—a rally cry we all need to hear and heed.
Madonna Badger pulled at our heartstrings with her tragic, but incredibly inspiring life experience in her talk. She taught us that we must fight without anger, blame, and fear. No one is going to give us anything because we deserve it. We have to fight for it with nothing but love in our hearts. That is something that will stick with all of us forever.
Bonnie Wan gave us all amazing insight into our future in advertising when it comes to “balancing” work and life. It turns out that it’s impossible, which to us was surprisingly comforting. She made us realize that we must always keep in mind what truly matters in our lives and to never lose sight of it. We must keep asking ourselves, “What do you want?” It is a very simple question, but not always easy to answer.
During lunch all 15 of us had the opportunity to meet amazing mentors from all different agencies and backgrounds. I found myself looking around seeing all my friends laughing and talking with these inspiring people and it made me so happy! There is absolutely no substitution for that face time with our mentors and I am so thankful we had the chance to network and connect with these individuals (thank you, Adobe, who sponsored this!). We also have the chance to meet them again soon for a personal portfolio review, which is so exciting!
Men are not only NOT the problem, but they’re a critical part of the answer. Hear how three different leaders are paving the way for more diverse leadership in their ranks.
We learned from Alyssa Altman, James Ward, and Kevin Wertz in their talk that men play an important role in the success of women. I am proud to say that I had two men from our CCS group join us for the conference and making them feel like they play an important role in our lives made them aware and eager to support us.
Ideal worker bias, conscious and unconscious bias, motherhood bias, flexibility bias, “second shift” bias, and ideal mother bias—the list is long of the hurdles for working mothers.
Lisen Stromberg and Shameka Brown Barbosa were enlightening and inspiring. These amazing and brave women taught us that maternity leave is not just a women’s issue, but also a business issue. We must be brave and ask for what we want because we know we deserve it.
Advertising has always been a mirror into culture, and the Super Bowl remains one of the last broadcasts that Americans, in large numbers, tune into in real time.
This panel with Andrea Nordgren, Chris Handyside, Scott D. Lange, and Tonia Lowe allowed the audience to rewatch four of the highest profile auto ads that played during the Super Bowl and to hear from creatives who had a hand in the creation of the work. It also showcased much of the consumer response captured via tweets generated as part of The 3% Conference's Super Bowl Tweetup.
Clients and agency folks at the frontlines of creating inclusive work environments, campaigns, and partnerships share what they're doing and (hopefully) inspire others to do the same.
We all reunited for this panel discussion with Deadra Rahaman, Amy McNeil, Naveen Passey, and Lisa Schoder. They taught us the importance of always staying true to ourselves and the individuals we work with as we move forward with our careers in Advertising. They taught us to always ask the questions: “Am I there?” and “Am I supporting values of the clients?”
Author and former chief creative officer Valerie Graves spent decades creating award-winning ad campaigns, from using hip-hop artist Ludacris to sell Pontiac cars to featuring Steve Harvey in Burger King spots and helping to re-introduce the Buick brand.
The final speaker of the day, Valerie truly encouraged all of us to aspire to be our best selves. She taught us to never apologize for who we are as individuals and to always be authentic by bringing our entire self to work each day. We must work on finding what our genuine strengths are and to envision ourselves reaching our highest potential, but to remain flexible. We must never rule out anyone because you never know who could be helpful to us, and to most importantly run toward our fears. No matter how scary it is we just need to do it anyway. Advice like this will always be something we will treasure forever and carry with us as we grow into the strong men and women we have the potential to be.
All of the people we had the honor to meet and listen to ignited the fire in our hearts and souls and gave us permission to be proud of who we are and how we grow. None of this would have been possible without the help of the wonderful Kat Gordon, Adobe, Doner and the other event sponsors -- and for that we are so grateful.
Sydney Fine is a 3% Conference Adobe Student Scholar and student at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan. Connect with Sydney on LinkedIn.