Carla Alonso Cancellara
“What’s the point of having diversity if we are all going to behave in the same way? (In my ideal agency environment) abilities, skillsets and backgrounds complement each other, which generates better decision-making and better results.”
Have you encountered any obstacles in your career path, specific to gender, that you’ve had to overcome? In what creative way did you rise above it – or try to?
During a feedback meeting at an agency I worked on previously, I was told I should develop a more aggressive, more masculine leadership profile. I got confused, because my character never stopped me from achieving my objectives or imposing myself when I needed to. My accomplishments have always been based on work, energy and reasoning. Besides, what’s the point of having diversity if we are all going to behave in the same way? So, I needed to figure out my own leadership style. I’m still in this pursuit and I believe the Phyllis Project will add much in that way.
How do you open doors for other women to succeed? What has made the most difference to you in your career to date?
Whenever I learn of a new job opportunity, I try to suggest women that fit the position. I am part of virtual groups composed of creative women where we exchange information, tips, and support each other in the most diverse situations. I also keep up with some girls early in their careers, helping them to build a portfolio. I like when people see me, first and foremost, as a creative. This has enabled me to work for the most diverse clients and gain experience in the most diverse areas, from trucks and technology to food and sanitary pads.
What does your ideal agency environment look like?
There’s a balance between men and women in every department. Women are not asked to behave like men and vice versa, but they have the chance to develop the characteristics that will boost their careers. Their abilities, skillsets and backgrounds complement each other, which generates better decision-making and better results. There are equal opportunities for everyone. There’s respect among all and exchange of experiences. And that’s how the agency, clients and people thrive.
Carla Cancellara is a senior copywriter at DM9DDB Brasil. She has been working in the advertising industry for 16 years creating campaigns for global clients including McDonald’s, Fiat and Always. In 2009, she was elected a Young Lion in Film at the Cannes Festival and went on to win awards at Cannes Lions, The One Show, El Ojo, ADA and more.