7 inspiring creative women on International Women’s Day 2017

7 inspiring creative women on International Women’s Day 2017

As part of the research for my book on creativity in business, In Your Creative Element I deliberately sought out to include as many female voices as I could on the topic of creativity. I spoke to the amazing Jackie Lynton, a pioneer for change in the NHS, Dr Sara Jones, Course Director of the MICL, at Cass Business School, Cindy Gallop, founder of makelovenotporn.com, who of course is calling out sexism across the advertising industry, Vicky Maguire, award-winning Executive Creative Director at Grey London and many others. I also read widely books by women and female academics working in the field including the amazing Margaret Boden and Theresa Amabile. Below are some of their opinions on the topic of creativity which I’m sharing in honour of International Women’s Day 2017. The theme this year is #BeBoldForChange, a brilliant rallying cry for women in the creative industries who are still woefully underrepresented.

On belief

“Are you considering becoming a creative person? Too late, you already are one. To even call somebody “a creative person” is almost laughably redundant; creativity is the hallmark of our species. If you’re alive, you’re a creative person.” Author Elizabeth Gilbert, 2015

On confidence

“In our business, you have to believe that a ‘no’ is just a ‘yes’ waiting to happen. If I don’t succeed this time, what can I do differently or better to convince you this is the right path? You have to be relentless in this belief”. Wendy believes that to be resilient you also need to stand up to your inner critic – the voice in your head that makes you question yourself – often called ‘imposter syndrome’. Her advice: “you have to shut that bitch up! Have confidence that you’ve prepared, in every sense, for success in this moment.” Wendy Clark, Chief Executive Officer DDB North America, 2016, interviewed for In Your Creative Element

On values

“Everything in life and business starts with you and your values. This is as true for companies as it is for people. What are your values? What do you stand for? What do you believe you are about? That is what drives the type of CSR you should be taking. It should be a direct result of what business you operate or your personal values. When you adopt that route, you have the ability to bring a different approach and creativity in a way that can affect real change. The world really needs a whole lot more creativity applied to doing good”. Cindy Gallop, Founder, Makelovenotporn.com 2016 interviewed for In Your Creative Element

On purpose

“To reveal who you really are you have to show the ‘working out’ like a math’s exam; you don’t just give the answer. It’s in the working out you find the answers.” Jackie Lynton, Former Head of Transformation in the NHS, 2016 interviewed for In Your Creative Element

On culture

“I think every brand should examine their role within culture. If they have the means to do something good for society they should be encouraged.” “I don’t buy jumping on the bandwagon. I think consumers can spot self service masquerading as social good a mile off. A car marque with a social conscience could easily fall into that category but Volvo are special. Their social purpose is at the heart of company. They have a company vision ‘no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo by 2020.’ That’s an incredibly powerful statement for a car manufacturer to make. But these are the guys who invented the safely belt then opened up the intellectual property for every manufacturer to use. So Life Paint, the invisible/visible reflective spray for cyclists is right up Volvo’s street. It took safety out of the car and onto the road. Sure, no one wants to die behind the wheel, but you don’t want to kill anyone either. Life Paint is now sold in over 500 dealerships and independent bike shops around the country. We’ve sold half a million cans to date”  Vicky Maguire, Executive Creative Director at Grey London, 2016, interviewed for In Your Creative Element

On risk

“No matter what your risk threshold, whether on a bike or as a leader of your business, you have to go outside your comfort zone if you want to go to interesting places and accomplish extraordinary things. The reality is, most risks don’t require the death-defying acts we see in extreme sports. They require courage to go somewhere new, but the wisdom to go there in the right way. When courage and wisdom align, we give ourselves a chance to innovative and make the risks we take pay off for us and our teams.” Elise Mitchell, Leading Through The Turn 2017

On creativity itself

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” Maya Angelou

International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.


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