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The Drum’s 50 Under 30: outstanding women in creative and digital, part 1

Today we are proud to introduce The Drum’s 50 Under 30 for 2019, which celebrates the world’s highest achieving women in creative and digital under the age of 30.

Our annual 50 Under 30 platform launched in the UK in 2012 to address the chronic lack of female representation in digital marketing. It has since expanded in scope to include creatives after our Big Won study showed that only 39 of the 300 most-awarded chief creative officers, executive creative directors and creative directors are women.

This year, we are excited to present our first ever global edition of the 50 Under 30 after asking our readers around the world to nominate the talent they most admire.

Hundreds of nominations flooded in from the US, Europe and APAC and, after giving each candidate careful consideration, our editorial team can now reveal who they have chosen to appear in this year’s list.

You can meet the first 10 inductees below and we’ll reveal who’ll be joining them in a series of articles published on thedrum.com each day this week. Make sure you don’t miss them by registering for our daily newsletters.

Jazz Coupland, associate design director, IBM iX

 

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A graduate of University College London and formerly of AnalogFolk, London-based Jazz Coupland brings her passion for accessible product design to her work for IBMiX’s financial clients. As a design lead and part of the Top Talent programme at IBMiX, she has mentored junior team members and volunteered in schools, teaching product design and coding.

How would you explain what you do to a taxi driver?

Do you use Facebook? Spotify? Well I ensure that your needs are protected when digital experiences like these are designed. A designer isn't just there to make things look pretty, we focus on imagining and creating human-centred experiences. If I was designing a solution for you, I'd travel round in your passenger seat or interview you to understand what your daily struggles are. Then I'd use all that information to design an appropriate experience for you. We'd iterate, with me coming back regularly to check we're on track, but we'd get to the right solution in the end.

What advice would you give to someone starting in the industry today?

Firstly, focus on you: praise others' achievements but don't be distracted by them, it's not a competition. Everyone is different so just be the best you. Secondly, learn everything you can: if you are a designer but want to try coding, you should 100% do it. Even if you end up being terrible (looking in the mirror here), having a baseline knowledge in other fields will make you a better designer. Thirdly, and most importantly, look after yourself: remember it is OK to not be OK. Your mental health is way more important than anything else.

What book should everyone in the industry read?

Although it was written 20 years ago, Naomi Klein's No Logo couldn't be more relevant today. According to Klein, "by the time you're 21, you'll have seen or heard a million advertisements. But you won't be happier for it." It's something we should always be asking ourselves. In an ever-connected world, with brands, products, technologies appearing to grow exponentially, we are basically living in a 'global village.' How can we design experiences that matter, so they aren't lost in the masses and are still unique? The book serves as a reminder that we have a responsibility to always be designing with purpose.

Roxy Dinh, business director, Socialyse

 

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At Havas social media agency Socialyse, Roxy Dinh leads a team of 22 to create innovative paid social solutions for clients such as Telefonica and the BBC. As head of EMEA, she helped to expand Laundry Service’s footprint in Europe, moving to London to work with Amazon, LG and Hennessy.

What brand would you love to work on?

Currently, there's only one psychiatrist available for every 100,000 people in Vietnam. As a mental health first aider who is passionate about developing and coaching people, I'm eager to use marketing for good. I would appreciate the opportunity to work with Unicef to drive local awareness about the importance of mental health and eliminate the cultural stigma around this topic. I'm determined to use my knowledge and platform to educate local businesses as well as foreign NGO investors to make meaningful contribution in the Vietnamese health care system.

Where do you go for creative inspiration?

My favourite thing to do when searching for new ideas is walk along the Regent's Canal or read a book in the park. But I often find that creative ideas come to me when I stop looking for them, like during my morning commute or getting a coffee. This is why I truly love living and working in London, because I'm constantly surrounded by so many diverse, talented people who never stop hustling and chasing their dreams.

How do you switch off from work?

I'm a big believer in 'work hard, eat well'. Growing up in a Vietnamese household, I loved joining my parents in our home kitchen where we experimented with local mouthwatering ingredients and unique spices. Now that I'm living in the UK, after work you can find me either making comfort food or hosting a dinner party with friends where I try out new recipes that combine Vietnamese flavour and western cooking techniques.

Tara D'souza, creative director, Brave New World

 

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Creative director Tara D’Souza has helped take independent Brave New World into the ranks of India’s best creative agencies. Based in Bengaluru, she’s worked on campaigns such as ‘Pocketman’ for Roadster and ‘#KeepMaaOutOf’, an innovative anti-verbal abuse project.

If you had an extra hour in the day, how would you spend it?

I would spend it cooking and baking. That's one skill I'm keen to grow to offset the busy madness of a work day in advertising and to make me a more sensitive and instinctive creative person. The colours, the texture, the sounds and smells and chemistry – you get to create something and reap the benefits of it all within the course of a few hours. It's pure and almost instant creative satisfaction.

Where do you do your best work?

It's a cliché but my best thoughts strike when I'm taking a shower. Bathing is a bit like meditation. The water drowns out the mental noise and helps me find razor focus. But the key is to have studied, researched, set a strategic goal and watered my mind with great references and random trivia before I get into thinking mode and beauty-bath-time.

What brand could you not live without?

I don't think any brand in this world is indispensable. Capitalism and consumerism have made us feel dependant on more than we really need to be. We can live without most of it. The beauty of being human is our amazing ability to create and adapt to fill the needs gaps we face, in the most conscious and conscientious way possible.

Olivia Crooks, client services manager, Spotify

 

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No stranger to the music industry, Spotify’s Olivia Crooks launched a record label before diving into internships at BBH and Google. After a stint at Grey London, she led key accounts including Panasonic and Desperados for Vice Media and found time to start Madland Hack, a professional community for people of colour in the marketing industry.

How would you explain what you do to a taxi driver?

In the same way that you can run ads on Google and Facebook, you can run ads on Spotify. They can be heard in song breaks. I am part of a team that works with specific clients to help them solve their marketing problems with Spotify advertising solutions. In essence, I solve the the client brief with smart – and creative – targeting capabilities that are unique to Spotify because of our data. The ads themselves can vary from running custom audio, display or video to creating bespoke digital experiences.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry?

Use LinkedIn properly. It can help you massively if you do not have contacts in the industry. Follow the recruiters at your favourite companies. Follow the movers and shakers that you see writing articles for the likes of The Drum on Linkedin. Have an opinion and be interesting, analyse good work/executions that you like and be able to analyse the strategy behind them.

What keeps you awake at night?

Work that emphasises our industry has a long way to go when it comes to diversity and inclusion.

Kristine Tsui, director, Bindery

 

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24-year-old Kristine Tsui previously led multimedia production at Birchbox UK, the beauty subscription service. Now based in New York at independent film and content studio Bindery, she has developed and directed national broadcast spots and digital content for national brands.

What was your route into the industry?

In school I studied advertising and marketing where I developed a love for the power of brands and design. After graduating I made every effort to dive in headfirst and just make as much as possible; things like shooting headshots for hundreds of people, working on sets of big budget features, travelling overseas to develop content for some of my favourite brands and just about everything in between. Eventually, all of this helped reveal an immense passion for directing commercials. And, specifically, those that are well-designed and help inject a bit of magical realism into everyday circumstances.

What one thing would you do to change the industry for the better?

A wider, more level playing field. Being a Chinese-American female director, fighting for representation and gender equality matters. As long as we narrowly dictate who the storytellers are, a larger and more damaging message remains: some stories are worth being told and some aren't. As makers, we're partners in culture-building and if the content we produce has an audience, it alters, even marginally, how people perceive the world we live in. It can either make the world more welcoming and thrilling or more exclusive and cold.

Where do you go for creative inspiration?

Most importantly, I find creative inspiration by experiencing things firsthand in the world. The best inspiration stems from being observant and watchful. You never know what information, conversation or experience will spark an idea. Being in NYC is amazing in this regard, but I love travelling and a global perspective provides me with great empathy and inspiration. I'm also a big fan of things like Pinterest, Balance and Dribble. I'm a collector of anything visually striking and there's something special about letting a variety of media – illustrations, set designs, product or packaging – inform how I approach a project.

Miranda Martell, director of client partnerships, Fake Love

 

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Since joining the team at New York Times-owned experiential agency Fake Love in 2017, Miranda Martell has significantly expanded both revenue and client relationships. Outside of her work in New York, Martell is an advocate for equality in the workplace and launched a series of mixers as a response to the lack of diversity among industry leaders.

What’s your favourite ad?

While I wish I could say something super thoughtful and clever on this topic, the thing that comes to mind for me is Marc Ecko's Air Force One graffiti hoax. Stunty, yes, but just so aligned with what the brand stands for and completely ahead of its time. Also, fantastic production and execution.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

The best piece of advice I've ever been given happens to be my mother's life motto: never take no for an answer. Tenacity, especially in our industry, is absolutely imperative, and creative problem solving is not always everyone else's primal response to a challenge. The most innovative work is work that requires perseverance and imagination, and it often starts with an initial 'no' or 'that's crazy' – this is what I like to call a 'soft no'. Being able to guide others to where you need them to be to get to a 'yes', that's the key.

If you had an extra hour in the day, how would you spend it?

In a perfect world I'd elongate my morning routine by taking the scenic route to work with my dog, Bodhi, along the riverfront. This just adds another 30 minutes to our usually short morning walk, so I'd almost certainly spend that other 30 on email catchup – perhaps then there really would be 'enough hours in the day'.

Amy Williams, founder and chief executive officer, GoodLoop

 

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London’s Amy Williams is on a quest to convert attention and awareness into actions. As the founder of Good-Loop, an ethical ad platform that rewards consumers who choose to watch an ad by donating to a chosen charity, she works with Nestlé, Unilever and H&M. Previously Williams worked at Ogilvy London and a soup kitchen in Mexico.

Which industry figure do you most look up to?

Timothy Armoo. Tim has been an entrepreneur since he was 17 years old and is currently the founder of killer Snaphat startup Fanbytes. I first met him when he was confidently and casually holding the attention of a room full of investors, explaining in no uncertain terms how his company was the next big thing. His confidence, clarity and honesty comes across in the kind of leader he is and the kind of company he's building. He'll be stopped by no one and I love that.

What book should everyone in the industry read?

Richard Branson's Screw Business As Usual. This is actually the book that first inspired me to become a social entrepreneur. It's about how we can harness the untapped power and potential within capitalism to make the world a better place. If we shift our values from a profit-focus to caring for people, communities and the planet, we already have all the tools we need. This is such an empowering idea and, when applied to advertising, it is incredibly relevant to the debate around 'woke-washing' and how brands need to put real meaning and impact at the heart of their 'purpose'.

What keeps you awake at night?

As chief executive, my primary role is really as a decision maker. From small decisions like 'should we order branded notebooks', to big decisions like 'should we raise investment or cut cost' or 'should we grow our sales team or invest in marketing'? I tend to make these decisions by gathering relevant information and then just sleeping on it. But sometimes I reach a tipping point where too many decisions are running around my head and I'll find myself staring at the ceiling for hours. So to be honest, like everyone else, I'm mostly kept awake by the pressures of my day-to-day.

Clementine Hobson, head of brand, Bulb

 

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London-based Clementine Hobson has led the development of the Bulb brand – the UK’s fastest growing energy company – helping it achieve consumer trust and growth in a highly competitive market. Hobson leads work on its press and television campaigns.

What's one thing would you do to change the industry for the better?

I'm interested in how you can break traditional agency/client models to forge new ways of working. Small, digital-first businesses often have a really developed understanding of their brand identity and tend to make a lot of creative in-house. But as a small, growing business you don't have access to the sort of expertise you get in an agency. For example, you can't really afford to hire one person who is the best in the business at short copy lines; you tend to hire generalists. There are ways agencies and businesses could work more flexibly and collaboratively together.

How do you switch off from work?

Family, friends and getting outside. I love to get out into the countryside or, better yet, a river or the ocean. It's great that wild swimming is getting more and more popular. For my fix of nature in the city, I try to grow things at home and recently started flower pressing. Despite slightly feeling like it's a pastime that should have disappeared along with embroidery, I really do enjoy it. It's relaxing and rewarding – you end up with all these beautiful things you can use to make other beautiful things. Glorious.

What brand would you love to work with?

I like doing creative work for subject matters that matter. It's why I like working in energy – it's very 'nuts and bolts'. It's exciting to use creative visual and written communication to get people to engage or take action in an area they typically wouldn't. If I wasn't at Bulb, I'd like to do that for another business or organisation that could be useful for people or the world. There are new businesses trying to make end-of-life planning better by improving care and choice at that stage of life. That would make an interesting, inspiring challenge.

Dannielle Beechey, tech partnerships planner, MediaCom

 

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As one of the first hires at fledgling MediaCom Blink, Dannielle Beechey helped her agency deliver a series of projects for Mars and Coca-Cola, allowing the team to grow its staff and its reach into new markets. In her spare time Beechey also works pro-bono via MediaCom UN Women and helps to run a regular GeekGirl Meetup in London.

If you had an extra hour in the day how would you spend it?

Listening to music! Like most people I listen to music on the commute, while working, when I'm at the gym. I don't think many people have the luxury of listening to music and doing nothing else. When you get the chance to do it, you hear parts of the song you'd never noticed before and you realise how much work and creativity goes into even the simplest of tunes.

Where do you do your best work?

Much to my frustration I do my best work late at night, at my desk, with a cup of tea and a new album to listen to. I don't even need a nice view to be honest – that would be too much distraction.

What brand could you not live without?

Dice, the music ticket app. I can honestly say it has changed the way I go out in London. Looking for events can be frustrating as there is so much going on in London and when you find something you like, it's easy to get stuck going to the same places again and again. Dice is the first brand I've seen that has really got to the heart of what its users want, how they speak and what they like. It also creates authentic and relevant content that I look forward to reading. It's my go-to app.

Doreen Chia, associate director, Essence

 

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Singapore’s Doreen Chia has seen a rapid ascent through the ranks since joining media agency Essence, rising to manage delivery for over 500 campaigns in the last year.

Where do you go for creative inspiration?

I get inspiration simply through conversing with people from all walks of life, learning and drawing upon their experience in various fields. This has helped provide new and unique perspectives that support me at work as I tackle challenges in the ever-changing advertising and media industry, such as the advent of GDPR and Apple ITP updates that complicate campaign tracking, or the increasing prevalence of fake news, which undermines consumers' trust in news sources.

What was your route into the industry?

I always had an interest in marketing and strategy and majored in them in university. Before graduation, I explored learning opportunities and that was when I found Essence. It was the year Essence founded its first APAC office in Singapore. It has been over five amazing years since I joined Essence's advertising operations team and the agency has rapidly grown from one to nine offices across APAC. In this time I also had the opportunity to be seconded to set up and manage our client Google's APAC Media Lab technology team to work on in-house ad technology recommendations and implementation.

How do you switch off from work?

Spending quality time with my partner, family and friends helps me switch off from work. I also look forward to working out with my colleagues every Monday evening to kickstart the week, and on other days we chat and bond over a game of foosball in the office. Being in Singapore, hunting down and eating at the best local hawker centres and restaurants feature high on my list of unwinding options too.

If you're interested in learning more about The Drum's 50 Under 30, contact Lauren McCreath at lauren.mccreath@thedrum.com.

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