Latest Redefining Bravery hits home on the importance of social justice in media.
The first person to cross the Brooklyn Bridge was the woman responsible for building it. Emily Warren Roebling, the first woman engineer helped connect Manhattan to Brooklyn in 1883, just a few short years before the ADVERTISING Club of New York was founded. Mike Germano, the Chief Digital Officer of VICE Media led these opening remarks of the latest iteration of Redefining Bravery by reminding us of the Brooklyn Bridge as a symbol of connection and community.
Germano co-founded Carrot Creative which was acquired by VICE in 2013. Mike has a passion for bold ideas and trailblazers doing business outside of the status quo, a natural fit for the ANDYs programming which strives to empower the industry to support brave ideas.
The CEO of Brooklyn-based, values-driven mobile agency Prolific Interactive, Bobak Emamian humbly opens announcing he has never been qualified to do anything in his life, setting the tone for what was an intimate evening. It has been the people around him who have allowed for him to be brave, including his family who immigrated to the US from Iran to escape the turmoil of war in 1985. His worldview was shaped by growing up with the juxtaposition of a white suburban town and an Islamic republic. The people around him have allowed him to be brave and continuously push boundaries.
Prolific Interactive set off to redefine the agency model by ensuring conversations about inclusivity occur daily. He cited just one example of recently changing policy to give both mothers and fathers longer paid leave. Not because they analyzed the numbers but because, he says, “it’s the right fucking thing to do. Bravery is pretty simple; it’s about doing the right thing. Legacy means creating a brand that will outlive all of us. If we lead by example, by policy and innovation it will give us all a chance to leave a legacy. It is our job as industry leaders to fight for change even if it means sacrificing our profits.”
Rem Reynolds, Co-Founder of Inamoto & Co, and former AKQA Managing Director discussed conflicting fears that result in action. His major life choices have been framed by two conflicting fears; the fear of change and the fear of regret. Reynolds decided to share a personal story of fear in its raw form – when he was mugged when first living in Brooklyn. He was faced with the prospect of saying no to his aggressor or following him to an ATM that was a 15 minute walk away. The idea of staying with him one minute longer was all he needed to get himself out of the situation. He used the same rationale when he made the decision to leave his job which was attached to success, comfort and accolades to open his new creative shop and start from the ground up – a brave move indeed by our industry standards.
Social justice and human rights advocate Jennifer MacArthur, Founder of Borderline Media closed out the evening with her journey of navigating and championing a new set of rules for journalistic integrity. MacArthur shared her path to finding and carving out distribution channels which champion storytelling from all perspectives and unheard voices by removing the 20th Century ideal of journalistic objectivity. She shared, “Objectivity carries the unspoken assumption that the people from ‘within the thing’ you are covering are biased; only people from outside of it have enough distance from the issues to be able to accurately report on it and why.” While working at StoryCorps, MacArthur was able to challenge this notion and find the formula to combine audience development, distribution and content by changing the narrative of what it means to ‘own’ content. This formula was to remove and replace objectivity and instead insert human rights issues. MacArthur has also co-founded Impact Producers Group, a network of people who believe in authentic storytelling and honor the responsibility of doing so.
Thank you to our talented and passionate speakers who are fundamentally shaking up the media industry. These personal stories let us peek into the industry’s most respected creatives and marketers to what inspires them, what moves them, and what propels them to show up and do the important, innovative and fun work.
Redefining Bravery returns in 2017 and remember to submit your brave creative ideas into the ANDY Awards before January 13th.
Special thanks to ANDY Supporter Audio Network for the evening’s talent.