2022 Coaches Comments

Donevan Chew

Donevan Chew

Creative Partner
Petaling Jaya
, Malaysia

Mawie Borja, Art Director, Hemisphere Leo Burnett, Makati City; Neko Wang, Senior Creative Copywriter, Blue Focus, Shanghai; Dhiren Sonawane, Group Creative Partner, DDB Mudra (22feet Tribal WW), Mumbai

These young bloods from the LIA - London International Awards #CreativeLIAison programme certainly inspired me with their hunger to do great work. In return, I fed them with these food for thought:

We’ll never beat machines in crunching copy and vomiting visuals.

Unless your ideas are relevant to brands, you won’t be relevant to clients.

Understand what keeps them awake at night. Surprise them with ideas that help solve their business problems.

Don’t lose yourself in the daily grind. Make time to do work that you’ll be proud of.

Thank you Mawie Borja, Neko Wang, Dhiren Sonawane & Laurissa Levy of #LIA #LIAawards #CreativeLIAisons #CreativeCoaching

Jeff Cruz

Jeff Cruz

EVP, Chief Creative Officer
, United States of America

To be honest, I went into the whole LIAisons experience with rather high expectations. Sure, I appreciate the opportunity to be able to share some of my experiences and expertise, but I was also looking forward to hearing from - and being inspired by - the next generation of creatives. And let me tell you, the dynamic duo of Isabel Harvey (Copywriter, BBDO Dublin) and Ivona Poljak (Art Director, BBDO Dublin), Liam Ratliff (Copywriter, Ogilvy, Melbourne) and Ronak Ramraje (Group Head Art at DDB Mudra group) certainly did not disappoint. Each and every one of them made me even more excited about the future of our business. To a person, they were each their own version of immensely talented, infectiously charming, curious, insightful, and just plain amazing to chat with over the course of our series of great conversations. I truly enjoyed their thoughtful questions, their frank and honest answers to my questions, and sometimes even the nuggets of ideas they shared with me. I looked forward to each session and always left with my brain racing (in good ways) and my soul refueled. I’m grateful I got the chance to connect with these fine folks and the entire LIAisons experience.
Rachel Denti

Rachel Denti

Graphic Designer
, United States of America

Participating in the LIAisons coaching program was such a privilege and learning experience. As I always say about the mentorships I provide, I see them as a two-way learning opportunity: I share my advice and experiences, and I in turn get insights from amazing creatives from all backgrounds and industries that I probably wouldn't obtain otherwise. That, for me, is what made this program so special - I really enjoyed being paired with mentees from creative industries that aren't necessarily graphic design, and it was really rewarding to notice that my coaching and advice could break through industry classifications and still be relevant. It helped me realize that creatives of all areas have much more in common than we have differences, and it made me appreciate the power of open communication and shared knowledge even more.

Kat Gomez-Limchoc

Kat Gomez-Limchoc

Executive Creative Director
Blackpencil Manila/Leo Burnett Group Manila
Makati City
, Philippines

Mentee: Julián Robert, Senior Copywriter at Brandy, San José and Erika Ono, Copywriter, Dentsu, Tokyo 
I finished my coaching session with Julian Robert from Costa Rica, and it was a lot of fun.

He asked me to share my favorite pieces of work from my career and the stories behind them, so that's what we did.

And then he asked if he could work on a brief from me. So I gave him the brief from the Adobo LIA Not-so-Young creative competition we just did here in Manila, where I was jury chair, all about thinking about an advocacy close to one's heart and thinking about a creative solution to help, and linking that to a brand.

Thank you for the opportunity to connect with another passionate creative from across the world.

I finished my mentorship session with Erika Ono from Dentsu Tokyo. Before our session, we discussed the specific topics she wanted to cover so I prepped a deck for her with tips and stories around ideation and pitching ideas. We also had an interesting discussion around balancing work, life, and what we call our "soul projects". So nice how we ended with a promise to send each other our published books. ??

Again, thank you for inviting me to be part of this program. It has been such a pleasure connecting with fellow creative humans from different parts of the world.

Alasdair Lennox

Alasdair Lennox

Group Executive Creative Director of Experience, Americas
Landor & Fitch
San Francisco
, United States of America

Having been on the 2021 LIA Design and Package Design Jury, I was asked if I would like to mentor a few younger creatives in the early stages of their career.
Before the first call, I was thinking about what would be my goal in this mentoring relationship; and my conclusion was; "to share nuggets of wisdom, that I wish someone would have revealed to me in my early career".
The three creatives that requested to meet me, represented Austria, India and Portugal. All three were excellent! Bright, very friendly and grateful for the mentor session. 
An hour goes very quickly, so I didn’t really get to look at their creative / portfolio work. We concentrated more on where they are at currently and how to progress next in their creative careers. 
As a follow up, I offered all three a second individual session later in August, which they were all keen to accept.
The best piece of professional advice I have ever received, was from my own mentor many years ago. This nugget has and continues to be directional. I also now feel it’s my responsibility to pass it forward to the right people at the right time, and mentoring these three young creatives felt like an opportune moment to share this gem: As a professional creative our job is to get a client to say ‘maybe’, maybe to a really bold, extraordinary idea as opposed to getting them to say ‘yes’ to an easier, lazier design that they were looking for…
Do I want to continue to mentor young, passionate creatives? Maybe…the dialogue is refreshing, questioning and always brings a new perspective to the creative process, its healthy and mutually beneficial.
Alasdhair Macgregor Hastie

Alasdhair Macgregor Hastie

Vice President and Executive Creative Director International
, France

I had an hour Video Chat each with:
Yashasvi Agrawal
Joao Gouveia
and Fabian Draxl
All three mentees were excellent, bright, brilliant spoken English, very friendly & grateful for the mentor session.
As a follow up, I offered all three a second individual session later in August, and I asked them to set them up and schedule. All three said that they wanted to do this follow up session.
I enjoyed them all immensely.
Hira Mohibullah

Hira Mohibullah

Executive Creative Director
VMLY&R Kansas City

Mentees: Chloe Herbert-Smith, Art Director, Leo Burnett, Melbourne and Ynna Milambiling, Senior Art Director at GIGL, Makati City    
It was wonderful meeting Chloe and Ynna. They both came prepared with questions so the discussion was very focused. It's always nice meeting younger talent - I feel like it's such a big re-learning experience to see the industry with a fresh set of eyes! 
Edward Pontifex

Edward Pontifex

Sweetshop Australia
Managing Director
, Australia

Dionie Tanada, Creative Director, GIGIL, Makati City, Jule Fuhrmann, Copywriter, Accenture Song (Kolle Rebbe), Hamburg, Ronak Ramraje, Group Head (Art), DDB Mudra Group, Mumbai

I only fully realised just how important the LIA creative coaching program was for young talent after I met my three mentees. All three were completely different, as were the discussions we had, but the one overriding theme throughout was how they all wanted to better themselves.

All our conversations focused around our own stories and how we ended up where we are in our lives, and they were keen to get advice on how they achieve their goals.

You could see how much it meant to them to be able to talk to someone who had been down the path that they were wanting to carve out for themselves.

And I absolutely learned as much from them as they may have from me. The entire process was so reflective and inspiring to see just how much thought young talent today puts into their futures. I’m looking forward to catching up with them all again to see how they have progressed on their journeys.

Pedro Prado

Pedro Prado

Executive Creative Director – East Coast
TBWA/Media Arts Lab
Coral Gables, FL
, United States of America

It's amazing to see how the Creative LIAisons program helps unleash and propel talent, taking amazing young creatives to the next level.
LIAisons is always a pleasant surprise.
You walk into it thinking you have something to teach.
You walk out of it realizing you have a lot to learn.
An amazing program, with an amazing group of mentees!
Thanks for the experience.
Alfred Wee

Alfred Wee

Group Creative Director
McCann Worldgroup
, Singapore

Jing Shan
Tian Yu Kong, Guangzhou
Planning copywriter
Our story begins with a zoom call, Meeting ID 745 4664 4414, at 11 am SG and GZ time on a Friday afternoon. I had the opportunity to speak to Jing Shan from ???, an integrated digital agency in Guangzhou. Jing Shan, a planning copywriter in her day job, is a deep-thinking creative who had already shared a series of questions to which she needed answers. However, having prepared all the answers beforehand, I felt I may have left more questions than answers for her. 
“Wouldn’t quicker media lengths mean more clutter?”
“What happened to brand sustainability?”
“Is this the rise of the digital shop window for brands?”
Due to the changing trends in the digital landscape, China has always been more exciting and innovative in that trajectory. However, there are no correct answers to why media lengths are getting shorter. With fewer opportunities to build values and even lesser opportunities to build brand equity this had me do some searching myself. 
When we spoke about the future of advertising, there was also a rather gloomy picture from her, with more companies riding on the bandwagon of short-lived marketing and turning to live stream E-commerce platforms for survival in China.
I enjoyed speaking to Jing Shan and found that her furrowed brows only showed her wisdom for a young person navigating her career in the industry. I sensed she was having a case of “self-contemplation” and needed recognition and acknowledgement. It’s not uncommon to have outgrown your job to start seeking inspiration; this is, without a doubt, just the beginning of an exchange we’re continuing.
Pedro Fonseca Almeida
Art Director
This next story started as a conversation with Pedro Fonseca Almeida, an Art Director from Lisbon.
Having built up quite a bit of industry experience, Pedro is considered to have more experience than other mentees, as he started working at 18. However, armed with design skills and tenacity, he wants to keep learning and staying curious. 
With Pedro, we spoke a lot about his passion and his dreams. And why he went into advertising; having truly enjoyed doing brand identity. I started loving his mantra, "you never know if you don't do it", as he nearly finished every sentence with that line.
Pedro Fonseca Almeida is a curious individual who feels the need to fill his dreams and seize every opportunity to live life fully. I'm just as curious to stay in touch with Pedro and follow his journey, because you'll never know.
Jessie Staszkiewicz
Apparent, Australia
Our last story starts with our call with Australia at teatime. A feat given our multiple attempts to schedule it between our business.
Meet Jessie, who just joined an independent agency. Our first exchange revealed a very positive and confident person who knows why she was in the industry in the first place. She seems excited to be leaving the holding company behind and going independent, a trend I spotted through my other conversations with Pedro and Jing Shan for this new generation of creatives. Perhaps with a driven purpose, they get to decide between the work they want to do versus a cool agency badge.
A report from Forrester answered why a holding company matters more than an independent agency. And it is demonstrated through structuring and augmenting the multiple capabilities that allow the converging of marketing services for global client needs. However, independent agencies and their capabilities are also debatable against this ongoing topic of where clients are moving to. 
Without the need for guessing, this new generation seeks different cultures and opportunities that will motivate them and fullfill their needs. But we did discuss in-depth corporate survival skills, which makes me believe the need to succeed in their career choice is the real motivator.
Brian Yessian

Brian Yessian

Yessian Music
New York
, United States of America

Mentees: Yashasvi Agrawal, Group Head – Art, DDB Mudra Group, Winnie Chen, Art Director, McCann, Shanghai and Joelle Annette, Founder & CEO, Soul Software, San Francisco 
This year was my second opportunity to be a mentor for the LIAisons coaching sessions and I was thrilled to be part of it once again.  Not only did I get to converse with these wonderful up and coming future creative leaders, I also left full of inspiration and new ways of thinking.  It always amazes me the string of emotions we go through in these sessions.  From listening to laughing and from pure passion to getting very serious.  Yes, of course we focus on our careers and what we aspire to be in this industry, but we also talk about what we love in life outside of work.  Our cultures.  The way we connect with each other around the globe. WHO we are as individuals.  This year was no different as I took journeys with some really fascinating people in our industry.  They all had a spark and they ALL are going to ignite in our industry.  Yashasvi Agrawal was a woman that wants to soak in every part of this industry.  She is creative and has well thought out ideas for her future in this industry (and beyond).  I can’t wait to see where she goes next!  Winnie Chen had me cracking up from the moment we started talking.  Wow, she is spunky and direct.  I have spent a lot of time all across China in my career, so we had an instant heart to heart conversation about EVERYTHING.  Look out world, Winnie is coming for you.  Joelle Annette has a passion for all things audio (hey that’s my passion too!).  She is well trained in music and I could tell she has a really good ear for the business.  That break into bigger parts of our industry are going to come her way because she has some fantastic ideas and is ready to soar.  LIA is giving great opportunities to the young people in our industry and I am just happy to be part of this endeavor.