D&AD announce the 2012 Executive election shortlist

D&AD have announced the shortlist for the 2012 Exec today and I’m privileged enough to be there (with my good friends Flo, Andy and Gary).

I’m super-keen, having worked closely with the D&AD for so long. Although the voting is open only to D&AD members, I thought I’d post my application questions here:

Indicate your key areas of interest in the creative industries and how you want to support D&AD’s aims and ambitions:
D&AD is at its heart a charity that supports the industry I love; but one that does so by inspiring us all to do better, to be more creative and more daring with our own work. One that helps us to look outside our own discipline and country borders to new sources of creative excellence, and one that nurtures talent, regardless of whether that talent is a keen student or someone at the peak of their creative endeavours.These are the same principles which I apply to my own work, both as a Creative Director and as an active leader in the creative community.D&AD is known for representing creative excellence, but as a member of D&AD Executive I would also work with other members and take practical steps to strengthen D&ADs supportive, inspirational and pioneering spirit.Of particular interest is the further growth and development of programmes such as New Blood to support our next generation of talent; creating more opportunities to grow the diversity of our membership from the ground up.

Finally, I want to collaborate with our current membership to reinvigorate the passion for D&AD; and make sure that we stay relevant for many years to come.

Why should I vote for you?:
I have always worked on the pioneering edge of the industry and have created my own success through hard work, collaboration and the determination to make things happen; taking action when I can see opportunities for positive change.Over the last 5 years we have grown SheSays organically, working with our members to create a dynamic organisation built to deliver actionable and effective results. By working with members to understand their needs and goals we have introduced new services and formats that are useful and popular.

We are constantly evolving, changing and growing in ways that are the most relevant to our membership. We have helped many women enter the difficult and unbalanced agency environment, have fundamentally changed the industry for the better, and made agency life more creatively diverse.D&AD has made great progress in the last few years in doing the same, for the most creative membership in the world.

I would honour and relish the chance to bring some of my dynamic energy and optimistic attitude to the Executive; and by working with our membership create opportunities for positive change within our organisation.

Any other comments or anything else you would like to add?
I have a long history of service and collaboration with the D&AD, and other organisations such as the IPA, and am always willing to roll up my sleeves to help make existing initiatives successful and create opportunities for new ones.D&AD is a dynamic organisation that can lead change globally within all areas of our working practice, which for most of us is also our passion and our life-blood.The White Pencil award, for which I am an ambassador, proves this.Becoming a D&AD Executive member is a role I would be proud to put my all into, giving equal weight and support to all professional areas of the organisation, and in particular focussing heavily on supporting the young designers and advertising creatives (and everything in-between) hoping to step into our fantastic creative industries.

Through hard work and a collaborative approach to change we can be a driving force in showing the next generation that they can get the same joy out of our ‘world’ as we have been fortunate enough to have.

Which piece of creative work do you wish you’d done and why?
It seems so strangely old-fashioned now, but Florian Heiss/HiReS!Work for the Donnie Darko website knocked me for six when I first saw it. I think I spent more time on that site than any other to this day (including Facebook). I think it’s a step ahead of their famous Requiem for a Dream site (which he’d done earlier the same year).At the time it was totally unconventional and absorbing – an intense emotional experience played out interactively with the (now) most rudimentary of technologies. Its still an incredible example of storytelling.

The video for Chemical Brothers Star Guitar, and the odd Fatboy Slim video also floats my boat. I’m more than a little addicted to good music videos. I’m excited to see how they’re going to evolve over the next year or two.

Who has inspired you most in your career?
I’ve been inspired by a great many people in my career – mostly the fantastic teachers and mentors I’ve had throughout my life. I wouldn’t have had the experiences I’ve had without some amazing people along the way.  In terms of influences on my work though, I’m much more inspired by art than by advertising, and feel strongly that you need to take your inspiration from outside of other people’s commercial work.Patricia Piccininni is amazing. She’s always played with the notion of the real, but has gone from simple digital pieces in the 1990s to some extraordinary films of late, like The Gathering (on YouTube).

I wish I’d made that. She creates that same friction between abject and mundane as David Lynch or old German expressionist films. And she’s a digitally-savvy Aussie lady that I grew up on the art scene with.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known at the start of your career?
When a piece of work doesn’t feel right, it’s not right. And if you don’t say anything it will always come back to bite you. Learning how to guide a brilliant piece of work from the initial idea into the finished product with your vision intact takes time, empathy (with the client, the audience and your team) and a lot of coaxing. It’s a skill that takes years to develop – but if you see a project going the wrong way it’s always the right thing to do to say so, even if you don’t yet have the experience to know exactly how to fix it.As a Creative Director, I think it’s imperative to foster an atmosphere of honesty and openness in my team. To let them know straight away if something’s not right and provide them with the confidence to do the same. You save a lot of time and make better work.

What has been the biggest challenge of your career so far?
The biggest challenge so far has been coming to London from Sydney, and landing in the middle of the dotcom crash. Watching a company and a large team of people that I had put my all in to, go under, was devastating.The following few years were definitely only for the love – but it has made everyone that went through it a lot wiser, with a strong sense of responsibility and better friends for it too I imagine.

I look back on those times now as the birth of a lot of wonderful new collaborations, and smile when I think that such great companies like POKE, glue and many more were fomed at that time. My creative partner and I both went through it, and it keeps us honest, always focussed on what’s right for our team not our ourselves.

Can you tell us about the best moment of your career so far?
I’ve had many proud moments as a Creative, from being on stage at the 2009 D&AD President’s Lecture to the launch of some great pieces of work. However winning the New Media Age “Greatest Individual Contribution to the Industry” award for my organisation SheSays has been the best moment of my career.What started out five years ago in response to the lack of women’s CVs I was seeing at glue is now a global network that has helped thousands of women with training, mentoring and providing role models. And of course helping them to get jobs. All in 12 cities in 8 countries and growing. It’s incredibly hard work, so the industry recognition has made this a particularly sweet award to win.

Recommend a book, a film and an artist that you think every creative should experience?
FILM:Stalker – Andrei Tarkovsky (for when you need a transformative experience)Blood of a Poet by Jean Cocteau (for late at night with a bottle of wine)Tampopo by Jûzô Itami (for a transformative experience, late at night with a bottle of wine when you need cheering up)


A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami. Or 5 Bells by Kenneth Slessor.


A classic but a goodie – I love Joseph Beuys – his experiences and the raw transformative power of his art are incredible.

Chemical Brothers -Star Guitar:

Fatboy Slim – Weapon of Choice:

Fatboy Slim – Praise to You:

Jean Cocteau – Blood of a Poet:


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