Shannon Washington on the Process of Becoming a Leader

Lessons on her way to the top, from the first Black female chief creative of a holding company agency

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In 2022, Shannon Washington participated in a documentary titled Black Madison Ave. The film, which debuted at New York Festivals, featured seven of the ad industry’s mere nine Black executive creative directors at the five major holding companies discussing their careers amid the lack of diversity. And outright prejudice.

It wasn’t an easy decision. “Initially, I was pretty reluctant to do it,” Washington said. “At a very surface level, I have always operated under the guise of letting my work speak for itself.”




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This story first appeared in the Feb. 20, 2024, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.