See It Be It, the Cannes Lions initiative aiming to achieve equal gender representation of creative directors and leaders across the global industry, has named Swati Bhattacharya, chief creative officer of FCBUlka, as the 2020 See It Be It Ambassador. Madonna Badger, CCO and founder of Badger & Winters, will continue to chair See It Be It.
Bhattacharya is one of India’s most influential female CCOs, leading a team of 113 people at FCBUlka, and working on brands as diverse as Unilever, Domino’s, Times of India, ITC and DSM. She began her career as a copy trainee at JWT and throughout her 24 years in the industry she has won numerous creative awards, including Cannes Lions and the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke, India’s highest award in cinema. Her passion for equality and the development of talent is reflected in the work she creates and the culture she has fostered within FCB and across the Indian creative community.
See It Be It 2020 is now open for applications. Fifteen aspiring women, from across the world, will be selected to take part in the See It Be It talent accelerator program in 2020. Participants receive a VIP Cannes Lions experience during the Festival (June 22-26, 2020), including a complimentary pass, accommodation and travel. The curated program includes one-to-one mentoring sessions, networking events, master classes, workshops and behind-the-scenes jury room tours, as well as profile-building opportunities and access to some of the industry’s most influential leaders. The program is designed to enable and accelerate women into senior creative roles.
Since its 2014 launch, See It Be It has grown to become a global movement of women, championing the goal of gender equality across the branded communications industry. A record number of over 700 applications were received in 2019. By 2020, over 100 women will have gained a fully-funded place on the program and many alumni have progressed into leadership positions, won multiple Lions Awards and sat on Cannes Lions juries. To cultivate a community and global network of support and learning, the See It Be It events series has now reached over 4,000 women in countries including the U.S., Canada, Singapore, Nigeria, Bulgaria, U.K., Australia and Pakistan. As the official See It Be It partner, Spotify helps bring the initiative to life through the events series, recently curating programming in London and New York, as well as initiatives at the Festival.
As Ambassador, Bhattacharya will guide, advise and mentor the 2020 cohort. Bhattacharya was appointed as last year’s Ambassador, but due to a serious personal incident, she was not able to travel from India to take up her position. Swati will work with See It Be It Chair Badger to deliver the 2020 program.
Bhattacharya said, “It is an honor to be given a second chance to be the See It Be It Ambassador. Last year was hugely devastating, but the incredible support I received from the See It Be It team was so special. They focused, not on what I was missing, but how they were missing me. This kind of support is what makes See It Be It so vital to the industry. My career would not have succeeded without support and I want to share my story with others. Leadership is a beautiful dance between work, life, and love, and whatever decision you take--if you’re supported--it makes anything possible.”
Badger commented, “Every year, the women of See It Be It do an exemplary job at showing off the shift towards parity and diversity that is happening in the creative industry. As a mentor, I have listened to the inspiring, ‘against all odds’ stories and challenges of rising female leaders from all over the world. It makes me proud to see how this program has paved the way for them and continues to challenge the gender gap between male and female creative directors.”
Louise Benson, VP of Festivals, Cannes Lions added: “It is incredible to watch See It Be It grow into a global, committed community of women who are empowering each other to progress into leadership roles in the industry. I would like to extend my thanks to the team--Swati, Madonna and to everyone at Spotify--for their tireless support and energy to make the 2020 program the very best it can be. We can’t wait to see the applications from women around the world.”
For info on how to apply for the 2020 program, click here.