Being a Woman in the Ad World - A Recap of 2020 See It Be It Africa



Modeled after the Cannes Lions See It Be It initiative, the See It Be It Africa sessions are specially targeted at women in the African creative industry, with the aim of addressing the gender imbalance in senior creative leadership, and building the skills and confidence of women who are seeking to get to the top of the career ladder.

Prospective attendees for See It Be It are usually screened and selected based on laid-down criteria, but because this year's event was held online, the See It Be It Africa sessions were made open to all interested participants.

This year's See It Be It Africa programme held on the 2nd of July 2020, and consisted of two panel sessions.


HOW CAN DIVERSITY IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF STORYTELLING?

This began with a brief explanation of the origin, aims and objectives of See It Be It Africa by Adebola Adebulugbe, Creative Team Lead at Leo Burnett and Cannes Lions See It Be It alumni.

Then, with decades worth of experience to draw from, the other panelists discussed the advantages of diversity in creative environments, the conflicts that come with differences in gender, age, and personality type, and how to overcome them to achieve more harmony in the midst of diversity .

Terrific presentation. As a UK born male and former CD in Lagos at Lowe and LTC JWT, I found "the creative challenge of being a Women in the Lagos ad scene" highly absorbing. Nnenna (YBR) put it well when she said, "Its a journey to find your voice, thats then passed on, to grow with the next gen..." A special Shout Out for Dara Atewologun. I was well impressed with her monitoring and friendly summing up skills. Well done to all.

The discussion also touched on the difficulties women face while working in male-dominated spaces in the creative industry. The panelists warned that for most women the journey to the top would not be an easy one, and that sometimes they would have to fight to be heard.

“The fight will come, and it may look like it will never be resolved, but it is part of the business,” said Jayne Okoronkwo. “Expect it, prepare for it, but don’t lose your head. You will also get over it, and you will tell your own story soon.”

They also urged women creatives to find their voice, strive to make significant contributions in whatever capacity they occupy, and diversify their experiences in order to produce richer, more valuable work.

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STRIKING A BALANCE BETWEEN MERITOCRACY AND GENDER INCLUSIVENESS

This was the second and final See It Be It panel.

From their own experiences, the panelists agreed that the upper strata of the creative industry are still male-dominated. But they also argued that women who dedicate themselves to honing their skills will definitely get to the top, even though they will find it a little tougher than their male counterparts. They agreed that if senior women in the creative industry were more approachable, and did more to mentor younger ones, it would go a long way in helping the young women move up the ranks.

The panelists also deliberated extensively on the importance of gender inclusiveness in the creative industry. To further clarify the term, Biodun Adefila said, “This is not about women looking for favours or handouts, but about giving women with equally valuable skills the opportunity to be relevant in the industry.”

The panelists also advised women not to rely only on their conventional school degrees, but to build merit through internships, online courses, and other skill-boosting opportunities.

"No one is responsible for your career but you, so you have to find your own voice," Ngozi Nkwoji said in conclusion

And that wrapped up the See It Be It Africa programme for the year 2020.

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REACTIONS


"Terrific presentation. As a UK born male and former CD in Lagos at Lowe and LTC JWT, I found "the creative challenge of being a Woman in the Lagos ad scene" highly absorbing. Nnenna (YBR) put it well when she said, "Its a journey to find your voice, that's then passed on, to grow with the next gen..." A special Shout Out for Dara Atewologun. I was well impressed with her monitoring and friendly summing up skills. Well done to all." - Colin Morris, South Africa


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