Truth and Dare – Confronting Truths at TED

I have just returned from a week at TEDActive, the event held in parallel with the annual TED Conference. It features a live simulcast of the conference in beautiful Whistler, and tends to attract the doers of TED’s community — people from around the world who create ripple effects from the ideas shared at TED.

The theme for this year’s TED conference was Truth and Dare, and we certainly heard many uncomfortable truths and were dared to address many difficult issues. For me, three talks in particular made me think hard, reassess previously held beliefs and motivated me to do something. Read more

Heroine’s Quest

Taking the classic pose of ancient Greek heroes (or video games, if you please), I modified it to reflect the modern day heroine’s quest in the so-called Mad Men’s world. We all know it’s been called a boy’s club, but rather than letting it stop us, like so many intelligent, smart, interesting women I have had the fortune to work with and stand alongside, we’re all making it happen in our own way. Read more

Making our numbers count

In 2010, the 3% Conference was started to increase the number of female creative directors in the business, because at the time, only 3% of CDs were women.

As a copywriter at M&C Saatchi LA, I’m proud to say that a third of our creative directors and 60% of the overall creative department are women. I believe that’s what Congress calls a majority.

That means that in any given creative meeting, there is 20% more estrogen than testosterone. That means that our opinions matter. A lot. And that means we are downright badass. Read more

What Happened in Vegas (Or Why every woman should find a way to skip town with her female co-workers)

By Maria Salvador Smith, Associate Creative Director, M&C Saatchi LA

Exactly two weeks ago today, I was on my way to Las Vegas with some of my female coworkers. Not just two or three of them, and not just copywriters like me, but 13 different women from across almost every department of the ad agency where I work. We weren’t going there for a business conference or convention. In fact, we weren’t going there to do work of any kind. We were writers and art directors, office managers and executive assistants, planners and strategists, account directors and supervisors and executives. We were ready to get away for a weekend. And we were going to Vegas. Read more

The Male Perspective

I work in advertising.

I am a male.

My officemates are two women. I’m lucky to get to come to work and listen in on their ideas. They always impress me. Coming to work is such a joy. Working alongside women is a daily inspiration.

I get to work with many women at my agency. I feel lucky in that way. Read more

When a hashtag offers a collective hug

Cynics are quick to criticize social media campaigns in support of charities or social issues, saying that a hashtag makes it easy for people to indulge in armchair activism, rather than taking the extra step to make a difference in the real world. It may well be that #bringbackourgirls brought no serious pressure to bear on the government of Goodluck Jonathan in finding the more than 200 schoolgirls taken by Boko Haram. After Elliot Rodger’s murderous rampage through the streets of Santa Barbara in May 2014, thousands of women posted their personal stories of misogyny and sexual violence with the hashtag #yesallwomen, yet it is unlikely that many of the targeted culprits changed their behavior as a result. Read more

What I Learned at TED 2014

Last week at TED2014, we had the opportunity to participate in almost one hundred talks, from the 18-minute main stage talks to four-minute shorter versions, on topics ranging from suicide, transgender acceptance, girls’ education and autism to bionics, space exploration, satellites, microbes, bio-mimicry and the right to privacy. While the five days covered more topics than a good college education, what stood out was the importance of Brutal Simplicity of Thought. Given the sheer volume, it is almost impossible to recall the content of each and every one of these talks. The ones that stand out are the talks that make a single, powerful point, often without visual aids. These talks resonate because they typically tap into a universal truth, perception or belief, and either challenge or build on it to produce something simple yet memorable.
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