The World's Most Creative Women: Margaret Johnson, Goodby Silverstein & Partners

Margaret Johnson at 3% Conference in NYC / Bronac McNeill Photography & Film

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 Margaret Johnson, chief creative officer and partner at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners.

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?

I like having different perspectives on things. It leads to richer, more interesting ideas. The guy-and-girl creative team behind 'Unacceptable Acceptance Letters' was key to coming up with a campaign that resonated with everyone entering college, not just women.

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

You argue, push back and challenge each other. When we did the Women’s March bags for Stacy’s Pita Chips we had a female writer work with a male art director. That yin and yang lead us to work that resonates with both women and men. I believe this is how we move the world forward.

What changes around inclusion should the entire industry embrace today?

Make sure you’re inclusive when hiring for the most entry-level positions. Giving opportunities to and training people of all races, genders and backgrounds will only make the entire industry more interesting and the products we create more relevant to the people buying them.

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

I love making things. And this is one of these few industries that gives you the power to make things and have the whole world see them. Fortunately, I work in a place where half of our partner group are women, so gender disparity isn’t a daily issue.

I recently created a panel, 'Daughters of the Evolution,' where I brought together the daughters of industry leaders like Judy John, Kerstin Emhoff, Chloe Gottlieb and Pum Lefebure to discuss the future of creativity and advertising. The funny thing is, we found out that none our daughters want to go into advertising. My goal is to change that by creating a workplace where women can thrive and where diversity of thought enriches the creative process.

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

I’m so proud of what Kat Gordon has done to champion female creative leaders with the 3% Conference. When she started, only 3% of women were creative directors, and I read recently that number has shot up to 29%. I hope we can apply that same success and make this industry fully inclusive.

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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