Photo from WAATBP 2023

Jordan Dinwiddie & Devin Bradford: Black Triumph

By Alixandra Rutnik on Mar 06, 2024

An art director and a creative director share their success after attending WAATBP

Every autumn, Where Are All the Black People?, the diversity conference and career fair, is one of the gleaming gems on The One Club for Creativity’s crown. Since 2011, WAATBP has been the place where the ad world has come together to address many of the issues that surround being a BIPOC individual in an industry that has historically been, shall we say, homogeneous.

WAATBP is a can’t-miss event, with nearly a thousand participants getting involved last year alone. This year’s conference is set to take place virtually on September 26 and live in New York on September 27 — and we are already signing up agency and brand partners!

Since the outreach for this year’s conference is about to heat up, we’re spotlighting creatives who discovered WAATBP to be the perfect stepping stone for their skyrocketing careers.

Second up: Art Director at Momentum Worldwide, Devin Bradford, and Creative Director at Wieden and Kennedy, Jordan Dinwiddie– two Black women to conclude Black History Month and kick off Women’s History Month.

Both women have been to WAATBP multiple times over the years and had stories to share about legend and One Club Board Member Jimmy Smith.

Devin, what have the past 10+ years as an Art Director taught you?

Devin: The greatest lesson the past 10+ years as an Art Director has taught me is learning to trust the process. One of the most challenging yet rewarding things about being a creative is getting your idea from inception through production, which is why I’m particularly proud of the Heaven Sent project. In the process, I sharpened my expertise in experiential design and further learned the intricacies of production.

In your bio it says you love miniature interior design, BBQ, and plants. Tell us a bit more about why you love these three things.

Devin: I don’t currently own a miniature house, but based on my Instagram feed, I feel a new hobby of mini-design dioramas is on the horizon. My favorite BBQ spot in Atlanta is Fat Matt’s Rib Shack– the way the meat falls off the rib and that sauce, chef’s kiss. I love all plants and surround myself with them to remind me to nourish myself and to grow. I particularly indulge in fresh flowers because they remind me not only to be present but also to continue to bloom.

Jordan, you’ve been working at W+K for 10+ years, specifically with Nike, and made the Adweek Creative 100 in 2021. Was advertising always your career goal?

Jordan: I never thought I’d be an advertising creative, I always thought I’d be working in social media or PR at a record label or for a sports team. I never envisioned myself as a copywriter, because honestly, I didn’t know what that job was until my senior year of college.

I love working at W+K because I get to work and learn from people much smarter than me. I think people would say my most memorable campaign is LeBron’s “Together” when he returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

You made the switch from Copywriter to Creative Director a few years ago. How was this transition?

Jordan: It’s still a process. It’s fun, but it can be difficult because it’s honestly a very different job. You go from making the work to help shaping it. It’s been challenging to navigate, but it’s the same as any sport. It just takes reps.

Describe your experiences attending WAATBP.

Devin: My first time attending WAATBP was in New York City, on October 3, 2012. That is where I got to meet and network with the advertising icon Jimmy Smith. I briefly passed through again in 2022 and heard a few panels. A topic I would like to delve more into and discuss is the ever-evolving crossroads and relationships of brands and cultures.

Jordan: I attended WAATBP for the first time in 2012 and again in 2013, and I met a lot of people whom I still talk to. I don’t remember the speakers, but I do remember bombing the pitch competition, and Jimmy Smith calling me boring. Jokes on him! I went back to WAATBP after the LeBron campaign came out to speak about working as a Black creative in advertising. Honestly, I was so green, I had no real advice to give. But it was surreal to be back.

In what ways did WAATBP help you break into the advertising industry?

Devin: At the time I attended WAATBP, I was graduating with my MA in advertising the following month, and this career fair provided me with the conversations and connections that would help me embark on my advertising journey. A pivotal moment that gave huge direction to my career was having the chance to introduce myself and converse with Jimmy Smith. I kept in touch with him and his team over several years, following his projects and pitching my talents. I got to apprentice under Jimmy’s creative lead and mentorship, which led to countless experiences, relationships, and guidance within the industry that I still utilize to this day.

"I got to apprentice under Jimmy’s creative lead and mentorship, which led to countless experiences, relationships, and guidance within the industry that I still utilize to this day."

Jordan: It honestly gave me the fire to prove people wrong. I know I was joking, but Jimmy Smith’s two minute feedback really stuck with me and in the words of MJ, “I took it personally,” but I love that he didn’t mince words. WAATBP gives you real feedback to make us all better. Companies should sponsor this event because this is the future of advertising– these creatives represent not only culture as it is, but also what it will become.

"Companies should sponsor this event because this is the future of advertising– these creatives represent not only culture as it is, but also what it will become."

What makes WAATBP an excellent career fair?

Devin: WAATBP is a career fair that gives a safe space to ask, answer, and celebrate, “Where are all the Black people in advertising?” You should attend this conference if you need your portfolio reviewed, and want to hear industry insights from speakers and score priceless networking opportunities. Companies should sponsor and represent WAATBP because it’s a nexus of Black creatives and a place to connect with and cultivate future rising talent.

How did you celebrate Black History Month?

Devin: I celebrated Black History Month by acknowledgeding, rejoicing, and taking pride in the resilience of past, present, and future Black excellence.

Jordan: Rested and reflected.



Would your agency like to sponsor WAATBP in 2024?



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