Maybe Cinderella Got It Right: Courage & Kindness in Advertising
Cinderella. I hate her.
She doesn’t stand up for herself. Can’t work things out with her stepmother or sisters. Runs off with a man she barely knows. And loses great shoes.
I love her. She stays behind from the ball to do the real work. Takes on the jobs no one else wants. Smiles while she works. And, if you follow the most recent incarnation of the tale, lives by the mantra, “Have courage and be kind.”
Ah Cinderella. It’s taken me about four decades, but I think I finally get you. Earlier this fall, I canceled plans to attend the 3% Conference in New York. We were awarded a great project and the clients needed us on site. The ball would have to wait.
But instead of a fairy godmother to whisk me away to the Big Apple in a big pumpkin, an even better woman intervened.
Enter Katie, one of the rising stars in our creative department, who agreed to attend in my place. Katie works tirelessly on one of our most challenging clients. Her team has the lowest attrition rate of the department. They deliver great work and know how to have fun doing it. They are entering four Effie entries this year on their one client alone. Up from two last year. Up from none the year before.
There are no princes. Or glass slippers. Just a crew of hardworking people passionate about not just doing good things, but also about doing the right things. Led by a woman who comes to work everyday with that single purpose.
We forget about that sometimes in this business. With the promotions and awards and pitches and daily struggle to just make our ideas heard—there is a place for simply doing the right thing. And leading your team that way, like Katie does. Turns out, Katie was perfect choice attend the 3% Conference, representing the kind of leadership, male or female, that this business sorely needs.
The lesson for me in this? Take a hint from Cinderella, just a little bit, instead of hating her so much. Find the lesson hidden in the silly fairy tale trappings. Or better yet, take a hint from Katie.
Have courage. Be kind. Do the hard work. Go fearlessly to the ball.
And when you do, strap those shoes on tight.
Laura Johnston is ECD at Geometry Global Chicago