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Agencies 4 Growth Festival Logo

The teacher: Beyond the Brief featuring Chavonne Hodges, McCann

Chavonne Hodges, McCann’s learning and development associate

A moment of smile-inducing joy for McCann’s learning and development associate Chavonne Hodges: vigorous mountain climber routines to the tune of Migos.

The young Queens, NY native spends her 9-to-5 educating McCann’s leadership on best practices and global learnings, fusing insights from external vendors and the agency’s own directors to create and coordinate executive development programs. In short, she’s one of the agency’s top teachers — a skill she takes outside of the office as founder of TrapAerobics, fitness classes injected with hard-hitting rap and hip-hop. This 5-to-9 hustle helps her sweat away the stress of our high-paced industry and others find an inventive way to get in great physical (and mental) shape.

TrapAerobics (a part of her fitness lifestyle project, Grillz and Granola) combines Hodges’ love for educating, with passions for diversity and mental health. A champion for such topics since her early days working for the One Club, her fresh, insightful voice has graced blogs, podcasts and outlets such as The Girl Mob and BlackFitnessToday. These side hustles also give her an opportunity to add a little more color (and sometimes spandex) to stock photography, a space where diverse faces are sorely under-utilized.

Her unique skill set has allowed her to organize major industry, build strategy for McCann’s top execs, and connect some of the industry’s greatest — and (amazingly), still finds the time to brighten up a room with fitness truths for young hustlers, to get their “money longer, cores stronger.”

Hodges is one of a group of this industry’s risers, combining dot-connecting, jack-jumping, and clean-eating to live a life beyond the brief.

If your boss sent you to a desert island for a week and could only take three things with you, what would they be?

I would probably bring some sunscreen, music, and a bouncy house. I just want to chill, but have a comfy place to sleep. One week off the grid would be put me at ease.

What skill/personality do you have that draws colleagues to you?

To be semi-scientific about it, I'm an INFJ personality type. It's the rarest personality type on earth. I like to advocate for other people, but I'm also very intuitive, open-minded and good at connecting the dots. I think these three characteristics have helped me connect with people and connect people to other people. In turn, I have a close network of people who can vouch for my work and integrity.

What is the least pleasant aspect of your job, and why?

RFPs and purchase orders are a pain. Administrative tasks tend to bore me in general.

What’s your passion outside of advertising?

I like teaching my TrapAerobics class and making fitness stock images with my friends. TrapAerobics helps me keep my mental health in check, and the stock images are a great way for me to learn new skills, be more creative, and make my mark on the world.

Where was the last place you traveled to? What did you learn from that trip?

Bangkok and Phuket in Thailand. Ten days in Asia taught me a lot about how the perception of black people in more homogeneous countries, the importance of human connection and the privilege that comes with knowing English.

Where is your happy place/space?

The beach. It's the only place that I can experience all five senses and not feel overwhelmed. I don't even need to be in the water, I just like love sitting on sand with a journal and being present.

To celebrate its 100th Anniversary, the 4A’s has partnered with us at The Drum to pull back the curtain and look at an industry full of problem solvers, creative types and analytical minds. But what keeps them going once the briefs are written, the campaigns executed, and the pitches won (or lost)? We’re interviewing 100 people at 4A’s member agencies — across all disciplines, levels, regions, and agency types — to get a glimpse into what drives them at work and what fuels them in life.

See the industry pros we're featuring here.

To pitch someone from a 4A's member agency for Beyond the Brief, please complete this linked form.

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