Next Creative Leaders: Emmie Nostitz
on Oct 27, 2017
Creative Director - Droga5 New York
Three words you’d use to describe yourself?
Motivated, happy, different.
What work are you most proud of and why?
I am proud of all my work for very different reasons. Each assignment and client has its own set of challenges and that is what makes this whole thing fun. I get to wake up every day and have no idea how it will end. I am proud when work does something new. Or when we are able to work with our clients to push them out of their comfort zones. Or when we bring a fresh design to something. Being proud can come from getting an edit right to selling an entire platform. I guess that is what is important: we need to be proud of all of our work and all parts of it. Otherwise we are just doing stuff to get it done and that is how boring safe work happens. Taking pride in stuff is how you ensure the work is great.
What does leadership mean to you?
It is all about knowing that ideas can come from anywhere. It is about inspiring those around you to bring out the best ideas, and ultimately being someone that others want to be around.
What’s your “breaking into advertising” story?
I won my first job/internship via a silent auction for a position at JWT Chicago. My friend was at a black tie event and there was a summer internship being auctioned off. I told him that he could spend up to $300 to win it for me. I think I was the only bid and got the internship for around $150. When I called HR they were really shocked that I even knew what advertising was and that I wanted a position in the creative department as an art director. I broke into advertising by spending $150.
What’s your approach to navigating your career?
I have always taken jobs based on a gut feeling: Did I like the place? Was I going to work for someone I could learn from? Was I going to be able to test out a new skill set? I never really saw myself ending up at certain shop, rather I wanted to be where I could do good work and feel inspired. I think that is why I moved around so much early on. I was constantly just searching for a place that could challenge me every day.
What do you think makes Droga5 such a prolifically creative company?
We work hard, and for the right reasons. We are all a team here and none of us are here for a personal gain, rather we are here for the betterment of the work. There are no excuses – it must just be great. So yes, we work a lot, yes we care even more but we also have fun and are great friends. We respect each other. We may not always agree but again if it is all about the work it takes out the politics. We just work because we care and because we want great work at the end of the day.
What does success mean to you?
Being happy. Yes my job is great, but I also need to have a great life. We work in one of the most fun industries where we get to be creative and play all day long, so why not make the most of it? The most successful people I have met are having fun and genuinely love what they do. Success is not awards or titles, it's that feeling you get when you ship something after not sleeping for days and you know you did everything right by the clients and the idea.
You don’t just worry about stereotypes in your work, you worry about stereotypes at work. Can you share that perspective?
I think we have to embrace the things we are good at. I am a woman and I am good at certain things. That should not be used as a stereotype or a label, rather just hey I am a woman and I am good at some things. Since when are my strengths bad? Or something that puts me in a certain box? But at the same time I have to push myself to get out of my comfort zone. I ask to be on new briefs all the time. I am also met with acceptance when I ask for new challenges. I think while others may stereotype us, we have to be most careful not to stereotype ourselves.
What do you think our industry is doing right by women? And where do we still have room for improvement?
The simple fact that ‘women in advertising’ has become a real conversation is great. We are all being open to the issues. Now it is on all of us to move forward and find real solutions rather than excuses. Be great at your job and the rest will follow.
You prioritize happiness in life and at work. How do you do that in an industry that demands such long hours?
My work is part of my life, and it is all about balance. Also I have to take care of myself. I work because I love what I do. So yes, I work a lot, but I also draw the line. I choose to have dinner at home rather than in the office for example. It is a small thing but it is something that keeps me grounded. Also all of this should be fun. My partner and I laugh every day at the office. We come in and make the most of the day but also enjoy each other. At the end of all of this we are friends and that is the most important thing.
What’s your biggest piece of advice to creatives who want to keep growing?
See opportunity in everything. Every brief can become something amazing if you so choose. Also know that every day you will fail and that is ok. That just means the next great idea is around the corner.