Cannes is a golden opportunity

Lolly Morris, digital design director at Iris Worldwide, a winner of the GoDaddy scholarship for women in technology explains why Cannes matters.

Holy f**k I am going to Cannes.

Now I know when I received the congratulatory email that I should’ve been extremely modest and quietly excited about winning this trip, but the reality was quite different. I read my email at work and then shouted the f-word about fifty times and annoyed everyone in my team going on about it all day. Sorry about that guys. 

This is truly a golden opportunity for me (or platinum as my pass says). Yes I work hard at work and life. I’m a wife, a mum, and I have a career. But I’m just like millions of other women in the world. So to get picked for this opportunity is the result of: a good boss (thanks for forwarding the competition to me Brockles), an hour writing my submission, and luck.

Cannes attendance is reserved only for the elite. Us mere mortals in the digital team are left only to gaze, green-eyed at the photos of the ECDs, CEOs and CCOs holding up their awards and sipping poolside cocktails. But this year I am going and I intend to make full use of the opportunity.

There are some truly amazing speakers and events and I will be trying to do it all, including morning yoga, IPG Women’s breakfast of course Helen Mirren. Sorry Dame Helen Mirren is going? Personal hero.

I am of course looking forward to finding out about the latest tech and how agencies are using it to their advantage. And hearing from the industry’s big cheeses about how we can push the boundaries of creative tech.

Working in digital has never been glamorous. Long before the arrival of social media, smartphones, super-fast broadband and VR headsets, our greatest achievement in digital was often creating a successful 40KB flash banner ad. Cannes will truly be the first taste of glamour I have experienced!

We are in an exciting new world with fantastic opportunities to create truly groundbreaking digital work for our clients, and the world as a whole. Traditional advertising agencies have been slow to catch on. But with the increasing wave of young people interacting only with smart phones and devices, we now have whole generation of people who will rarely ever see a TV ad. The game has changed. We have to find new ways to reach customers, to cut through the haze of information and work even harder to sell products and services for our clients. This week, I will hopefully gain some insight into how we can push the boundaries and create even more epic work.

I will also be seeking out all the incredible, inspirational women that will be there talking about diversity. Recently I have met with so many female role models and industry peers and that has been a real driver for me to push for more in my career. Cannes this week is putting great emphasis on diversity and I am looking forward to hearing how other companies are tackling the gender divide.

There is so much opportunity out there for both men and women in creative tech, but we need more female role models to show those women, in particular, that they have a bright future in the industry.

So, in summary, what does Cannes hold for me this week?

Some innovative tech talks, meeting some inspirational creative women and of course, beach parties, sipping poolside cocktails with the industries finest and pretending that I’ve made it in the world.

And maybe I have.

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