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Phyllis Project

Phyllis Project

In February, our Shopper Marketing Director Carrie spent some time in New York taking part in the Phyllis Project – named after the first female copy chief in US history – an initiative launched in 2017 to increase the number of female creative leaders across the DDB network. While there Carrie attended talks and debates with leading figures in DDB, as well as taking part in the campaign pitch challenge. Read on to see how she got on..

Day 1

What a fantastic way to kick off the part two of the Phyllis Project in New York! An inspiring address from the Legendary Keith Reinhard, Chairman Emeritus of DDB Worldwide. Keith walked us through his illustrious career history and gave us much good advice on how to be great leaders. I loved his use of the ‘Leadership Tool Kit’ as he walked us through every item good leaders should keep in theirs, some of my favourites include:

  • a paint brush to paint the vision of where you want to go,
  • a compass to set the course,
  • a watering can to nurture the seeds of creativity,
  • a coffee cup to remind you of the importance of regular one-to-one time with each of your team,
  • your sword, for the occasional acts of heroism,
  • a champagne glass to remind us to celebrate the successes along the way
  • matches to ignite and re-ignite the fire of passion in those who follow us.

Hearing from Keith was followed by the return of Eric Zuncic, Chief Strategy Officer of DDB North America, who took us through next steps on our exciting (currently secret) client brief. I am proud to say that the brief that my team and I were working on is the one that has been chosen to progress! The afternoon was spent moving from strategy into what our big campaign idea is going to be. Watch this space!

Dinner was a most delicious Korean BBQ feast in downtown New York – a great start to five days of enlightenment, collaboration and learning.

Day 2

Our day started with lessons in leadership with Stuart Hardy who helped us explore the importance of our values and drivers as leaders and the tensions that can arise in dealing with aligning those with the vision of the company, the desires of clients, and the entrenched beliefs and behaviours of agency traditions. We discovered that innovation is at the top of the list of what clients want from their agencies and discussed how innovation rather than volume is how to win in 2020 and beyond.

We were then treated to an hour and a half with the inspirational Wendy Clark, CEO of DDB Global who reminded us of the immense challenges facing our clients right now and how bravery and collaboration are key to a strong and sustainable partnership. Wendy spoke incredibly candidly of the particular challenges facing brilliant female leaders today, how she deals with getting the right blend of work and home life and she gave us tips on overcoming both imposter and ‘superwoman syndrome’ – accept all offers of help to allow you to do what you need to do!

We enjoyed a fantastic debate with a panel of great female leaders (and one new male one) from across the network with the focus being how to be your authentic self at work. Their stories were funny, poignant and enlightening!

Our afternoon was spent continuing to develop our campaign ideas with the guidance of the brilliant Lisa Topol, CCO DDB New York. An action-packed day with so many great take outs and lessons for a life in leadership!

Day 3

On our last full day this is my amazing team post pitch presentation. All four teams did an amazing job in the 24 hours we had to turn the brief around. The client will be spoilt for choice with amazing campaign ideas to choose from.

Day 4

We spent the whole of yesterday and part of Wednesday working on our campaign pitches. I am pleased to say that our team’s idea was the one the judging panel (including Wendy Clark) want to proceed with. It needs some refinement and we will have to work on it some more before the client fully buys it, but it is exciting! I can’t wait to share the work with the agency at some point in the next week or so. This morning we have Wendy with us again for a couple of hours and then we are doing a little sightseeing before I head to the airport.


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