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My first time at Cannes: See It Be It

Real life Cannes experiences, as told by the people who were there

Krystle Mullin came to Cannes in 2016 as a participant of See It Be It, a mentoring programme launched by Cannes Lions as a response to the gender imbalance in the creative industry. Each year, a select group of 15 women are chosen for the ultimate Cannes Lions experience, seeing the best of the Festival and meeting inspirational figures from the industry. This is Krystle's story...

created on Tuesday 24 Jan 2017

"What I really didn’t know, however, was how much my life would change after See It Be It.  It summoned me out of my self-consciousness"
Krystle Mullin, See It Be it alumni

Krystle Mullin: 
"See It Be It became personally important to me because it was a true manifestation of what I was feeling (and had been feeling) in my career. There weren’t, and still aren’t a lot of female creative directors in my town, country, or continent. This wasn’t just my truth, but the truth for so many up and coming creative women around the world. Who did we have to look up to if only 11% of creative leaders are women? How can we see ourselves at the top when there is no one like us at the top?Cannes Lions hasn’t shied away from these sad but accurate truths.

Instead of ignoring the problem, 
Cannes Lions was going doing something. When I realised how important See It Be It was to our industry, I knew I needed to be a part of it. 

Discovering See It Be It

"I heard about SIBI through my creative director at the time, who mentioned the program as something I might be interested in applying for. After doing some research, I was hooked. The program’s mission to drive change in our industry was something noble, and I wanted to be a part of it.
I decided to apply, not expecting to be selected. Not in a million advertising years (which, by the way, are basically like dog years. One year in the business of advertising equates to about 7 years of non-advertising work). I worked very hard on my application, knowing that I should be honest about who I was and why the program mattered to me. If there was even the slightest chance of being accepted, it would be based on who I was. Not who I wasn’t. 

Getting accepted

"When I got accepted I was in shock. I actually couldn’t believe it. I remember running down the hall to my creative director’s office and trying to communicate (#OutOfBreathFromRunning) that I had been selected. Everyone at my local agency, and also within the larger network, were excited for me. They were proud of me. I was pretty proud of myself. My lack of self-confidence had been holistically challenged. 

(Meeting speakers: SIBI meet Cindy Gallop)

Arriving in Cannes

"I was super nervous. And not just run-of-the-mill ‘big client presentation’ nervous. I was “Oh shit. Yes. Shit just got real” kind of nervous. I didn’t know what to expect. I knew that we had a bunch of scheduled events and we were going to meet a number of amazingly talented and successful women (I was most looking forward to the mentoring sessions) but I didn’t know what to really expect. I remember thinking about whether or not I would fit in. 

What I really didn’t know, however, was how much my life would change after See It Be It.  It summoned me out of my self-consciousness. 

From the moment we got together it was like we had known one another for years. It felt pure and exciting and promising and full of potential. We were like kids at camp. My nervous energy disappeared out into sea, and we started our journey together. 

 (Seeing it, being it: SIBI group from 2016 with Awards Director Simon Cook, top row centre, and 2016 Group Leader and Ambassador, Sarah Watson from BBH New York. Krystle is third from left, bottom row)

Be part of See It Be It 2017

Applications for the 2017 See It Be It programme are now open.

What happened next?

As soon as I returned from Cannes, I saw women in a different way
"The SIBI class of 2016 keeps in touch on a weekly basis! In fact, we’ve created a speakers series that promotes talks on gender equality in advertising at agencies. The biggest things I took away from my SIBI experience was this: all women are allies. Every. Single. Woman.

As soon as I returned from Cannes, I saw women in a different way. I saw strangers on the street, co-workers, coffee baristas... every single woman, as an ally. We all want the same things for one another: equality and fairness.

So let’s help one another get there. 

Describe your See It Be It experience in one sentence: 
KM: "SIBI was a once-in-a-lifetime-rewrite-the-fairytale-cause-women-are-saving-one-another kind of experience." 
What do you wish you’d known before you came to Cannes? 
KM: "How to speak French."
What advice would you give to someone coming to Cannes next year on SIBI?
"Be yourself. Be open. Be honest. Get personal. Tell your story. And tell it proudly. 

Connect. Only connect. With the water, with someone else, with work, with an inspiring talk. Connect with something, because if you do, the experience will never leave you. 
I promise you, if you let it, this experience will always be a part of who you are. "

See It Be It

Krystle Mullin is an Assistant Creative Director at FCB/Six in Toronto, and attended See It Be it in 2016. Visit the See It Be It page for more information on how to take part or contribute to the programme. 

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