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Reflections From Creative Coaching By 2022 Mentee Nicholas Duron

13 January 2023


Nicholas Shares the Impact of Creative LIAisons:

Being part of last year's program has been an integral part of my growth and has really benefited the work we’re doing at Digitas as a result. Most importantly, it was a lot of fun!

After spending my teenage years working in a video store, I’m no stranger to on-screen mentorship. But beyond the movies that made me, I’m forever grateful for the coaches that made time for me during this year’s virtual Creative LIAisons program: Amy Carvajal, Chief Creative Officer at Code and Theory, Malcolm Poynton, Global Chief Creative Officer at Cheil Worldwide and Adrian Mills, Partner, Creative Brand Advertising at Deloitte Digital

So, in the spirit of LIA and their mission to unify the best thinkers in the world, here’s a highlight reel from my experience.

Advice from a local legend

When I first saw Adrian Mills’ name on the mentor list, I was stoked. I thought: this guy has led some of Australia’s biggest ad agencies and now one of its biggest consultancies, I can’t wait to hear all about it. But, after what felt like a long chat with an old friend, I realised we didn’t speak about much of either of those things. Instead, we spoke about people. And how good people make all the difference. Find them, support them, be one yourself. That’s how you become a leader.  

Bring back the fun

Next up, I was lucky enough to meet with Malcolm Poynton, a Global CCO with a grassroots attitude to team culture. When I say team culture, I don’t mean ping pong tables and beer fridges. I mean creative culture – film, art and innovations that people can (and should) experience together.
His biggest piece of advice?  “Grab your team and go.”

Look beyond award shows and ad press for inspiration and find fun in the work we all want to do more of. Invite the whole agency. Only a few might show up, but those friendships and connections will be invaluable when the next brief rolls in. 

Make feedback your friend

Up until my session with Amy Carvajal, I thought I was pretty good at giving feedback. But, pretty good isn’t great. And Amy is great. Great at giving feedback, but also great at teaching others how to do the same. She went beyond the creative department, replaying real situations, where seemingly simple questions seemed to solve really complex problems. It was a crash course in creative direction and client collaboration that I couldn’t possibly fit into a page. 

But, if I had to sum it up in one word, it would be empathy. A little goes a long way and makes a big difference – not only to the work, but to the people who make it all possible. 

And one word for Creative LIAisons? Fun. 

It’s a fun program with fun people and I look forward to entering all the fun stuff Digitas is making into the show this year.