Glug Leeds was back for its twelfth instalment! This time around, the informal networking event partnered up with local lasses ‘Ladies, Wine & Design’ to deliver a series of inspiring and empowering talks by leading ladies in the creative industries.
Before the main talks started, Malin Persson – Head of Communications for Glug HQ – kicked things off by introducing the event with a slight detour. After reading the Glug rules (booze = good, collaborate and make friends etc.), Malin instructed all attendees to turn to someone they’d never met and talk about their skills, exchange business cards and ask how they could potentially collaborate with each other. Opening doors for attendees before the talks had even begun, it hopefully led to some original work being produced – all thanks to attending one small event at Duke Studios in Leeds on a Wednesday evening in March!
Gossip about yourself.
Malin then started her talk by giving a whistle-stop tour of her career trajectory before landing her place at Glug. Originally from Sweden, Malin studied International Relations in Sydney, but eventually dropped out to study Graphic Design in London’s RCA. Malin’s passions were always people; she knew this from the beginning. But it wasn’t until her RCA degree show – and a few educational detours – that she discovered her preference for the production side of the creative industries.
Emphasising these points of dropping out and starting again, Malin reassured the audience they were not failures but points of redirection, which eventually enabled her to discover her passion. As well as the quote above, “Interesting? No, interested” was one of the final points of Malin’s talk. The attitude you approach your practice with and how you present yourself is just as important as the work you do.
Second on the bill was Marketing Manager for Team Cooper, Cari Kirby. Cari’s talk was a curveball for the largely younger audience, as she talked about the positives of flexible part time hours in the creative industries and her struggles with coming back to the industry after her two children. After a loud audible and in-sync “AAWWW” from the audience, Cari hit us with stats that demonstrated how allowing colleagues with tough circumstances – like Cari coming back from maternity leave – can actually improve staff retention and overall productivity in the workplace. That’s food for thought. Cari finished off her speech with an empowering message about making life work for you, rather than passively struggling to keep up with it.
Flexibility is the future.
Third up was ex-Parisian comedian turned founder of CIA: Chicks In Advertising. After a brief introduction, Olivia went on to tell us about her time spent being a comedian in Paris, following the realisation that “no-one here knows who I am so so what if I fail?”. The realisation that she should be more like Han and… do more things Solo (actual quote from her talk, as well as the pause) as it pushed her to break out of her comfort zone and challenged her to try new things. She went on to highlight some interesting statistics:
- Only 11.5% of the world’s creative Art directors are female.
- Less than that are from BAME groups.
- 88% of young female creatives say they lack role models.
- 70% of young female creatives are working in a 75% male-dominated department
Don’t wait for the change. Be the change.
Seeing the stats tipping out of favour for young female creatives, Olivia decided to be that role model and start her own meetup group in Manchester. Olivia wanted to show young female creatives there is a place for them and there is a position they can aspire to because they can see that it’s not filled and guarded by males. With more chapters being arranged around the country, Olivia’s Manchester chapter now has over 250 members and regularly packed events.
Last but not least was Ellen Ling. Creative Copywriter from Love in Manchester, Ellen came from D&AD down in London, working on everything from PR to marketing to admin. After starting out studying dance in Scotland, Ellen’s story was that of finding herself in a copywriting position – she found her passion after taking every opportunity handed to her and spring-boarding with ballsy ideas and an intense work ethic. Echoing the “stumbling around until you find your passion in the creative industries” message from Malin, Ellen’s talk was reassuring to the audience, showing you don’t have to have everything figured out just yet and shouldn’t be afraid of failing – that may be where and how you discover your true passion.
Huge thanks to all the speakers for delivering engaging and thoughtful talks as well as Duke Studios for hosting! We’re already looking forward to the next Glug Leeds event in May, where there’ll be a collaboration with Leeds Indie Food Festival.
Photos by Sam Howey Photography: