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By Doug Zanger | Americas Editor

June 26, 2017 | 3 min read

It’s not difficult to be inspired by Saturday Morning, the movement for peace founded after a spate of police shootings against African-Americans including Philando Castile, Alton Sterling and others.

Four leading, highly-respected African-American creative leaders — Geoff Edwards, co-head of creative at Creative Artists Agency (CAA), Keith Cartwright, executive creative director at Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners, Jayanta Jenkins, global group creative director at Twitter and Jimmy Smith, chairman and chief executive of Amusement Park Entertainment — met one Saturday morning in July 2016 as the original co-founders and have continually called for the creative industry to come together and act.

The Peace Brief, started by the group, serves as a place of optimism in spite of the challenges around diversity — and has galvanized the greater creative community. It allows anyone to submit ideas and hundreds of creatives, from legends to legends-in-the-making, have committed their support so far. The first brief: “The police and the community they serve — how do we reduce the violence?” is an invitation to gather ideas, solutions and creative ways to make positive impact on society.

Last week at Cannes Lions, Edwards, Cartwright and Jenkins took to the stage in a powerful presentation that shed light on their own stories — and how advertising and media relegated African-Americans into the “other” category.

(from left) Geoff Edwards, Jayanta Jenkins and Keith Cartwright at Cannes Lions

It was also another opportunity to talk about the Peace Brief, encourage the audience to take their own talents and gifts to contribute to the movement and share new commitments from brands such as P&G and Twitter. The latter brand launched a dedicated hashtag, #MakeDifferenceHappen, as a place to gather ideas.

After the presentation, The Drum asked each what they felt it takes to be a great creative.

For his part, Edwards believes that discomfort is a great enabler of creativity. In fact, he notes that the most important times of his career were the moments when he was least comfortable.

Cartwright further noted that one should never think of themselves as great in the first place — and that curiosity is a key attribute in being a strong creative. Asking questions of ones self — and stretching are crucial in staying fresh and relevant.

Curiosity is also a big one for Jenkins. Being empathetic and vulnerable also holds a great deal of weight as well — as does being timeless, having the ability to stand the test of time in an industry that is constantly changing.

See what other creative pros think it takes to be a great creative in our continuing series.

Career

Other episodes in the series

Episode 1

‘It’s about asking a lot of questions’: Deutsch’s Winston Binch on what it takes to be a great creative

The Drum recently caught up with Winston Binch, Deutsch North America’s chief digital officer, to find out what he thinks it takes to be a great creative.

Episode 2

‘Be a producer’: RPA’s Sarah Bates on what it takes to be a great creative

To Sarah Bates, creative director at RPA in Los Angeles, being weird is perfectly fine. In fact, it’s pretty normal and desirable — especially those “non sequitur adventures” that make a person interesting in a creative field.

Episode 3

‘Distill the brief’: The Mill’s Phil Crowe on what it takes to be a great creative

Are there bad briefs? That’s likely up for all kinds of debate but, to Phil Crowe, ECD of The Mill in Los Angeles, it’s less about the brief and more about the interpretation of the brief.

Episode 5

Lola MullenLowe Madrid's Pancho Cassis on what it takes to be a great creative: 'It's not about ideas anymore'

The Drum caught up with Pancho Cassis, executive creative director and copywriter at Lola MullenLowe Madrid, to find out what he thinks it takes to be a great creative.

Episode 6

Colle+McVoy’s Laura Fegley: 'Being a great creative is all about endurance'

Laura Fegley, ECD at Colle+McVoy in Minneapolis, treads a path of undeniable success.

Episode 7

‘Mind numbing patience’: Kirk Kelley, HouseSpecial CCO on what makes a great creative

Browsing through the work of Portland’s HouseSpecial can become a walk through a creative candy shop — starting with (pun kind of intended) iconic creativity for M&M's, including the well-received Candyman spot featuring Aloe Blacc and Zedd.

Episode 8

"Great creatives need a partner": OKRP leaders on becoming a great creative

What Does It Take To Be A Great Creative? is a video series that highlights the thinking of global creative leaders on specifics actions that can build a successful creative career in the industry. See what other creative leaders had to say in past episodes.

Episode 9

'Stick with your gut': Pereira & O'Dell's PJ Pereira on being a great creative

What Does It Take To Be A Great Creative? is a video series that highlights the thinking of global creative leaders on specifics actions that can build a successful creative career in the industry. See what other creative leaders had to say in past episodes.

Episode 10

Hunger, passion, curiosity: MullenLowe Singapore’s Shengjin Ang on being a great creative

What Does It Take To Be A Great Creative? is a video series that highlights the thinking of global creative leaders on specifics actions that can build a successful creative career in the industry. See what other creative leaders had to say in past episodes.

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