Part 2: On the Ground: The Young Lions Experience at ForwardPMX

April 17, 2020

Last week, we shared an inside viewpoint of what participating in the Cannes Young Lions competition looked like this year at ForwardPMX.

Since it was the first year the agency partook, some dedicated members of our team, Matt Wing and Danielle Michaelson, spearheaded and kicked off a mentorship program where ForwardPMX talent competing would be paired with a member of the executive team to guide and coach them through the process.

We spoke with a second talented group of ForwardPMX employees to hear what their experience was like, including the most rewarding, the most challenging and most surprising or insightful elements of the competition. You can bet everyone is eagerly awaiting the Top Five finalist announcement that’s set to come in next week! Check out their responses below:

Lauren Crank, Social Media and Marketing Coordinator

What made you want to participate in the Cannes Young Lions competition?

I wanted to participate because I love competition and getting outside of my comfort zone. This experience gave me the opportunity to stretch my creative and strategic muscles, and something to add to my LinkedIn, of course!

What was the most challenging aspect of the competition?

This year’s brief threw a wrench in typical plans by adjusting the target audience to potential corporate partners rather than consumers. We had to figure out how to reach decision makers specifically through a channel that’s designed to reach everyone.

Talk about the mentorship part of the process – i.e. working with a senior leader, and presenting to our global CEO

Working with a mentor gave us more confidence to work outside of our comfort zones. Meeting with senior leadership and receiving direct feedback from James, our CEO, was such a cool experience, I felt like I was invited to leave the kid’s table at Thanksgiving.

Kyle Cotter, Director of Strategy

What made you want to participate in the Cannes Young Lions competition?

Honestly, I wanted to win!

What was the most challenging aspect of the competition?

A corporate partnership with a non-profit organization is a fairly unique media plan to have to create. So, it was difficult to think through how to best position this organization to achieve its goals.

What was your favorite part of the process?

Having our North American MD, Val, as a sponsor was awesome. It is great to see that senior leaders want to be involved in helping us grow, and Val is great at making even candid feedback fun.

Did you learn anything new through the process – i.e. a new skill or piece of knowledge?

I learned to think differently about aesthetics of presentations from past winners and how to tell a story more succinctly in PowerPoint.

Why would you recommend other young marketers compete in Cannes Young Lions?

It is a great way to engage with senior leadership, to learn something new, and to challenge yourself.

What was the most rewarding part of the process?

Seeing the final product of our hard work and getting positive feedback from JT, the CEO.

What advice would you give to future participants?

Really spend time thinking and getting feedback on a “big idea” that is both unique and related to the client’s core objective.

Talk about the mentorship part of the process – i.e. working with a senior leader, and presenting to our global CEO?

Mentorship was great. Val was really generous with her time, willing to meet with us whenever her schedule was free. JT giving feedback was also really great to see and again shows the level of involvement senior leadership has in the development of the company’s young talent.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Pete was a great teammate. He had great ideas and was more than willing to accept challenges to his own ideas.

Katherine Maglione, Assistant Media Planner

What made you want to participate in the Cannes Young Lions competition?

I thought this would be a really unique opportunity to learn about areas of media that I’m not as familiar with …Not to mention I’m a naturally competitive person, too!

What was your favorite part of the process?

My favorite part was being able to work with the amazing Abby Lopaty! She has so much knowledge and was an awesome mentor throughout the entire process. I also really enjoyed brainstorming and coming up with our “sky is the limit” idea.

What advice would you give to future participants?

Definitely do not make plans for after work and the weekends during the competition. It was a really rewarding experience, but it was a lot of work!

Alec Smith, Coordinator, Paid Search

What made you want to participate in the Cannes Young Lions competition?

I like competitions, specifically branding competitions, and I love France.

What was the most challenging aspect of the competition?

The short time frame to develop a winning campaign was the most challenging part.

What was your favorite part of the process?

Collaborating and generating creative initiatives.

Did you learn anything new through the process – i.e. a new skill or piece of knowledge?

The different media channels and media planning as a whole.

Why would you recommend other young marketers compete in Cannes Young Lions?

It was a great experience, and learning how to work well under pressure is a good quality to have.

What was the most rewarding part of the process?

Seeing the final outcome and different ideas come together.

What advice would you give to future participants?

Make time outside of working hours!

Talk about the mentorship part of the process – i.e. working with a senior leader, and presenting to our global CEO?

Working with Julian was great, because we got to meet other senior members of the company and learn different aspects of paid media. It is interesting to see how your mentors think similarly and differently than you. Namely, Julian’s approach to deck building is far different than mine. He approached presentations from a media planning perspective whereas I come from a branding/pitch background. Plus forging a relationship with a VP and CEO can never hurt!

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