Next Creative Leaders

Next Creative Leaders is a portfolio competition that identifies, celebrates, and gives a global platform to talented women and non-binary creatives who are making their mark on the world with both their work and a unique point of view on creative leadership.

2018 Next Creative Leaders - NCL Profile

Mietta McFarlane

Agency Mietta McFarlane

Client NCL 2018


NCL 2018

Annual ID


Next Creative Leaders 2018 - Winner Profile

Mietta McFarlane

Mietta McFarlane


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I began my career in Australian agencies, where for four years across three creative departments, my Chief Creative Officers were male. They were also very good. And generous with their time and guidance. But I was keen for female mentorship. I had to travel nearly 10,000 miles to find it.

At Droga5 New York, I’m privileged to work with a strong team of female Creative Directors. Given there seems to be so little time to learn on the job these days, it’s amazing that these talented women have found so many hours to help me get the most out of my career. They have taught me how to hone my craft, and more importantly how to face the challenges of being a woman in today’s creative department. And I’m very committed to sharing those learnings with younger female creatives rising through the ranks.

While I might not be a Creative Director yet, I’m replicating the support given to me by always making myself available to those in more junior roles. As an industry that prides itself on being ever-evolving, I believe helping one another out is the only clear way to start making significant steps towards solving this diversity issue once and for all.

On top of that, I have partaken in various events over the last few years to help support equality in the industry. One of my favorite experiences was being asked to speak at the Semi-Permanent Festival in Sydney. This event is held in locations around the world, bringing together creative minds from various industries including architecture, art, fashion, design and advertising. Our conversation addressed the gender imbalance of senior women in the Australian creative departments and managed to pull a crowd of 5,000 people (as well as some heated debate across Twitter).

Back in Australia, I also mentored for AWARD (Australian Writers and Art Directors Society). On a daily basis I have worked on campaigns like The New York Times which is trying to ensure everyone has a voice and teen suicide, which sadly impacts the most diverse mix of young people across America.

This is an exciting era in the industry and I remain optimistic that it can be a better one for women and a hugely diverse group of people.

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