Connie Chweh | Next Creative Leaders

By Laurel Stark Akman on Feb 15, 2024


Now in its ninth year, Next Creative Leaders is growing, expanding, and showing the world what advertising and design can be when you lift up every voice on your creative team. In the future, Next Creative Leaders hopes to continue to uplift women, trans, non-binary and gender expansive creatives as well as focus on growing the diversity of voices we honor. Below, co-founder, Laurel Stark, introdcues some of the Next Creative Leaders to keep an eye on. 

Connie Chweh
Sr. Art Director, Peloton and





New York, United States


Laguna Hills, United States



What is your “breaking into advertising” story?

I had a meandering path into advertising, so I’d say the break was more of “chipping away” than anything. After multiple odd jobs post college graduation, I pursued optometry in hopes of appeasing my dad’s wish of me being a doctor. After a couple years, I finally realized it wasn’t for me. I dropped everything and decided to go to Miami Ad School to follow my dreams of being a creative. There I built my portfolio and by beautiful chance, met my first copywriting partner, Tajj Badil-Abish. Together, we landed our first jobs as partners at FCB West


How did your upbringing, family, or culture shape you as a creative?

Being Korean American definitely plays a big role in who I am as a creative. It influences how I see the world and how I want to make it better. Creating “narrative plentitude,” a term coined by novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen, is especially important to me. It means creating more diverse, richer, and truer stories of Asian Americans to fight mainstream culture which has distorted or erased us.

So whether it’s the stories I tell, the cast I choose, or talent I work with, I always try to add more narrative plentitude


What type of story do you feel born to tell?

I think I’m born to help other people tell their stories.


What made you apply for Next Creative Leaders?

I want to see more women (especially Asian women) in leadership positions—and I want to be one of those leaders. However, I know this can’t be done alone. I knew Next Creative Leaders would connect me with peers and mentors who could help take me to the next level. Brands have a powerful influence in our culture and society, so I want to be a decision maker who will help these brands make a valuable impact.

I’m also focused on growing AZN AMERICANA. We’re currently planning our 2024 programming, which includes a mentorship program and an entrepreneurship program. I knew Next Creative Leaders was ripe with women who could help me build these.

Image 1
Image 2
Image 3


You’re the co-founder of AZN AMERICANA– can you tell us about that?

AZN AMERICANA started back last February when my friend and now co-founder, Gabby Nguyen, invited me to her apartment to talk about an idea. She wanted to create some kind of collective for Asian women and femmes, but didn’t know exactly what it’d be. We started workshopping it together, but it wasn’t until May 2023 when AZN AMERICANA really started taking shape.

I was working on my art exhibition and 2 weeks before the opening night, the original venue fell through. I was devastated and felt really alone in the situation. When I told Gabby, she was so supportive and went straight into solution mode. In less than 48 hours, she secured a new (and better) venue and we ended up producing the exhibition in 10 days. The opening night was very special. Not only did we realize we actually pulled it off, but we also realized it was AZN AMERICANA’s first project. 

AZN AMERICANA helps Asian women and femmes grow and succeed on their own terms. Since the gallery, we’ve produced 5 sold out events including speaker panels, vision boarding workshops, a photoshoot party and most recently a Lunar New Year pop-up. We’ve brought together over 500 Asian women and femmes across NY and LA to take up space, grow together, and celebrate who we are.

We have a lot in store for this year and can’t wait to share.

Stay tuned by following us on IG: @aznamericana.


Who is inspiring you right now and why?

To be completely honest, I think I’m inspiring myself right now. These past couple years have been full of wins and losses, but those losses led to triumph. I created one of my favorite professional projects, Girls Who Code Girls (a microsite for Girls Who Code that helps girls combat the hypersexualization of female video game characters, all while learning how to code). I was laid off and I took that time to rest and recenter myself. I curated and produced my own art exhibition. I co-founded AZN AMERICANA, which has led me to some invaluable life experiences. I landed an in-house role (something I’ve always wanted to try) at Peloton, a company whose mission I’m intrinsically motivated by. I’m starting to see what I’m truly capable of and never in my life have I been this proud of myself.

Many, many people helped me get to where I am today. My sister, friends, creative directors, peers, sometimes strangers on the internet—they believed in me when I didn’t. They gave me encouragement, motivation, and opportunities to shine. I’m so grateful because I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this without them. 


You recently made the move from agency side to brand side. What’s the most surprising aspect of working in-house at Peloton?

Probably the sense of camaraderie. It’s my first time going in-house and having equity in a company, so it feels like my co-workers and I have a united motivation. I like it because it feels like people genuinely care about making the best work they can in order to help the company succeed. It didn’t always feel like that at agencies.

"Brands have a powerful influence in our culture and society, so I want to be a decision maker who will help brands make a valuable impact."


What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned this past year?

Slow down and make time for yourself. I used to mistake movement for progress. However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that being busy doesn’t necessarily mean you’re making progress. In fact, sometimes it’ll do the opposite. I love having both Peloton and AZN AMERICANA in my life, but it’s more important than ever to slow down and still make time for the simple things that fill my cup. (ie. having slow mornings, working out, or hanging out with friends)


What do you think the future of creativity will look like?

Positive for the most part, but harder to make good work. People care more about their well being more than ever. Because of this, brands have to care more too in order to connect with their audiences. It makes me believe creativity will have an increasingly positive impact in the world. However, at the same time, social media has perpetuated cancel culture like the plague causing brands to be very cautious in their messaging. We’ve all seen how watered down the work can get. It’s up to us to keep the magic alive.


How are you leaving the work and the workplace better than you found it?

I’m making the work better by making it more nuanced and less generic. I’m doing this by digging deeper to find unheard stories and working with more diverse casts and talent to bring them to life. This is super important for me to do for all underrepresented communities because I know how disrespectful it feels to be typecasted and stereotyped.

And I’m leaving the workplace kinder than I found it—especially for women. I’m doing this just by treating others how I’d like to be treated.






Sitta Chandarawong | Next Creative Leaders
Emese Gillotte & Dorottya Tóth | Next Creative Leaders
Farishte Irani | Next Creative Leaders
Julia Machado | Next Creative Leaders







Follow Us