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  • Writer's pictureJan Junloy

My Once-in-a-life-time Experience at Cannes Lions

During my time at Brandcenter, there were a lot of things I never thought I’d do: Seeing John Legend perform live, getting career advice from the CMO of Burger King, partying all night on the French Riviera, and networking with Google employees. But that’s exactly what I did during the summer of 2019 when I was selected as one of 40 students from 33 countries to attend the Roger Hatchuel Academy at the Cannes Lions Festival. This accelerated learning experience is designed to help students who are interested in advertising to launch their careers. Throughout the week, we discussed the value of diversity and inclusion, as well as the importance of not losing our voices in the industry. We also did a 48-hour sprint and pitched our idea in front of a panel of global marketing leaders. At the end of the week, we received invitations to visit Google Headquarters' Creative Campus during the fall, where we continued the conversation about diversity and networking

One of my favorite activities was the #IamRemarkable exercise. #IamRemarkable is Google's campaign that empowers women and underrepresented groups. It celebrates their achievements in the workplace and challenges the social perception around self promotion. We were asked to share our personal achievements by starting with “I am remarkable because…” Initially, a lot of us felt uncomfortable because we felt like we were bragging. But by the end, we realized how much we succumb to our Imposter Syndrome. The exercise was a nice reminder to not constantly think, "I'm not where I want to be," and to not only focus on the final destination. I should give myself credit for how far I’ve come and recognize that all my achievements so far are well earned.

Before I attended, I thought people were exaggerating when they said that Roger Hatchuel Academy is a life-changing experience. However, after spending a week surrounded by peers from all over the world, I was truly inspired and proud to be standing in the same room as them. I believe that in order for an individual to think outside of their creative perimeter, they must appreciate the world outside of what they are used to. Because I had spent most of my life in the US, I realized that I was used to a particular way of thinking and acting. In spite of some language barriers, being able to hear every individual’s story and how their culture affects their creativity changed my perspective on the industry and allowed me to broaden how I approach my work. In turn, being able to share my story gave me the confidence to step up as a next generation leader. I came in as a student with a desire to live in the advertising world, but came out as a young creative knowing that I will make a positive impact on the industry. I am proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone, from traveling on my own for the first time to building diverse networks around the globe. This opportunity would not have happened without the Brandcenter’s sponsorship. Therefore, I thank the Brancenter with all my heart for giving me a once-in-a-lifetime experience at Cannes Lions Festival.

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