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3% Conference is 300% Fantastic!

2018 is coming to a close, and I wanted to share my favorite 2018 event: The 3% Conference!

The 3% Conference reflects that only 3% of Creative Directors in U.S. advertising agencies are women. Their mission is to increase this number higher—and rightfully so. It was my first time going to this event, which occurred in November 2018 in Chicago.

Some women-focused events can turn towards a slippery slope of lop-sided male-female debates. But not at the 3% conference—their content focused mainly on how to elevate women in a mature, sophisticated, graceful, and practical way by sharing the importance of diversity inclusion and creativity. It’s not demeaning to men either; instead, men are a welcome part of this movement since the event addresses how both sexes can connect in a more healthier and prolific way. The content was fresh, open, vulnerable, truthful, intelligent, and welcoming. Bravo Kat Gordon, Founder of 3% Conference, for bringing this event to life!

Here are my main takeaways from the conference that I wanted to share.

Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin. Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin. Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin!

I was exhausted after flying in from NYC to Chicago in the morning of Day 1 of the event and Elizabeth was the last keynote of the day...I almost left before her talk. Thank god I didn't! I was SOOO blown away by Elizabeth's eloquence, clarity, strength, and compassion! Her talk was mainly focused on how women need to recognize where they are truthfully, to stand up, come together, and have the courage to take practical steps to spark the change that we want and need. Case in point, she made all of the attendees realize that everybody in that theatre had one thing in common: Privilege. Whether I am white or colored, man or woman, young or old…the fact is that we were attending a conference instead of others who might be right now in a precarious neighborhood where someone could easily come up to them and put a gun to their head. Yes, I am therefore clearly privileged. The first step is to recognize this privilege, and the second is to do something about it by standing up for those who don’t have this privilege. I’ve since been much more aware of this fact. And I am OBSESSED with Ms. McLaughlin. I literally read every single tweet she puts out! I invite you to follow her too. Thank you Elizabeth for stirring me up! You can view her spectacular talk in the video is at the end of this article.

Seeing and stating the actually not so obvious.

At one of the panel discussions, 4 black and brown women took the stage. They started to talk. After a few moments, I sensed that something was a little off AND it felt really good at the same time. I couldn’t put my finger on it though. Then, it hit me, this was the first time that I had ever seen a panel where all participants were women of color. BAM!! Sometimes, only when we are shown something that we haven’t seen before that we realize that we haven’t seen it before. This panel was one of the most lively, raw, smart, and candid discussions I’ve ever seen. Period. The two African American speakers, Shannon Washington and Tracie Roberson, killed it. Their honest and soulful interactions with the audience and each other was infectious and made us all connect with one another.

Are you feeling uncomfortable? It’s OK, get used to it.

The overarching theme that I got out of the conference was that we live in a time where we need to learn to be OK being uncomfortable. Progress implies that change must happen, and change is uncomfortable because it means that we are dealing with something that is unfamiliar. So women, if we want progress, we must navigate the waters of uncomfort—there is no other way. So if you feel uncomfortable, know that it's OK to feel uncomfortable, and then take a deep breath and still do the right and courageous thing anyways. Onwards!

I'm allowed to be angry.

Women need to get in touch with their anger and then express it. The key for women is to channel anger as a positive force. By getting in touch with our anger, we have the capacity to gather enough synergy to move from one state to another. Author Soraya Chemaly explained that, unfortunately, anger is not an emotion that is encouraged for women and girls--yet anger in of itself is not negative, it is a natural signal that indicates that there is a threat for us to act upon. Moreover, anger can be a vital source for truth, creativity, and knowledge. Finally, the iconic Cindy Gallop brought it all home by giving us all permission to get ANGRY, very angry....Grrrr.

Advertising for Good.

We have entered an age where the purpose of a brand is of primal importance for the consumer. Moreover, since trust is at an all time low (especially with public institutions and the government}, businesses are looked upon to do the right thing. The movement for “good” is not a trend and is here to stay. Thank god.

Notable quotes:

Embrace the new world order, don’t resist it—Cindy Gallop

When you do work that’s good for society, that’s good for people--it’s good for business—Suresh Nair, Grey

A brand needs to authentically claim what it values, and then plan to commit to those values—Cecelia Wogan Silva, Google

It’s important that my team see me fail, and then see how I go through it—Shannon Washington, Deutsch

We have a critical obligation to share our gifts in furthering the world in making a better place—Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin

Here is the amazing Elizabeth Cronise McLaughin full video presentation. Enjoy!