ADVICE FROM ALI HANAN, CREATIVE DIRECTOR AT BLIPPAR AND FOUNDER AT CREATIVE EQUALS

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we’re putting the spotlight on some of the most inspiring women in the creative industries on The Dots.

Next up, we have Ali Hanan who is the Founder of Creative Equals, an organisation that helps to take proactive steps toward gender diversity, and Creative Director at Blippar.
What does it mean to you to be female and in the creative industries?

Everything. I’m truly passionate about this industry – and I want more women to be part of it. That’s why I set up Creative Equals so more female creative talent can find pathways to success – and critical leadership roles. Over the years, I’ve been frustrated with the lack of gender diversity. When I worked at RAPP, my partner (female) and I were just two out of 22 Creative Directors in Europe. When she went for an Executive Creative Director job last year, there were 60 CVs. Just two were female. So we need an action plan for change. For me, this industry is the most satisfying way to be creative, to work with other talented skills (tech, UX, design), explore the boundaries of innovation, develop meaningful brands – oh, and get paid.

Do you have words of wisdom for other women looking to break into the industry?

Like a good athlete, flex your creative muscles every day. Hone your skills, perfect your craft, and sharpen up your book until you think it’s perfect. Then, collect feedback from Creative Directors and Executive Creative Directors, and refine, refine, refine. Even now, I’m always learning, so think you’re always in ‘beta’. But, network your socks off. Woody Allen once said 80% of success is showing up. So if there’s a book crit, go. If you see a SheSays event, go. Be seen, get noticed, put yourself forward.

Who is your all time female creative icon?

I have three. Is that allowed? Laura Jordan-Bambach (SheSays Founder, Creative Partner at Mr President who must clone herself. She is so in demand. She ‘does’, she doesn’t just talk. Second, Caitlin Ryan (ECD at Cheil) – her campaigns are sharp; she is an inspired speaker. Lastly, Diana Janicki, my art director partner, now Executive Creative Director at TBWA-Paling Waters. She is fearless and her work is on point, always.

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