The Drum’s 50 Under 30: outstanding women in creative and digital, part 4

50 under 30

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

Below, you'll find the fourth 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, part two and part three yet, catch up now.

Kate Peregrine, global head of social media, Dyson

In just three years at Dyson, Kate Peregrine has risen from the role of global commercial manager of personal care to be the global head of social media. In that time, UK-based Peregrine has progressed from managing low key campaigns to leading a new team and global function. As a result of her commitment to empowering her colleagues for positive change, Peregrine is also leader of the Lean In group that is now making steps towards gender equality in the workplace at Dyson.

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

I make sure that we are using social media properly and challenging ourselves to be truly different and stand out. My job includes everything and anything to do with social - whether that's helping a Dyson owner with a care issue, using social listening insights, bringing paid, owned and earned together or ensuring we're working with influencers in the right way. I identified a gap in the business and created a brand new social media function last August - I have a team at HQ and then lead a network of social media leads around the world.

Which industry figure do you most look up to?

Sarah Ellis - MD of Gravity Road. I first 'met' Sarah through her podcast series 'Amazing If' - I'm not sure I would have had the guts to create a role for myself and build a brand new function without those podcasts. Having now met her personally she is even more kick ass than I thought - running a huge agency whilst also building her personal empire, going into businesses to train them and running webinars in the evening - I'm not sure how the woman sleeps, yet she is one of the most calm and relaxed people I've met.

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

Make sure you invest time to really understand yourself as you go - learn quickly, fail fast and try as many things as you can so that you can identify what you truly enjoy. Marketing and digital in particular are vast areas and there are so many amazing things you can do - but it can be paralysing to figure out which direction to take. If you can make sure you're always identifying your strengths, weaknesses and what you like, it will really help you to navigate towards a fulfilling and exciting career full of different opportunities.

Clare Hines, group strategy director, Huge

Clare Hines has worked across 12 countries, from Vietnam to Mexico, and specialised in three disciplines: business, media and brand strategy. At GroupM APAC she sized market opportunities for brands like Nikon and L'Oreal, travelled America for Tyson's innovation pipeline while at Y&R and at Ogilvy she authored strategies that brought IBM's blockchain offerings to the market for the first time. She worked on ENDCAN to craft ways to stop companies defining women by their gender. Now based in Brooklyn, New York, she's concentrated on winning realtor.com, and her work on SK-II has changed how women experience beauty brands at point of sale.

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

I want an hour less. I want to see what falls by the wayside. What am I doing passively, absentmindedly, because I have the time? Zombie scrolling on Instagram? Wasting away in status meetings? More importantly, when push comes to shove, what do I prioritize? Then I'd apply those learnings to our normally scheduled 24-hour days, so I can be more active in the things that rose to the top. Like an elimination diet, but for time.

Where do you do your best work?

Anywhere where I'm not looking directly at the problem. Our brains are cool. They keep working after we've stopped asking them to. It happened this morning on the subway platform, waiting for the mythical G train. As I'm minding my own business, listening to Avicii's posthumous album, a insight strolls fully-formed through my mind: better investing has nothing to do with better investments. I've found that the collection of knowledge happens by looking into the void (or the box folder) but the crystallization of knowledge happens when you look away.

What brand could you not live without?

Barry's Bootcamp. Whenever I feel scared or lost or hit by a good old dose of imposter syndrome, I use one of the most powerful tools we have, our bodies, to remind myself that I am strong.

Emily McDonald, senior international partnerships manager, Refinery29

With extensive experience working across sales, creative strategy and account management roles, Emily McDonald is constantly challenging her clients on what it means to be relevant. By bringing brands from sectors like finance and tech into exciting spaces, she helps them to speak to a new generation of consumers. A graduate of WPP’s prestigious fellowship programme and based in London, McDonald has worked with an impressive list of leading brands including Adobe, Westfield, Liz Earle, Google, Sony, Made.com, Dr Martens, Rightmove and Puma.

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

Agencies and brands must push for more diverse consumer targeting. Too often I see brands wholly going for quick conversion based wins (gaming company targets millennial men) whilst sacrificing longer-term, commercially differentiating audiences (the rise in female gamers is growing far more steeply than men). Since working at R29 I've surprised many a marketing team with the fact finance is R29's best performing content on site, women make the decisions when picking a car and whisky is their #1 rising spirit of choice. By prioritising 'low hanging fruit' over test and learn audiences, disrupters will ultimately consume legacy brands.

What brand would you love to work on?

This would 100% be M&S! This brand has a really intriguing transformation opportunity across it's fashion vertical. As a twenty-something I'm obsessed with M&S fashion but it sometimes feels like a best kept secret. M&S need to balance speaking to loyal and maturing consumers whilst attracting new audiences too- which can end up feeling like an 'all things to all people' kind of messaging. I would love to dive into their strategy of how to foster aspiration and accessibility across these different audiences and work on a formula that puts M&S top of mind of mind amongst my peers!

How do you switch off from work?

Sport is my go-to. Whether it's netball, swimming, running or a combination of those three. I'm also obsessed with Interior design and in the process of buying my first house, which means I spend a lot of my time trawling the home section of Pinterest and screenshotting photos from Instagram. My friends and boyfriend are a huge part of my life and they kindly humour my love for hosting- which means we'll often have a full house for dinner and drinks (or more experimentally, a recent DIY bottomless brunch)

Sara Murali, associate director, digital experience, Saatchi & Saatchi

A constantly curious Brooklynite with a passion for innovative advertising and new media, Sara Murali already has six-plus years of experience in digital marketing-related roles under her belt. Murali is known throughout Saatchi NY for elevating work, bringing creative teams out of their comfort zones and challenging the status quo. She has lent her skills to campaigns such as Olay's 2019 #KillerSkin Super Bowl campaign and Walmart's 2018 Oscars Campaign and she leads the strategic approach on P&G's My Black is Beautiful platform.

Which industry figure do you most look up to?

I continue to be inspired by female execs like Jennifer Hyman and Sophia Amoruso - women that decided to totally shake up the industry and didn't care if people thought they were crazy or too young to lead. I'm also inspired by the female leadership at my own company, Saatchi NY. I realize not many young women get the opportunity to work under powerful female executives, and it's a shame. Andrea Diquez, our CEO, and Preeya Vyas, our CXO (who just happens to be my boss!) are just two of the women who inspire me on a daily basis.

What book should everyone in the industry read?

I can't pick just one! 1. How to Win Friends and Influence People - an oldie, but goodie. I read this book in college and the further I get in my career, the more applicable the lessons become. So much of success in business is built on the ability to network and form relationships. It doesn't come easy to everyone, but it's essential to learn. 2. So Good They Can't Ignore You - The lessons are crucial, especially early in your career. Skill is everything and you have to work your a** off in the beginning. Passion can always follow.

What keeps you awake at night?

Most people would probably say their to-do list, but unfortunately, I'm too right-brain for that. For me, it's probably the existential question, "Am I doing the right thing?" I think everyone my age goes through this stage in their career. Is this the right path? Am I in it for the long haul? I don't think anyone is expected to have all the answers, but I'm positive we will all figure it out along the way. That is probably what keeps me up most... well, that and the bodega cat that hangs out on my fire escape.

Vivian Lee, digital marketing executive, Harry’s

Vivian Lee got her first insight into the world of digital marketing in 2014 when she was selected as one of 30 university students across EMEA for Google's AdCamp programme in Dublin. After graduating, she worked as an investment banking analyst in London, before deciding to pursue a career in marketing. Vivian then joined Harry's as digital marketing executive in 2018, where within four months she in-housed and now manages all search and display marketing for Harry's direct-to-consumer business in the UK.

What’s your favourite ad?

I always look forward to the Christmas ads on TV, they get me so excited for the holiday season - thinking about all the food, presents, celebrations, spending time with family. I loved "The Big Night" by Sainsbury's last year - it was so heartwarming and all the kids were so cute, especially the one dressed as a plug! I'll be replaying the song this year...

What brand could you not live without?

I'm a skincare junkie, and The Ordinary is a holy grail in my routine. I'm obsessed with their clean, minimalist, science lab style packaging - my ever increasing number of The Ordinary bottles always looks impeccable on my beauty shelf. I love the brand and everything it stands for: simple, effective, and affordable skincare. As a marketer myself, I really admire how they've become such a household name in the skincare industry - without the paid marketing budgets that most brands need to accelerate their growth.

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

To celebrate my wins and achievements, even the ones that seem small. We're often so caught up in striving for more, to do better, that we forget the successes along the way. The best advice I've been given was to remember that a younger version of myself had dreamed of everything I've accomplished so far - and that even though I still (and will always) have bigger aspirations and goals that I want to work towards, I should be proud of where am today!

Sybil Ng, senior account manager, Quantcast

Despite joining Quantcast less than a year ago, Singapore-based Sybil Ng has landed with immediate impact, establishing client service practices that have been rolled out across APAC. She has recruited some of the region's best talent, provided mentorship to juniors and has built strong relationships with clients and colleagues alike - working with household-name brands.

Where do you go for creative inspiration?

I am a bit of a scribbler and I find that my creativity flows best when I can visualise it on pen and paper! I enjoy bouncing ideas off my friends and partner (User-generated content as I call it) or surfing sites like Design Taxi, Ad Age, Pinterest.

What was your route into the industry?

I joined a media agency (Omnicom) fresh out of university in a business development function where I helped out in a regional capacity on agency group pitches. When I learned of an opening in the mobile specialist business unit - Airwave within the agency, I leapt at the opportunity and basically kick started my career in digital from then-on! I spent the next couple of years in the agency world in a programmatic planning function before entering the ad-tech space where i've worked on account management and strategy roles since.

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

I always wondered, if medical professionals globally could go through the same standard of education and training, why can't we do the same in our industry? Having worked different markets in the region, I've believe that education has been the biggest challenge in our industry that needs to be fixed quickly before the knowledge gap across countries becomes too big to bridge. I would champion for a standardised industry courses that can be taught to tertiary students across APAC; because the best time to up-skill and learn is perhaps when learning is your full-time (or even part-time vocation).

Juliette Leavey, director of digital strategy, Deutsch Inc

Juliette Leavey delivers disruptive social strategies for Reebok, AB InBev, J&J's ACUVUE and PNC Bank. A thought leader in the industry, Leavey recently envisioned social platforms as Game of Thrones characters in a highly shared byline. Naturally, Twitter was Tyrion Lannister. Before Deutsch, she ran 360i's Social Strategy practice, working on Absolut, National Geographic and Bose. Prior, she worked at H&K Strategies on Target and Campbell's.

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

Reading! Warren Buffet said that the most common advice he gives aspiring professionals is to read everything. I tend to take an erratic approach, juggling 3 to 5 books at a time. It keeps my mind fresh and you never know where you'll draw inspiration. A bright moment for me was when I used Thinking, Fast and Slow in a GTM plan because it was a behemoth. Once, I read a particularly creative social strategy inspired by Stephen King's It. If I had an extra hour, I would definitely use it to cross a few books off my list.

Where do you do your best work?

I wish I could say something like "poolside" so I could write off a Soho House membership as a business expense. However, the truth is just my desk. It's by a window, gets great natural light, and I've experienced many moments of flow in that swivel chair.

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

Spend time and effort on your outputs, including how you visually and vocally present your thinking. Well-meaning colleagues often tell me to settle for "good enough" vs. "great." However, one told me early on that one of the best ways to stand out and earn trust was to invest in design and storytelling. It turned out to be the best advice I ever got. While I do believe in time management and task prioritization, I believe in treating deliverables as real labors of love. I always say it to junior folks who ask how to uniquely add value.

Cynthia De La Torre Castro, graphic designer, PMG

Named design lead for Beats by Dre just two years after graduating, not only have Cynthia de la Torre Castro’s award-winning designs helped Beats achieve consecutive "best financial quarters ever" multiple years running, but she has gone on to be one of PMG’s biggest cultural drivers. Passionate about diversity and equality in advertising, she led PMG to become one of 17 founding members of The 3% Movement's Pledge for Pay Equity. At only 26 years old, she has co-founded PMG's Diversity & Inclusion Group, and serves in AIGA DFW's Diversity & Inclusion committee as well as her home-state Texas’ Diversity Council.

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

I solve creative problems for brands and create the ads that appear on your phone and social media, as well as the ads you see on different websites. The ads that make you want to look again, not the ones you scroll right past.

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

Speak up and make sure your voice is heard. I'm a natural introvert, so it took me some time to feel comfortable speaking up in a room of people more senior than me. I know I had great ideas, but there were a few times where my fear of saying something wrong kept me from sharing my ideas. I know I'm not the only one, so for anyone starting in the industry who may share that fear, remember that if you're in a room, you're meant to be there. Your voice is important, so speak up and speak loudly.

What keeps you awake at night?

Sometimes it's my next door neighbor listening to their music too loudly, but also the thought of getting comfortable creatively keeps me up at night. I don't want my ideas or my work to get too familiar, so I'm always looking for projects both at work and outside of work that will challenge me creatively. Whether it's animation or experiential ideas, if I know it makes me uncomfortable, I'll grow from doing it.

Georgia Trimble, copywriter, Colenso BBDO

Auckland-based Georgia Trimble is on a mission to make the world better through her craft. She has an optimistic belief in ethics, living and breathing this both inside and outside of the industry. She has won loads of awards globally, most notably for her beautiful 'Milk Slams' campaign created for Fonterra. Trimble's latest piece of work was in response to the terrorist attacks in Christchurch - an unbranded tool that denies terrorists the infamy they're looking for online, which she concepted, executed and dispatched within one week.

What brand would you love to work on?

The New York Times. I'd love the challenge of inviting people to reconsider what interests them.

How do you switch off from work?

I have an unhealthy relationship with podcasts.

What was your route into the industry?

I was doing a journalism degree when I learnt what a copywriter was. Helping brands change the world sounded cool.

Kim Allain, creative lead, Talker Tailor Trouble Maker

A senior decision maker at PR agency Talker Tailor Trouble Maker, Kim Allain has helped brands like Deliveroo and Elvie achieve award-winning success in her first two years. An accomplished author of thought-provoking content including 'PR Woke'; an exploration into the opinion of young BAME PR talent, Allain was the only black woman on the Creative Moment Awards judging panel and is a regular and respected contributor to its blog. She previously worked at PR agencies Cake Group and M&C Saatchi, is a business owner of bespoke carnival wear, Soca Mania, a podcast presenter and youth board member of Missing People UK, the UK's largest missing people charity.

Which industry figure do you most look up to?

Jo Grierson. She's one of the partners of our business and before she started I had moments when I was searching for a senior female to mentor me and then she started! She is fierce across the board and just super smart. Above everything, she's a mum to a teenager, pre-teen, Percy the dog and two cats and has a soft nurturing side as well as juggling a senior decision maker role in a business. She's a force and I hope to be able to keep learning from her.

What book should everyone in the industry read?

'Slay in your Lane' by Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinen. It came out last year and was my aha moment. Not just because it was linked to my role but because it really helped me to really boss up in a white, male-driven industry. It explained why things happen in the world and about micro-aggressions and fitting in and not fitting in. It's aimed at black women but I think anyone could learn something from it.

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

Never be afraid to be heard. Have an opinion, have ideas, ask questions and deliver insight wherever you can. No one has experienced what you have, whoever you are, and often emotional connections, positive or negative, as well as insight in pitches has been what has delivered success more often than not. Chances are if a business doesn't want to hear your opinion or answer your questions due to hierarchy or whatever bullshit reason, its probably not the agency/business you want to be in.

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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