The Drum’s 50 Under 30: outstanding women in creative and digital, part 2

50 under 30

The Drum’s 50 Under 30 for 2019 celebrates the world’s highest achieving women in creative and digital under the age of 30. This year, we present our first ever global edition of the 50 Under 30 after asking our readers around the world to nominate the talent they most admire.

Below, you'll find the second set of inductees to this year's list. We’ll reveal who’ll be joining them in a series of articles published on thedrum.com each day this week. Make sure you don’t miss them by registering for our daily newsletters.

And if you haven't read part one yet, catch up here.

Brittany Lewis, digital and social editor, 72andSunny

72andSunny’s Brittany Lewis was responsible for relaunching the agency’s global content strategy, increasing the agency’s social reach and following by combining cultural trends, client work and agency life. LA-based Lewis has proven herself a capable strategist and creator in her own right, producing initiatives such as a photo installation for International Women’s Day and a global activation with Giphy for High Five Day.

What advice would you give to someone starting in the industry today?

I did not come from an advertising background. So to me, the most important thing is the hustle. No matter what your background is in, if you are starting in the industry today make sure work hard and always keep a learner's mentality.

Which industry figure do you most look up to?

Evin Shutt. She actually started her career as a teacher at Watts before becoming 72andSunny's first employee 15 years ago. She changed her career path in order to make awesome creative work. She has since worked her way up to be 72andSunny's chief operating officer and partner. Not only is she smart, caring and down to earth, but she is also kind. No matter who you are she will always take the time to get to know you and connect on a human level because she knows the key to a great company is its people.

What keeps you awake at night?

Doodling. I love combining digital art with photography and could honestly stay up all night going to town on my iPad. It is almost a form of meditation for me. *Shameless plug – @blewsteel.

Carly Andersen, director of integrated strategy, Bleacher Report

As director of integrated strategy at sports publishing brand Bleacher Report (BR), New York-based Carly Andersen works to develop partnership opportunities between brands like Uefa Champions League, the Fifa Women’s World Cup and Spotify and BR’s football vertical. A rising star in BR’s branded marketing department, she helped to triple its Instagram following.

What's one thing you would do to change the industry for the better?

I'd love to see our industry continue to push for innovative content around subject matters that deeply resonate with people. Video content has the ability to tell meaningful stories in a multi-sensory way, creating a lasting impact and I'd love to see publishers prioritize the stories that have the potential to change people's lives for the better. A few of the subjects that that appeal to me on a personal level include mental health awareness and inspiring narratives of women in sports, science and business.

How do you switch off from work?

I switch off from work by spending quality time with my friends and family. I'm also an avid TV and sports watcher, podcast listener, and recent audiobook lover of all things that help me unwind. The benefit of being able to do something I truly love, is never feeling the need to fully 'switch off'. This job is a genuine passion of mine that brings me joy and fulfillment, and I find happiness in thinking about work-related subjects off the clock because it's just a part of me.

Where do you go for creative inspiration?

I love New York City. And even after almost nine years here, I never get tired of exploring, or drawing creative inspiration from our people and our places. When I'm looking to get inspired, I'll go for a long walk through a new neighborhood, or go sit by myself at the bar of a restaurant I've never been to. Eating alone makes me feel like a tourist in my own city, which I very much enjoy.

Stephanie Linker, head of digital marketing, Asia Pacific, BlackRock

In seven years at BlackRock, Stephanie Linker has risen from analyst to director to head of digital marketing for APAC. Following the move to Hong Kong she built a team responsible for product management, design, growth marketing, content, marketing capabilities and analytics across the region.

If you had an extra hour in the day, how would you spend it?

Living in Asia while working on a global team means there are a lot of evening and morning calls, so I've often thought about how nice an extra hour in the day would be to fit in some more exercise and relaxation. Specifically, I get energy by exploring Hong Kong's beautiful beaches and trails, often while spending time with friends locally or catching up with family and friends who are back in the US.

Where do you do your best work?

I often find myself on planes, whether heading to another office or taking advantage of all the great travel options in Asia Pacific, and I've come to do some of my best thinking there. But, on a day to day basis I genuinely enjoy my seat in our office. I have a view of the very lush Hong Kong Park and sit in an open floorplan alongside my awesome team, which has fostered great collaboration and team morale.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Shortly after moving to Hong Kong, I expressed some concerns to a mentor about trying to make an impact without stepping on any toes, in a region where I didn't know anyone and had tons to learn. She promptly said "Stephanie, you've been given a seat at the table. Take it!" It was advice l really needed at the time and a wakeup call, and it's something I still remind myself from time to time if I'm feeling discouraged. I stopped worrying about how things used to operate, and instead focused on trying to craft the right strategy and execute.

Margot Hauer-King, strategic partnership director, WPP

London-based Margot Hauer-King works at the heart of WPP, as one of the founding members of its strategic technology team. As global partnerships lead, she helps to drive WPP’s relationship with Google, finding new connections and opportunities between the advertising giants. Passionate about technology, Hauer-King also aims to inspire other young women in tech.

How would you explain what you do to a taxi driver?

I'm a matchmaker. A midfielder. A middle child. A yenta (if he's a Jewish taxi driver, and speaks Yiddish). My job is to speak to everyone, understand their needs, and find where their needs overlap. I work at WPP, a company that helps the world's biggest brands tell their stories and sell their products to people. And I work with Google, a company that made the internet famous and changes more quickly then the traffic lights at Picadilly Circus. I matchmake between these two companies, spotting opportunities, creating value, and connecting smart people with good ideas.

What book should everyone in the industry read?

Perfect Pitch by Jon Steel. It tells a story of communication that transcends agency roles, industry trends, clients, and competition. It is a charter for the power of storytelling: and helped me understand what I love to do in life, and wanted to do in work. Steel's book articulates the value of what we do in a way that creates profound flexibility. It's not the specific job, it's the (dare I say it) existential desire to communicate and convince and create.

What advice would you give to someone starting in the industry today?

Turn to the first pages of Margaret Atwood's novel The Handmaid's Tale, and read: "Where did we learn it, that talent for insatiability". Be insatiable: stubbornly curious. Go on an unlimited listening tour and speak to everyone in the industry. Our industry is wonderfully amorphous at the moment, and you should see and understand as much of it as you can. (And never forget to say thank you for every piece of information or wisdom or access that you're given. Be generous with your gratitude, and generosity will come back to you.)

Savena Surana, brand strategist, Bright Little Labs

Not only the brand strategist for award-winning ed tech startup Bright Little Labs at just 23, London-based Savena Surana is also the co-founder of Identity 2.0, a project that explores digital identity. Surana is passionate about the importance of accessibility and representation in the creative and tech industries, and recently spoke at BBC Studios about her own experiences in the industry.

What brand would you love to work on?

Patagonia, and its revolutionary approach to the workplace, is something that I truly admire. I would have loved to have been part of the brand during the 1980s. It was one of the first workplaces to introduce a creche and devote resources to having an ethical supply chain. This didn't compromise their innovation and instead propelled them forward. They truly embodied their values, internally and externally, and were more successful as a result.

What was your route into the industry?

Working at a startup has given me the chance to be flexible and find out what I am passionate about. I've been able to work broadly across the company, from compliance to operations. Now, as the company grows, I have been given the chance to specialise in what I am passionate about. For me, marketing allows me to get even more people excited about the amazing products we make, while also ensuring that we live and breathe the values that lie at the core of the company.

How do you switch off from work?

In my spare time I run a creative art project called Identity 2.0 – it's all about empowering individuals to explore their digital identities. I started it with a friend, when we were equally angry about the Cambridge Analytica scandal and our powerlessness about the data we were giving away online. So far, we've run a pilot exhibition at Soho House and we're now looking to work with more creatives! Oh, and I am also a big Mario Kart player and love watching documentaries about space.

Sophie Tanner, marketing manager, The Business of Fashion

London-based Sophie Tanner is marketing manager at The Business of Fashion. Until recently, she was at Reuters News Agency where she rose from the role of marketing specialist to senior manager of global marketing campaigns. In her former role she helped to launch a flagship product (Reuters Connect) and negotiated and executed partnerships showcasing Reuters’ content corpus with Tate Britain.

Where do you do your best work?

An environment where the principles of innovation and entrepreneurialism are a state of mind, coupled with the ambition to have a profound impact on the way the world thinks, works, interacts and behaves. Where a clear strategy and vision guides the evolution of marketing best practice and there's unexploited opportunity to leverage marketing, product, data and technology to scale transformative campaigns and achieve a challenging commercial objective. A home to a diverse range of marketers, entrepreneurs and creatives who want to own the next horizon of marketing and have the passion, focus and commitment to cultivate and deliver it together.

If you had an extra hour in the day, how would you spend it?

I frequently crave that extra hour to explore a side project, learn a new skill, or to further help others. As a champion that supports young talent, I believe that an extra hour would be best spent dedicated to helping them. I would like to start my own 'Power Hour' so that anyone can book time with me to discuss anything from furthering their education and getting into the workplace, to managing their mental health or controlling their personal financials. Even a window as small as this could have a lasting positive impact on their physical, social and emotional wellness.

What’s your favourite ad?

BMW's classy tribute to former Mercedes CEO, Dieter Zetsche. The video is a fitting tribute from a historic rival with an appropriate amount of respectful, good natured humour. It's great marketing, as it elevates both Mercedes and then puts BMW on a pedestal above their main competition. While simple, the video speaks volumes and has proven to be incredibly effective. The ROI for this type of content goes beyond sales.

Molly Sweeney, programmatic trading manager, Havas Media

Illinois’ Molly Sweeney has transformed OppenheimerFund’s programmatic offering in the last year, introducing PMP, mobile, video and podcast advertising. As well as her work on Oppenheimer, Molly works with brands such as Dish and Frye Boots on campaign execution and optimization. She sits on the Havas Programmatic Board, helping to promote best practice around programmatic across the group.

How would you explain what you do to a taxi driver?

I work in digital media, specifically within the digital ad space of buying and selling ads. Like stock traders trade stocks, I trade ad space, and it all happens in the milliseconds for a web page to load. They usually respond, "so you annoy me with pop up ads of things I don't need?" I continue, advertisements will be served to you in some way everyday of your life. Would you rather see an ad for something that is relevant to you or one that is totally unrelated? My job is to make the advertisement experience meaningful to the consumer.

What advice would you give to someone starting in the industry today?

After guest speaking for a marketing lecture at DePaul, multiple students asked me this exact question. I said, wherever you begin your career, it's important to take learnings into your own hands. It should be hard work; don't sit back and expect learning opportunities to fall on your lap. You need to get uncomfortable. No one ever succeeded by being complacent and staying in their comfort zone. Push your boundaries and put yourself out there. By doing this, you'll learn what you do and don't enjoy, and what your career goals are that you want to work toward.

Which industry figure do you most look up to?

I most look up to a woman named Catherine Williams, chief data and marketplace officer at AppNexus. Like me, Catherine has a BS in Mathematics. She furthered her education and is now the only female on the executive team for a top tech company. Catherine is known for cultivating a welcoming and balanced atmosphere where everyone feels safe to ask any question, something that I also aim to do as a manager. She's incredibly intelligent, empowers other women in the technology field, and proves how successful a woman can be in a competitive male environment.

Katherine Tiambeng, copywriter, Anomaly

Katie Tiambeng is a copywriter at Anomaly New York working on clients such as Carnival, Reese's, New York Life, Panera Bread, Beautyrest, and Anomaly's Women's History Month. Beyond her work as a creative, Tiambeng gives back to her community as a mentor and team member of the Women Who Create program.

What brand could you not live without?

Community Coffee. I grew up in New Orleans, so even though I don't live there anymore, having it on hand makes anywhere feel like home.

What’s your favourite ad?

It has to be the 'If You Let Me Play' Nike campaign. That campaign shows that copy can be a lot more than just copy.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

"Keep an extra pair of clothes in your office drawer." I spill coffee a lot. Having a spare T-shirt at all times has changed my life.

Sumeera Doonga, affiliates and partnerships manager, Asos

Heading up affiliates and partnerships for Asos’ European team has seen Sumeera Doonga manage activity in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg and Scandinavia. Passionate about sustainable shopping, she represents the performance marketing team in sustainability workshops and leads involvements in how to bring the importance of sustainability to affiliates.

What's one thing would you do to change the industry for the better?

The digital industry is far more influential than it is credited for and has the capacity to be used further to create real world differences for positive change. I would change the way in which we manage our influence. With the tools we use every day, I would like to spread awareness of creating a more sustainable lifestyle. This can be applied to businesses within all sectors and it is up to us to keep the conversation going in everything that we do. It's about actions and not just words so we must bring influential messaging into everyday marketing.

How do you switch off from work?

Switching off from work isn't always the easiest thing, especially if you love what you do. It's bound to be on your mind all the time. I have a long commute and try not to make it part of my working day so I usually dive into a crime-thriller and delve into a whole new world. I enjoy travelling to see historical sites. With so many astonishing, man-made historical sites and wonders spreading over thousands of years of human history, we have created the most amazing things. It always helps me open my eyes and see the bigger picture.

Where do you go for inspiration?

I don't necessary go to a physical place for inspiration, rather I spend time with my peers, colleagues, friends and family for creative inspiration. The more people, the more opinions, different age groups and interests help spark new ideas and is a great creativity trigger for me! Inspiration doesn't come to me like a flash of lightning, it's more a case of grafting to find that inspiration. Fortunately, now that we have the internet, resources are limitless. Books, TED talks, podcasts and case studies all inspire me - and lucky for me they are never too far away.

Busra Demirci, experience design lead, Fantasy

Busra Demirci is a designer with a head for science and humanity – she’s worked with both Nasa on its use of AR and VR technology and the Electronic Health Record Association (EHRA) to help improve healthcare UX. At Fantasy, Florida-based Demirci works to create innovation products for clients such as Royal Caribbean, Marc Jacobs and Samsung.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry?

Make sure that you are never the smartest person in the room. Learning and growing is about making mistakes and absorbing new and creative ideas from individuals who are seasoned in their roles. Your mentors don't have to be in your industry, learning from cross-functional people will give you wings that foster new perspectives and allow you to exponentially grow in holistic ways that couldn't otherwise be possible.

What book should everyone in the industry read?

Design is Storytelling by Ellen Lupton. Beyond the aesthetics and tertiary elements of design, creativity is ultimately the bone that supports the skin which everyone sees. The online and offline journeys of people who interact with the solutions we create are connected through the stories we tell and the touchpoints we build. Ellen does a great job of breaking that down and exposing the layers of design thinking.

What keeps you awake at night?

I am constantly thinking about creative solutions that I may have encountered throughout my day for a variety of exciting design challenges. What is a way I could fix this? How could I make a meaningful impact? I always think about the next step and how we can go beyond the status quo, to hopefully have those 'aha' moments. Often, I'll stay up just working through something from the day and can't rest until I've found the best solution to get it out of my system.

You can view the first 10 women inducted into this year's 50 Under 30 here. If you're interested in learning more about The Drum's 50 Under 30, contact Lauren McCreath at lauren.mccreath@thedrum.com.

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