Last Tuesday evening, Saatchi & Saatchi London hosted the SheSays monthly series “How She Got There” to a packed crowd at the agency’s in-house pub, The Pregnant Man. The night celebrated the careers of two of advertising’s most prominent and inspirational women; Saatchi & Saatchi’s very own Chairwoman and Chief Creative Officer, Kate Stanners and SheSays co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Mr President, Laura Jordan-Bambach.
In honour of International Women’s day, below are a few pieces of career wisdom from Kate and Laura.
- Lean Into the Unknown: “It’s important to always be open to new experiences. You must be prepared to seize opportunity and even create opportunity for yourself. Say yes to projects and see where it takes you. Be tenacious and keep pushing and improving yourself to see where you can go.” (Laura)
- It’s Healthy to Argue: “It’s important to stand by your own ideas however when collaborating in a team environment it’s healthy to debate and argue. I used to argue a lot because I think the work improves by doing it and you can get to a way better place. There is huge value in differing opinions. ” (Kate)
- Mistakes are OK “I’ve made plenty of mistakes throughout my career. I’ve decided to not do things that could have taken me in a different direction but I ultimately I don’t regret doing any of those things or making any of those mistakes. It’s similar to the Japanese practice Kitsugi, which looks at cracks and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to hide. Everything you do, every mistake, every wrong turn you make puts a crack in you. Those experience don’t make you worse, they make you who you are and all add up to the very individual person that you. The failures can be so much more valuable than the successes.” (Laura)
- Find The Positive: “You may not always be inspired by the work, but the people you get to work with might show you something new. You might get to collaborate with someone who can teach you a new way to look at a problem. It’s about being curious so you can keep learning. There’s always something to get out of the work.” (Kate)
- Foster Inspiration: “If you’re in a rut or if your team is uninspired, find one thing within the project or experience that you can collectively get behind. Whether it’s a small win or improvement, listen to your colleagues, find a collective goal and give the team space to play with it and move the project forward.” (Laura)
- Be Someone That Makes Things Possible: “Our industry needs to support both parents and encourage people to be flexible in how we work. Every day I feel like I’m a better mum to my son for being a working mum. And it’s really everyone around me that makes it entirely possible. Try to be the person that makes it possible for others.” (Kate)
- Ask For Help: “You look fine when you ask for help and it’s a strong position to be in. I’ve made so many mistakes based on not asking the right questions. It’s important to put yourself out there and be vocal.” (Laura)
- Know The Importance of A Team: “Be open with each other and keep an eye out for each other. Respect is also key in difficult situations. By telling your team, “I value your opinion,” you can learn how to navigate and move discussions forward while maintaining respect.” (Kate)
- Continue to Detour: “I’m still slightly on a detour. I set out to do something quite different with my career. I went to college to study history and I plan to revisit that at some point. I value alternative viewpoints and these sorts of personal experiences enrich those characteristics for us all. I’d also still like to be a textile designer.” (Kate)
- Get Solace and Motivation From Yourself: “You’re the only one that control you. You’re not at your current job by accident. You’re there because you’re great and you continue to grow because you’re great.” (Laura)
- Foster and Invest in Creative Environments: “We built the creative department at LBi from the ground up. As a digital shop, we had loads of people there who were frustrated because they couldn’t get their creativity out. So we embarked on building the best creative culture for them. We invested in doing things as a team that were really creative and explored new things together. We’re always on long journeys with our clients and we may not get there for a while however until then, there's plenty of joy to be had.” (Laura)
- Own Your Space: “Speak up as much as you can and make your presence known. In meetings, show up and speak up. It makes an enormous difference. The power of 1-2 people or 10 people or 100 people to do something different is really powerful so do what you can to share your voice and opinion.” (Laura)
- Respect Your Limits: “We all have experiences where the timing hasn’t been right to embark on a new project or phase in our career. It truly comes from a position of privilege when you’re able to throw yourself into a new situation. And there are times when you just can’t. Don’t beat yourself up about it. You need to do what feels right for you and that’s incredibly important. If you didn’t do something then it’s because it didn’t feel right for you at the time. Use your instinct.” (Laura)
- Nothing Is Too Scary “In the end, it if doesn’t work it doesn’t work. There’s always something else to try.” (Kate)
SheSays is an award-winning global network organization focused on the engagement, education and advancement of women in the creative industries.