The World's Most Creative Women: Lucie Cardona, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

Lucie Cardona of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

In a continuing drive for greater diversity and inclusion in marketing and advertising, a new feature by The Drum highlights conversations with top creative women in the industry.

All were nominated for The Drum’s global Woman of the Year award at The Drum Creative Awards, sponsored by Facebook, One Minute Briefs and in partnership with Creative Equals. The award is designed to push equality boundaries within the creative industry to spark discussion and action.

From icons and pioneers to prominent creative directors and designers, we asked each of them how diversity creates better work, the positive changes the industry can make, what keeps these creatives going in an ever-changing world and how greater diversity can grow the business.

This series will reveal more of The Drum's Creative Women over the next few weeks.

Today, we speak to Lucie Cardona, director of corporate communications, PR & reputation management at Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group.

From your experience and point of view, how does a more diverse creative team create better work? What have been some examples of that in action?

In an international business environment, creativity is about relevance. Without this, you don’t get to turn your idea or creative concept into reality. For a creative campaign to be successful and to have a real impact in our global world, it needs to be unique and inventive but, most of all, it has to resonate with people. So you need to understand your audience, their context, and how your work is relevant to them.

A more diverse creative team is an invaluable asset to get a window into different cultural, linguistic, generational, gender, historic and religious backgrounds and sensibilities. Immersing yourself in different views and idea that come from different contexts opens your mind and gives reason to question the way things have always been done.

I have the privilege of working with a global hotel company – Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group – and working across teams in Europe, the US, and Asia Pacific region. This gives me exposure to completely different ways of working and thinking and allows diverse input on campaigns. It is an incredible experience that results in higher levels of awareness and creativity.

How are the conversations around creativity, and specific work/projects, different with a more gender balanced team?

I believe that our industry has made great progress in terms of gender equality even if I would love to see more women CEOs and on boards. I find that sometimes the male/female gender debate can become polarised and counterproductive, and should be more focused on true equality and diversity. When the best person gets the job or the promotion, no matter who they are, and when everyone feels supported and safe to voice their ideas and opinions, then creativity grows.

In a more gender balanced team, you are more likely to tackle some of the stereotypes that men and women might not have even realized. Let’s take one example of the output that from the creative industry: ads for detergents, where there are only women and children, this is gender role stereotyping and imbalance at its finest. I can’t help thinking of Peggy Olson from Mad Men, whose first ‘big’ responsibility was to work on campaigns for lipstick and weight loss products (the so called ‘girly products’). If you are familiar with the series, you’ll know that the best storyline within it is Peggy’s evolution as she lets go of who she is supposed to be, sheds the gender stereotypes, takes charge of her career, and becomes a valuable contributor to creative work.

What changes around inclusion should the entire industry embrace today?

I would say transparency in wages and bonuses is crucial to equality; but also giving men the same ‘rights’ as women (we should encourage flexibility in terms of part-time hours, home office and parental leave for all parents, not only mothers). Women shouldn’t have to sacrifice their career because the rules don’t fit.

I also think that it is important for awards – such as the Drum’s Creative Woman of the Year Award – to recognise women who contribute to the industry. One day we may only need one award for all, but until women are properly recognised and given equal opportunities in industry, we need to make the extra effort to raise the profiles of women who excel.

With all of the issues women face in the creative sector, what keeps you in the industry?

I just LOVE it. No other industry is as fun, dynamic or, well, creative! It’s not a job that robots will ever be able to do, because real creativity comes from people.

As the well-known quote by author and civil rights leader, John Lewis, goes: “If not us, then who? If not now, then when?” So with all the challenges we face, we have to work hard, be present and keep our passion alive; I really don’t see any other option.

Will greater diversity in the industry ultimately save/grow it?

Yes! I am convinced of this. We have seen it in politics, and we are starting to see it in sports and many other fields. Diversity will grow the industry; brilliant people will save it!

The Drum Creative Awards puts creativity back in the spotlight and flies the flag for creativity during the digital revolution. These global awards are open to advertising agencies, design consultancies, digital agencies, production companies, marketing agencies, PR and more.

To register your interest for 2018, go to the event website.

This years awards were sponsored by: Facebook Creative Shop and One Minute Brief and partnered with: Creative Equals.

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