2022 Creative LIAisons Mentees

Katie Burleson

Art Director
Camp + King
San Francisco
, United States of America


Coaches: Monse Valera, Group Creative Director, The Walt Disney Company, Burbank; Roxana Nita, Creative Director, DDB Romania, Bucharest and Cinthia Wen, Head of Creative, Turner Duckworth, San Francisco

Over the course of my LIA mentorship sessions, I chose to ask all three mentors about essentially the same two topics. I was curious to learn what these women (who are currently doing what I hope to do) wish they had known in my shoes and what in their present roles was the most useful skill or lesson they've learned. I’m grateful for this experience because I came away with invaluable advice for both right now and down the road. I’ve blended moments from all of the sessions as my main takeaways:

1.) Build stronger relationships with clients to break down that “creative vs client” dynamic, because simply having that bond can lead to creative and fulfilling work outside of the typical briefs. 

2.) Pick out people whose work, presenting skills, etc., I admire and question, why, so that I can go do that—not just chalking it up to experience and hoping I get there one day.

3.) Ask myself if the work I’m doing is interesting, not if it can be a passion project, or something cool, but something that is an interesting problem to solve.

4.) Doing, not overthinking, which seems like the most challenging of all of this. As we talked about the skills required in leadership roles we discussed how to give feedback and how much interpersonal relationships become a main part of the job. It often means quite a bit of listening, that maybe turns into a therapy session for your creatives, but in that listening learning what inspires them and what will help them make their best work. 

Some don’ts: ambiguous and/or piecemeal feedback, google slides, trying to reinvent the wheel for every brief, not following up for metrics after work is live, and caring too much what other people think. Some do’s: become a partner not a vendor, sell work with strategy or a sprinkle of data, leave room for creatives to play with feedback, ask why, and bring compassion and empathy. Thank you to Monse, Roxana, and Cinthia for the great conversation and pearls of wisdom, and to LIA for this opportunity.