Atiya Zaidi, Executive Creative Director, Synergy Dentsu was recently selected to participate in the ‘See It Be It’ programme at Cannes Lions (to be held from June 17 to June 24) this year. The programme was launched in 2014 with the purpose to identify promising mid- to senior-level women in the advertising world and help them accelerate their careers – currently only 11% of women reach leadership positions in the creative industry (source: Grant Thornton).
The selection criteria require the applicant to have won several local awards, be attending the event for the first time, and have published work in relevant industry publications. Zaidi, who applied via the Cannes Lions’ website, was among the 400 women who applied, and after the first round of short-listing, had an hour-long Skype interview with the programme’s selectors. She is the only Pakistani among the 15 women selected from around the world.
“I hope that after returning, I bring hope and possibilities to the industry. I aim to transfer my knowledge to others so that they can go further than I can ever hope to go,” Zaidi says. Elaborating on the programme, Zaidi explains that participants will get the opportunity to be mentored by Madonna Badger, creator of the campaign #WomenNotObjects and also the co-founder of Badger & Winters. They will also attend exclusive workshops, network with inspiring professionals from all over the world, and even get to visit the jury rooms.
“I am thrilled, honoured and grateful to be selected for this prestigious programme. I can’t wait to show the world that Pakistani women are so much more capable and empowered than what the global news shows.”
She further adds how Pakistani women have accomplished major feats in various areas, such as cricket, won the Nobel prize, scaled mountains and even led the country, and have “broken so many stereotypes about Pakistan.”
Zaidi, who is the first Pakistani to be selected, was also chosen last year, but couldn’t attend the event because her visa was declined by the French Embassy. She is currently waiting for her visa to be issued, and hopes to fly off as soon as she gets it.
“I hope and pray I live to breathe the seaside air of Cannes.”