(Dan Wieden, Co-Founder of Wieden+Kennedy)
On Thursday, September 24th Wieden+Kennedy, along with a handful of other local sponsors, hosted a 3% mini-con in Portland, Oregon. The day-long event consisted of keynotes, panels, networking, a yoga session, and of course, cocktails. Click here for a more detailed look at the line-up of fantastic, inspirational speakers and participants.
Meron Medhanie, W+K strategist, reflects on the day.
“They see me.” – Jamie Curl
Trusting your journey, individuality and your genius, as Intisar Abioto said powerfully, is a bit easier to do when you are seen, heard and understood.
But when people recognize your luck, instead of your genius, it completely erases your talent and hard work, making you feel like a recipient of success instead of a creator.
(Sarah Shapiro, Filmmaker, Director and Creator of Lifetime’s Unreal)
Sarah Shapiro shared this through vigor and passion as she hit on a lot of themes covered at the first 3% Mini Conference in Portland.
The first being, never underestimate the power that one person has to make a change. Or as Kat Gordon said, “If something is broken in the world, you may very well be the person to fix it.” And that’s what she set out to do.
Kat Gordon founded the 3% Conference, establishing a community of incredible women and “manbassadors” in 2012, after learning that percentage represented the number of female creative directors in our industry. Since the organization launched four years ago, the number of female creative directors has increased from 3% to 11%. But it was clear throughout the day that there’s still so more work to be done.
As Chelsea Vandiver said best, “The struggles we’re dealing with are real.” Trying to get over the cuteness barrier to be taken seriously, and this idea of matrydom for the work, coupled with an extreme guilt for not “being enough” for your job, family, and yourself led to countless conversations of how do you stay “in it” when it feels like everything is stacked up against. The answer: If you feel like it’s what you have to do, it’s your passion, then you can’t give up. It’s the moment when you “let go of one fantasy and lean into the one you’re meant for,” that breakthrough happens. And really, that’s the space we played in all day.
(Intisar Abioto, Photographer, Dancer, Writer, Explorer, The Black Portlanders)
We listened to powerful stories about what people are creating and how people are changing the game. Women like Mira Kaddoura and Sarah Shapiro who are intentional in who they hire, instead of “hiring the guy that looks like the last guy we hired.” Courageous women who challenged us to speak up when someone describes a woman as wishy washy or emotional, and instead say things like “hmm she actually thinks on her feet and is quite passionate.”
(DeAngelo Raines, Co-Founder + Art Director of Service and Charity Stratos, CEO/Founder of Service)
As much as we all thrive in a supportive environment, Tig Notaro reminded us that the last thing you want is a safe environment. Being in a 100% nurturing environment, you’re not going to really grow. So how do we strike a balance?
I’m not really sure. We can start with creating a space where everyone can come share his or her perspective. And by embracing that awkwardness, as Tig so gracefully does in her stand up. Recognizing that “they don’t get this, lets discuss this” and having trust that we can get through difficult conversations. Or as Charity Stratos shared, being okay with “healthy conflict to find new common ground.”
Dan Wieden added “we are more powerful when diverse.”
The best way to solve a problem is when there are multiple perspectives in the room. Diversity is the best thing that can happen to creativity.
To put this into perspective, Kat Gordon asked the audience: “We see 3,000 ads a day that shape how we see things in all facets of life. Do we want it to come from one perspective or do we want it to be representative of America?”