Next Creative Leaders Spill the Tea
By Alixandra Rutnik on Jul 21, 2020
Past winners reflect on becoming one of the Next Creative Leaders
Next Creative Leaders 2020 is open for entries, and we're already seeing lots of superb submissions coming in — and why wouldn't we? It's free to enter, and it shines a great big spotlight on the phenomenal talents and passions of many industry women and non-binary creatives.
The deadline for submissions will be here before you know it — July 31 to be precise — but in case you need a little nudging to get your entry together, we thought it would be wonderful to chat with some of our previous Next Creative Leaders, to tell us — and you — what it was like to win this honor, and how it has changed their careers for the better.
Neisha Tweed Bell
Associate Creative Director
Group Creative Director
Sr. Art Director
How did you choose the work you submitted to Next Creative Leaders?
Jessica Toye: I chose the work that felt the most important to me and the industry.
Mariana Oliveira: I chose the campaigns I was most proud of– the ones I worked on the most and the ones that were 100% created and led by me and my partner.
Tara Lawall: I picked the work that I was most proud of making– not necessarily the work the most people liked or was the most awarded. In the end it is a reflection of me as a creative, so I went with what I most believed in.
"I picked the work that I was most proud of making– not necessarily the work the most people liked or was the most awarded."
Erin Evon: I picked work that I was proud of for specific reasons– particularly work that genuinely helped people with the goal of transcending advertising.
Kate Desmarais: I gave it all I had! No, but really I chose the best pieces in my portfolio that I felt represented my point of view and the type of work I love to make.
Did winning NCL have an impact on your career?
Neisha Tweed Bell: Yes! The wonderful women I've met and been inspired by, year after year.
Jessica Toye: The most important impact has been the relationships and people I've met through NCL. It gave me the opportunity to meet a really great group of people that I hope continues to grow.
Mariana Oliveira: Absolutely! I'm really hard on myself and on my work, so winning NCL has first and foremost appeased some of these feelings of ineptitude. I also had the honor of meeting some amazing women during this process. Not only my fellow winners but also the fearless ladies organizing NCL and The 3% Conference. And last but definitely not least, I made great business contacts and got offers from places I really admire and would love to work for in the future.
"I began getting more attention from industry leaders and recruiters. Doors just began to open that I wasn't able to open before."
Tara Lawall: I was honored to win and any compliment always feels nice. Also, winning NCL got me an invitation to speak on a panel at The 3% Conference, which was a really wonderful and inspiring experience.
Liz Cartwright: Oh yeah, it significantly raised my profile. I began getting more attention from industry leaders and recruiters. Doors just began to open that I wasn't able to open before.
Kate Desmarais: Imposter syndrome is real. And it's nice to have a bunch of smart, talented people (who probably also suffer from imposter syndrome) acknowledge that maybe, just maybe, you've got something to bring to the table.
If you could give a piece of advice to the women entering NCL this year, what would it be?
Neisha Tweed Bell: Find as many opportunities as you can to go through the exercise of talking about how awesome you are and reflecting on all the great shit you're doing.
Jessica Toye: Why not enter? You have everything to gain and nothing to lose.
Mariana Oliveira: I ask myself the following question all the time: Is advertising a toxic industry, or are the people in charge of advertising toxic? I guess we won’t know the answer until we get some new people up in here, and that means you. Your point of view is not only valid– it is essential. Trust yourself, and know your worth.
"Trust yourself, and know your worth."
Tara Lawall: By simply entering you are showing that you are willing to advocate for yourself and that alone is an achievement.
Liz Cartwright: Pour yourself into your application– your points of view, your passions, your quirks. Standing out requires putting yourself out there.
Erin Evon: Share work that YOU are proud of... not necessarily what might have the most likes, shares, or press.
Kate Desmarais: Don't second guess. Don't be afraid. Press submit and don't look back.
Patty Orlando: Submit work that you are passionate about and that represents your unique POV, voice, and style– which doesn’t always coincide with your most well-known work. Then tell your story behind the work, why it mattered to you, or how it pushed you to lead, grow, or spark change. With so much good work out in the world, that’s the sticky stuff that will stand out to the jury.
"Submit work that you are passionate about and that represents your unique POV, voice, and style– which doesn’t always coincide with your most well-known work."
Are you a talented woman or non-binary person with creative work to share? You should enter Next Creative Leaders! The deadline to enter is July 31.