"She’s been the single biggest influence in my career. She’s made me a better creative, and with her guidance, I was able to focus my efforts on doing work for non-profit brands, while still ensuring the paying work was there," said RPA Creative Director Krystle Mullin about Madonna Badger, her mentor during the 2017 Cannes Lions See It Be It program.
Mullin added: "Meeting Madonna was so amazing because I want to do great work, but I also want to change our industry and she’s the greatest model of that dual citizenship. So meeting her was a life-changing moment."
The Cannes Lions See It Be It program, which looks to support and help elevate up-and-coming female creative directors, is in the middle of shortlisting interviews for this year’s 15 participants from around the world. This year, Spotify is the global partner for the program, which is being chaired by Badger, founder and CCO at Badger & Winters.
"Everybody says it - the people who get the most out of being a mentor is the mentor, not the mentee. Mostly because the things I may not believe about myself or the self esteem I may not have, when I hear myself telling Krystle those things, it helps me remember that, yes, I believe that and that is part of who I am. That’s the most beautiful part," said Badger.
Mullin and Badger have remained close after the program; in fact, Mullin stays at Badger’s house when she comes to New York from Los Angeles. And now, Mullin told Campaign US that she passes along pieces of wisdom that she learned from Badger to junior creatives, such as "you have a voice and you should use it" and "don’t be self conscious."
"Now I’m telling young creatives what they need to learn in this moment - it’s this lovely symbiotic thing," she said.
Badger said she’s also learned a lot from Mullin since they’ve met. "Krystle helped me with an Olay campaign. Someone had told her that she was too confident and that turned into a long conversation we had, which became the whole basis of the campaign," she said.
Some people are afraid to be mentors because they think they won’t be good at it, said Badger, but she said it’s not something to fear. "Everyone has their own inner guidance," she said, adding that both parties get a great amount out of the relationship.
"I really struggled before this program to find a female leader who would send the elevator down so-to-speak," said Mullin. "The women in this program are those in the industry that recognize that if we want to go far, we have to go together. They’re saying, ‘I want to send the elevator back down. I don’t want to be alone on this island. I want more women.’ They’re making the conscious decision to be an ally for other women."