(L-R) Air Max Cloud; Project Respect; The Cliché

Next Creative Leaders, Meet the Latest Creative Leaders

By Alixandra Rutnik on Jun 22, 2021

NCL 2020's Regional Winners share industry perspectives


Last year, The One Club’s Next Creative Leaders — in partnership with The 3% Movement — collectively decided that our annual portfolio-based competition that celebrates women and non-binary creatives around the world would welcome even more outstanding talent into the spotlight. And so, in addition to our usual showcase of the ten top-scoring entrants, we introduced a class of regional winners, highlighting exceptional creatives from every corner of the globe.

That first year was a tremendous success, and it brought our attention to a collection of incredible women beyond our American scope. These included Mariana Albuquerque, Creative Director & Copywriter; Haylie Craig, Digital Creative & Art Director; Érika Moreira, Copywriter; and Bongiwe Neema Nouse, Writer, all impressive women arepresenting Latin America, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region like the superstars they are.

With Next Creative Leaders 2021 now accepting entries, we did a quick check-in with these regional-winning women from 2020 to get you all hyped to stand in their footsteps this year.


In what ways are you striving to inspire and lead other LGBTQ+ and Latina women to achieve gender equality and representation, through your work?

Mentorship excites me. I'm always trying to help other LGBTQ+ and Latina women on their journey to achieve their professional goals. The world is already too hard for us, so we need to soften our inner saboteurs in order to believe in our own potential. My strategy to help them take that internal pressure off is to talk about my own vulnerability and how I've overcome it.

"The world is already too hard for us, so we need to soften our inner saboteurs in order to believe in our own potential."

What’s your “breaking into advertising” story?

In 2016 I was a mid-level copywriter for GM's Digital BLT at Publicis Brasil. During a huge retail pitch, the ECD included me and my creative partner to be responsible for the digital activations. This was the opportunity I had to show my bosses that I could do more than Digital BTL. We won the pitch.

A few months later, Heineken had their first Champions League brief at Publicis and the ECD partnered me up with a senior team to think of activations. Our idea was selected and it turned out to be The Cliché– Heineken's most shared videos of all time.

Creativity can save the world. What real-world problem would you want to tackle with creativity, if time, budget, and logistics were not an issue?

Oooh, it's hard to pick just one. I love helping human beings, but animals are my soft spot. I'd love to help animals have a more comfortable life on Earth, especially wild animals. There's also an urgent matter happening in Brazil. It's the first time in 14 years that people are starving again. We need to find ways to help solve the world's starvation– we're counting on brands to help us with this real-world brief.

MARIALBUQUERQUE.CO

Why do you feel it is a challenge to be an introvert in the ad space?

Introversion is about how you respond to stimulation– that could be your environment or social e.g. sitting in an open-plan office, the gaze of others on your screen, loud music playing, loud discussions, lots of group work, etc. And shyness is about fear of social judgment. So from those elements, it doesn’t make sense for me to be in advertising– but I am and I have the drive to create great work and change.

The tides are changing and a wider variety of voices– whether they be of few words, many, or soft– will be consciously acknowledged by their peers and given the space they need as the environments within agencies, other workplaces, and the world start to change. One thing you can do is just be conscious of your peers and how they work. We want the best out of everyone, so taking a moment to understand what is productive for people or clearing air space for someone to have a word in the discussion, if they are struggling to jump in, is important. Empathetic leadership is also slowly starting to happen and I hope that continues.

"The tides are changing and a wider variety of voices– whether they be of few words, many, or soft– will be consciously acknowledged by their peers and given the space they need as the environments within agencies, other workplaces, and the world start to change."

Being an introvert should no longer be seen as a weakness.

How are you working to celebrate, support or elevate other marginalized voices and experiences?

My peers support me and I support them. It is nice to know you aren’t alone, so it is important to let others know you have their back. Also, the responsibility isn’t just on the marginalized person to educate others or speak up every time. If you can be an ally and help or speak up that makes a difference.

The work we get to do can influence culture just as much as we follow and tap into it. You can elevate voices through the work you do. Brands paired with agencies (that are filled with very talented people) have a lot of resources, and if they have the credibility and genuinely want to help in this space, they can easily help make the marginalized feel visible and valued. The industry could still be more diverse and it will be, thanks to initiatives like Next Creative Leaders that keep the conversation going and make change happen.

Creativity can save the world. What real-world problem would you want to tackle with creativity, if time, budget, and logistics were not an issue?

There are already some amazing projects out there solving huge world problems like searching for a cure for cancer, establishing gender equality, changing bias AI, creating accessibility, fixing climate change, etc., but they might stop after 3-6 months because the campaign budget is spent. I can’t pick one real problem to tackle because they are all important. It would be awesome to keep powerful ideas going long after campaign budgets stop so more and more people and businesses continue to discover and interact with them.

HAYLIECRAIG.COM

What advice can you give the future Next Creative Leaders of 2021 when they are choosing projects to submit to the competition?

In addition to choosing the most recognized and awarded projects, always cross projects and ideas with your history. Take note of how it is essential for you to be recognized in this industry that is full of the same people with the same stories. Find a way to connect a project professionally and personally.

What does being named a Next Creative Leader mean to you?

When I was named a Next Creative Leader, it was one of the most outstanding personal and professional achievements of my career. I received an acknowledgment that I had not yet received by the Brazilian and worldwide industry. I talked to many people who have mentored and inspired me over the past year, that I will stay connected with for sure. Acknowledging other’s perspectives is essential to remain inspired and focused on reaching leadership positions.

"Acknowledging other’s perspectives is essential to remain inspired and focused on reaching leadership positions."

Who has most influenced you in your career thus far?

Some women who have influenced me are Vida Cornelius, Mariana Borga, Mariana Albuquerque, and Laura Florence.

ERIKAMOREIRA.CO

As a South African woman and copywriter, how are you continuing to redefine and break the mainstream narrative about Africa?

I believe the mainstream narrative about Africa has shifted. It’s been a slow shift over the years, but an impactful one nonetheless.

As a South African woman and a creative, I have a unique opportunity to contribute to this new narrative. Through my storytelling I am quite literally writing down our narrative, ensuring it is one that is centered around not how the world views Africa but on how we view ourselves. Powerful. The source. Human.

"Through my storytelling I am quite literally writing down our narrative, ensuring it is one that is centered around not how the world views Africa but on how we view ourselves. Powerful. The source. Human."

What’s the piece of work in your Next Creative Leaders portfolio that you’re most proud of and why?

I am proud of every one of the pieces in my Next Creative Leaders portfolio. Each one tells a story about my life that I’m grateful to have been given the opportunity to immortalize. The piece I feel the strongest about is Greatest Gift. I wrote this piece a few months after the passing of my father.

It tells the story of loss at the moment soon after a funeral when the clothes of the deceased are being given away. This has always been, for me, the worst part of any send-off. It’s the most final and insensitive. So I wanted to capture the pain I felt in that moment and have it performed by a little girl. Although I was 26 at the time, I felt like a little girl in that moment, so that is how I wanted it portrayed.

Creativity can save the world. What real-world problem would you want to tackle with creativity, if time, budget, and logistics were not an issue?

Gender-based violence. It feels nearly impossible when I think about the countless number of ideas I’ve brought forward that don’t quite seem to measure up in tackling an issue this great. I live in a county that is completely desensitized to the plight of women and girls and if I could change this evil through creativity, I would.

IG: @neemanouse


NEXT CREATIVE LEADERS 2021 IS HERE!

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Winning Work

The Cliché

Project Respect

Air Max Cloud

The Prayer

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