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Mary Rach - 5:35 pm December 12, 2016

Creating the Invitation

Diversity Office Worker Working Cheerful Concept

 

Recently, I had a coworker ask me an interesting question.  It was posed in a way that implied that he had never really thought about it before. As if he was even surprised he was about to ask it, and a bit concerned about how I would answer.

“What is it like to be the only one of your gender in our creative department… all the time?”

My reply, “Well…it can be a little weird.”

As an art director, being the only female in my group is my reality a lot of the time. Sometimes it’s easy to feel secluded. Many great female art directors and creative directors have also experienced this and shared this “Boys Club” phenomenon. There is even an entire professional conference based on the platform of supporting female creatives in the advertising industry (3 Percent Conference, founded by Kat Gordon).

So I thought I would share my experience…

Many female creatives have experienced incidents of sexual harassment or have been given only female-facing products or clients. Thankfully I find myself in a much better situation at Schifino Lee. My coworkers see me as an equal, most of the time. While there absolutely is a Boys Club here, that doesn’t mean I can’t change the definition of who can be a member.

So how do I combat the Boys Club mentality? By including myself.

There was a time, before SL, that I can remember distinctly when I was not included in meetings, concept sessions, group lunches and general shenanigans around the office. I mentioned this to a friend of mine once, telling him that it had “hurt my feelings.” He stopped me right there and said, “Well, there’s your problem. You’re taking it personally. And by getting emotional about it, you’re not allowing yourself to find the rational solution.”

He went on to say, “If you want to be in that meeting, you need to stop waiting to be invited.” He was so right.

That changed the way I looked at my coworkers. They weren’t NOT including me because I was a girl. They just didn’t think that I cared to be involved because I was quietly sitting at my desk observing from a far.

You want to go to that meeting, sit in on that concept session and shoot nerf guns at your coworkers to liven up the day a little?

Invite yourself. Insist upon it if you have to. Show an interest instead of meekly standing in the corner waiting to be brought to the round table.

That goes for everyone. Not just females.

 

 

Mary Rach - 5:10 pm December 29, 2014

Why We’re Creatives

I’ve found that those of us on the creative side of advertising didn’t really have a choice. We were born this way. We feel the need to create and we do it. We must have an outlet lest it drive us insane. Art directors, copywriters, production artists, creative directors…we all felt the calling.

Growing up I always had a new art project. Like most kids, it started as finger painting, then crayons. Before long, I was taking art lessons, painting, drawing, sculpting, photography, writing stories- anything to keep the creative juices flowing. Before long, it evolved into learning guitar, and later bass, drums, and eventually singing. Playing music soon led to starting and joining bands. The bands needed promotional materials but we never had the funds to pay someone to create it all for us. So, this led to me learning graphic design, website design, marketing, computer animation, photography, and video editing. The need to learn and create led to more learning and creating. I could never get enough!

When the reality sunk in that my dreams of rock stardom may fall through, I began to think about what I wanted to do with my life. There was no question that it had to be creative, so I started at a small company as a graphic designer using the skills from all that learning and creating.

I think most of us have similar backstories. We often have creative hobbies that exist outside of work, from music and fine art to woodworking and photography. Whatever the medium, it all comes from the same place. Along with that insatiable urge to create, create, create.