Angie Wojak, director of Career Development at SVA, recently attended the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in France where she was invited to speak on a panel entitled “Navigating Creative Career Choices.” The Cannes Lions is the world’s biggest annual awards show and festival for professionals in the creative communications industry, and Wojak was joined on the panel by top talent management and career development professionals including Zach Canfield of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners; Britt Hayes of JWT New York; Sasha Martens, creative recruiter and president of Sasha the Mensch; and Reinier Steures, strategy director and partner, Natwerk, and founder RA*W. Collectively, the panelists have nurtured, trained, hired and placed hundreds of creatives and creative leaders in the fields of advertising and design at all levels. The panel shared their perspectives on topics including preparing for a career in the advertising world, skill development, hiring in creative, navigating job changes and the movement of talent internationally.
More than 250 speakers, from industry superstars and thought leaders to celebrity icons, spoke at the festival and shared their insights on driving the communications industry forward. The festival included: Patrick Stewart speaking on his use of Twitter to promote his Broadway play and expand his career into comedic roles, Joanna Coles (editor-in-chief of Cosmo) interviewing Sarah Jessica Parker on her television and film career, and Jeffrey Katzenberg speaking about how DreamWorks Animation is utilizing YouTube to help build communities of passionate and engaged fans. Wojak shared that a highlight of the festival was having the opportunity to meet Katzenberg. “I had the chance to tell Mr. Katzenberg that two recent SVA alumni were absolutely thrilled to have been hired at DreamWorks animation. It was a wonderful opportunity to share how enthusiastic we are to work with DreamWorks,” she said.
A major theme of the festival was the power of storytelling. Wojak had the opportunity to meet several master storytellers featured on festival panels including Gale Anne Hurd (Walking Dead, Aliens) and Steven Moffet (Doctor Who, Sherlock). Cannes also offered a Young Lions Storytelling Academy, a series of workshops focused on the art and craft of storytelling and the positive impact it can have on brands. The Academy brought together storytellers from the worlds of creative, film and music to share their experiences with a new generation of storytellers. “The festival’s learning opportunities for emerging professionals was truly inspiring,” Wojak said. “I spoke to several young communications professionals who told me that the Young Lions programming had deepened their insight into the industry and greatly inspired them.”
Wojak also mentioned that the festival is an ideal place to network with industry. Over 12,000 people from 94 countries engage in networking opportunities in addition to competing for awards. “I had the chance to meet with recruiters from around the world who are seeking talent for their ad agencies, film companies, and design firms,” Wojak said. “It was fantastic to speak with recruiters from prominent companies in Tokyo and Paris and to be able to talk about connecting them with SVA talent.”