The Drum Awards for Marketing APAC

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By Amy Houston | Senior Reporter

April 14, 2023 | 3 min read

In the latest episode of The Drum’s Chair Leaders series, editor-in-chief Gordon Young meets with Natasha Chetiyawardana who chaired the awards in 2022 and is back again for a second year.

Natasha Chetiyawardana is co-founder of the growth consultancy agency Bow & Arrow, now known as Accenture Song Ventures. Her expertise covers branding, packaging, innovation, product development and strategy in a career that has spanned over 20 years. She sat down with The Drum’s Gordon Young to discuss this year’s Design Awards.

“I want to bring designers from the backroom to the boardroom,” says Chetiyawardana. “Everywhere that I’ve worked before, designers weren’t allowed to talk to clients and I really felt like designers could get into business and really influence it from the inside.”

Chetiyawardana feels strongly that bringing designers in as equals will have a positive impact on businesses, enabling them to take control of their work and present it to top execs. She truly champions creativity from all angles, even classing herself as a bit of a “misfit” in terms of her outlook.

“It’s what it says on the tin, actually,” she explains. “I don’t fit in and I’m kind of used to that now. When we started Bow & Arrow, I was always the only designer in the room, the youngest, the only female and the only person of color. As I’ve got older, not necessarily wiser, I’ve realized that when you know more, you’re sense of imposter syndrome can go up.”

It’s something that she really empathizes with and is aware of, but doesn’t really care about. To her fellow creatives, she encourages them not to fret about fitting in. “It’s for precisely those reasons that we don’t fit in, that we should be there in the first place. My role is to think differently to get to new ideas.”

Luckily then, adds Young, that’s exactly what the Design Awards are all about.

Watch the conversation in full above and register for this year’s awards.

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