Cannes Lions Unveils Its 15 Female See It Be It Program Finalists

Recipients will receive free access to the festival through the program

This year's See It Be It theme is 'Invite Yourself.' Getty Images
Headshot of Lindsay Rittenhouse

Cannes Lions has announced the 15 women selected for this year’s See It Be It program—its initiative to increase female representation at its annual international festival of creativity.

The women were chosen from a pool of more than 760 global applicants and will receive a complete festival pass, travel and accommodation courtesy of Cannes and exclusive access to certain events, workshops and mentoring with industry leaders.

“See It Be It is a key pillar of Cannes Lions’ response to the gender imbalance in the creative communications community and an active attempt to change the industry and the world for the better,” Louise Benson, vice president of festivals, Cannes Lions and executive lead of the program. “Now in its sixth year, we are starting to see the positive effects of the program, as many of the global alumnae are not only achieving great personal success but also going on to drive and champion positive change in their markets. We are delighted to support these 15 women from across the world and look forward to seeing them grow and become inspiring leaders.”

The initiative, in partnership with global sponsor Spotify, identifies key female creative leaders and places them at the forefront of the industry.

“While we have made incremental strides as an industry, it is as important as ever to empower women worldwide to reach their full potential in creative marketing,” said Danielle Lee, vice president and global head of partner solutions at Spotify.

The 2019 See It Be It ambassador Swati Bhattacharya, CCO of FCB Ulka, set this year’s theme: “Invite Yourself,” a challenge to the finalists and other women in the industry to create space for themselves.

The finalists:

Ana Luna, creative director at agency Circus in Mexico, has created campaigns for Netflix, Nike and P&G and won the Cannes Lions Health & Wellness Grand Prix in 2015 for Always’ “Intimate Words” ad, which encouraged women in rural Mexican towns to talk more openly about issues like cervical cancer.

Devon Williamson, art director at Cheil Canada, works with clients including Human Rights Watch, TD Wealth and Samsung. While at FCB/Six, she won 13 Cannes Lions in 2018 for her work on nonprofit PFLAG Canada’s “Destination Pride,” an online platform that helps LGBTQ+ people find cities worldwide most welcoming of them.

Liz Cartwright, creative director at TBWA\Chiat\Day, has been recognized by The One Club and 3 Percent Conference’s “Next Creative Leaders” for having worked on iconic campaigns such as Gatorade’s “Like A Mother,” inspired by Serena Williams.

Hira Mohibullah Amin, creative director at BBDO Pakistan, has garnered more than 150 industry awards. As a working mother and female creative, she fights patriarchy and gender inequality through initiatives such as #ChangeTheClap.

Gabriela Guerra, a freelance senior creative copywriter in Singapore, champions equality through initiatives such as co-creating Fair Lions, a petition to make the Brazilian Young Lions competition more diverse and representative.

Jessica Toye, creative director at Virtue, is an Adweek 2017 “Creative 100” and one of The One Club and 3 Percent Conference’s “Next Creative Leaders” and the 4A’s “100 People Who Make Advertising Great.” She now leads and mentors a team of diverse creatives.

Yaa Boateng, creative director at The Storytellers in Ghana, has received more than 65 industry recognitions. She was part of the team that formed Renegades Africa, an agency that connects brands to consumers, in 2018.

Manoti Jain, COO of Supari Studios in India, founded the award-winning content studio at the age of 22 which services brands such as Red Bull, Estée Lauder, Warner Bros. Records, Google, Twitter and Dolby.

Nimo Awil, senior creative at Poke London, started her career in Toronto, grew up in Abu Dhabi and now works in the U.K. She has produced content for brands including Dove, American Express and the International Olympic Committee.

Ruxandra Drilea, a senior copywriter at Publicis Romania, incorporates her three passions— comedy, entertainment and illustration—into her work with the goal of creating binge-worthy content that can reach a broad audience or work as an SNL sketch. She aspires to be the first female creative director of her agency.

Yaprak Gultay, team lead for service design at Fjord in Sweden, is behind notable work for clients like Hilton Honors, IKEA, Etisalat and Sony PlayStation.

Josie Fox, senior creative of Special Group in Australia, is self-proclaimed as “Josie of all Trades.” At the agency, she wears many hats including copywriter, designer, photographer and animator. Fox is also a school tutor, educating the next generation of creative leaders.

Rachel Kennedy, senior art director at 180 Kingsday, works on global and pan-European campaigns for clients in the fashion, pharmaceutical, food and beverage and nonprofit sectors.

CĂ©cile Pimont, a freelance senior copywriter in France, fights for better representation of the LGBTQ+ community.

Carla Padovani, senior creative copywriter at McCann Santiago, is credited with creating work that raises awareness, sparks dialogue and changes social injustices.

@kitten_mouse Lindsay Rittenhouse is a staff writer at Adweek, where she specializes in covering the world of agencies and their clients.