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Where Rachel met Bob

Cannes Lions is made of stories. Stories of inspiration, success, failure – and always creativity.

Rachel Kennedy, junior creative at Saatchi & Saatchi Canada, joined the Young Creative Academy in Cannes and realised she’d be learning from legendary former creative boss Bob Isherwood.She was understandably nervous at the prospect of learning from the man who’d put creativity front and centre at the network and helped it win thousands of creative awards. There was no need for her to worry, and spending a week with Bob had a profound and immediate impact on Rachel and her career: just months after graduating she’d left Toronto for Europe and a new role in Amsterdam.

created on Thursday 16 Mar 2017

"Don’t hold back. Participate to your fullest."
Rachel Kennedy
(Image: Rachel Kennedy, far left, with fellow Academy students at Cannes Lions)

CANNES LIONS: What made you decide to apply for the Academy? 
RACHEL 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: Rachel 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." 

The Cannes Lions School
Rachel Kennedy is an Art Director at 180 Amsterdam. She attended the Young Creative Academy in 2015. 

More information on the different Academy programmes can be found in the Training and learning area of the site.