02 April 2023 11:27


MediAvataar India Leadership Talk-Yash Egami,Chief Operating Officer-The One Club for Creativity

The One Club is a non-profit organization whose mission is to celebrate and support the global creative community: Yash Egami, COO -The One Club for Creativity

Here’s the full Q & A:

1. To start things off, what are the ADC Awards and how did they begin?

The ADC Awards was first produced by the Art Directors Club, which was founded here in New York in 1920. The awards show was revolutionary at the time because it was one of the first of its kind to bring artists and business leaders together and celebrate the intersection of art and commerce. Now in its 102nd year, the ADC Awards is the oldest continuously running industry awards show in the world.

Today the awards are under the umbrella of The One Club for Creativity, and it continues to recognize artistry and craftsmanship in categories including advertising, digital media, graphic and publication design, packaging and product design, artificial intelligence, motion, gaming, architecture, photography, illustration and fashion design. Pricing is tiered so that it’s affordable for freelancers and small studios to enter, and winners become a part of the One Club Global Rankings.

2. The One Club does not just reward creativity but also nurtures and encourages creative growth. Tell us more about the process?

The One Club is a non-profit organization whose mission is to celebrate and support the global creative community. In addition to our awards, we host many programs and initiatives through our pillars, which include education, professional development, inclusion and diversity and gender equality.

Our goal is to support creatives through every step of their development and career. We have a program for high school students here in the United States called the Saturday Career Workshops where they get to learn about how to get a job in the creative industry and then they participate in a hands-on activity such as logo design or illustration. We have mentoring workshops for college-level students, portfolio reviews and our Young Ones Competition where they have the chance to win an ADC Cube, One Show Pencil, TDC Award or Portfolio Award and jump-start their careers. And we produce Portfolio Night, a global event where cities host portfolio reviews all on the same night that attracts thousands of up and coming creatives.

We even started a free, online portfolio school for Black creatives during COVID lockdowns called One School and a food styling course for diverse students called One Productions-Food Styling. These programs provide opportunities for creatives from all backgrounds to gain the knowledge and tools to get a job in the advertising industry.

We just recently announced the winners of our Next Creative Leaders competition, which recognizes the top rising female creatives from around the world. And in February we will be hosting our Creative Leaders Retreat in New Orleans for mid- to senior-level creatives who are being elevated to leadership positions in their companies and need advice and training on how to navigate that transition.

For emerging creatives we have our ADC Young Guns competition, one of the top creative awards for people under 30. Winning at Young Guns opens doors and helped launch the careers of many well-known creatives working today like designers Jessica Walsh and Gemma O’Brien, blockbuster filmmakers Joseph Kosinski and The Daniels and top advertising creatives Menno Kluin and Rei Inamoto.

On the TDC side we have our Ascenders competition, which awards the top designers in the type world 35 years old and under. This is in addition to the many other seminars, workshops and programs that we offer throughout the year, so we encourage every creative to come and participate!

3.Jury process and selection is an important part to maintain creative excellence. What are the specific things you look for when selecting the jury?

The quality of the jury is what gives award shows credibility. That’s why for all of our award shows, we invite only the best creative leaders from all over the globe to look at the work. Jurors are nominated by previous years’ juries and are approved by our board of directors. And we look for creatives who other creatives in our industry look up to and respect and have a solid track record.

We are proud of our judging process, which we feel is one of the purest and most fair systems in the industry. We developed a proprietary judging platform where pieces are judged by their average score that the jury gives them. And during our final discussions, we have guidelines about how those conversations should take place, which includes a no lobbying or pressuring rule that unfortunately happens in other award shows.

4.The role and contribution of creative freelancers in the economy is poorly understood. What are some of the things that The One Club is doing to help this community?

Freelancers are an important part of The One Club and all of our shows. We have events throughout the year aimed at the freelancer community to help support them and annual competitions like our Young Guns awards are primarily comprised of independent creatives.

In the ADC Awards we have tiered pricing so that freelancers can enter at a discounted rate. We also have a partnership with Working Not Working, one of the biggest freelance talent platforms, where we award the Freelancer of the Year and give their members an additional discount in the ADC Awards. And we’ve been able to keep the TDC Competition affordable because a significant number of creatives in the type community are independents or work at small agencies.

We want to make sure we help level the playing field so that freelancers are given the same opportunity to be recognized as the bigger agencies.

5.Can you tell us more about your Creative Leaders’ Retreat. How has been the response from the Creative Industry?

For the past nine years the Creative Leaders Retreat has been a big success because it’s such a unique program. As you know most creatives are trained in how to make work i.e. art direction, copywriting, design, etc. But as they move up in the agency or corporate world, they transition into leadership roles where they are overseeing the teams that create the work rather than making the work themselves. The problem is, not everyone is trained in how to do this and most of the time they learn through trial and error.

The Creative Leaders Retreat was launched to fill this gap and provide tangible, actionable advice to people stepping into leadership roles or leaders who are looking to become better at what they do. So we have sessions around how to inspire your teams, how to retain talent and how to build purpose into your company’s mission. The format is also very collaborative so you really get a sense that we’re all in this together. It’s a lot of fun and I get personally involved in putting the program together every year.

6.Tell us how things have changed with the lockdown and pandemic?

Basically, everything has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic. We used to do mostly in-person events before but now we do a lot more hybrid and online initiatives. The upside of all of this is that we’ve managed to broaden our audience because location is no longer an issue. We have attendees from South America, Australia, Asia, Europe and just about everywhere coming to our online events and it’s exciting to see that we’re having a bigger impact beyond just the United States.

Just like everyone else, COVID made us accelerate the transition to online and created many opportunities for us. We launched ONE School in 2020, a free online portfolio program for Black creatives that’s become one of the biggest social change programs in the history of advertising. We also created One Production – Food Styling, which was a real-time, online instructional course aimed at diverse creatives on how to become a food stylist. And we developed our own online portfolio review system that has enabled us to host virtual reviews for our education programs as well as or diversity, equity and inclusion programs.

Here in the U.S. and especially in New York it seems like the hybrid model of working is here to stay, so we are constantly looking at ways to improve our offerings so that we stay connected to the creative community no matter where they are.

7.On a personal note, what have been the highlights of your career so far? Your key learnings?

I have been with The One Club for 18 years now and it’s been incredible to see how much we’ve grown. When I started there were maybe 12 people and now we’ve grown to a staff of nearly 40. We were also primarily focused on just The One Show back then but we have evolved to become more than just an awards show, which speaks to our mission as a not-for-profit organization.

There are countless people in this industry today that tell us we were responsible for helping them get a foot in the door and launch their careers. And that’s what motivates me because I feel like we’re making a difference. We don’t just talk about the issues, we do something about them and provide real opportunities for people, which is the main reason why I’ve been with the organization for so long.

Being a creative person myself, I love being around other creatives and feeling constantly inspired. The One Club has given me the opportunity to meet some of my creative heroes from Lee Clow to Jeff Goodby to photographer Mark Seliger and the recently departed George Lois and Dan Wieden. These are some of the people that I look at and say wow, they really made a difference in the world.

Read 2892 times Last modified on Friday, 20 January 2023 02:33
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