Rachel Kennedy recalls her experience at the Young Creative Academy in the Cannes Lions School
Cannes Lions is many things to many people. For some it's the ultimate meeting and networking event of the year. For others, it's a chance to recharge creative batteries by listening to inspirational speakers and viewing the best work in the world. But for many young people in the industry, Cannes Lions is an intensive learning experience: a boot camp for creativity where students get specialist training from the best brains in the industry.
(Image: Rebecca Kennedy, far left, with fellow Academy students at Cannes Lions)
CANNES LIONS: What made you decide to apply for the Academy?
REBECCA KENNEDY: "I heard about it from our internal recruiter at Saatchi NYC. I read the description and it sounded amazing. It’s important to me that I continue to learn and grow beyond the office throughout my career. I’m always looking for ways to ‘reset’ my views on advertising. My CD was very supportive, he helped make it happen."
CL: Just before you came to the Festival, how did you prepare?
RK: "I was excited to meet all of the other students in the Academy, and of course very excited to meet Bob Isherwood. I prepared mostly by trying to think of witty things to say to him."
CL: Once you were at the Festival what did it feel like?
RK: "The Academy is valuable as a whole. All of the seminars and workshops are were relevant and interesting to me. I loved the speed-brainstorming session, it opened my mind to another way of thinking. I also loved the camaraderie of all the students in the program. It was a better experience because we got to do it all together."
(Graduation day: Rebecca Kennedy with Academy Dean Bob Isherwood)
CL: After the Festival, what were your lasting impressions?
RK: "It made me much more ambitious and open-minded in my approach to creative work. I felt like all the processes I had become used to were shaken out of me, in a good way."
CL: Describe your Academy experience in one sentence
RK: "The Creative Academy exposed me to a completely different side of the advertising industry."
CL: What do you wish you’d known before you came to Cannes?
RK: "To pace myself!"
CL: What advice would you give to someone coming to Cannes next year on an Academy?
RK: "Don’t hold back. Participate to your fullest. Ask questions, answer questions, start arguments, solve problems, scream, shout, put up your hand. You get back what you put in."