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How to navigate a successful creative career

Another incredible NABS Tuesday Club talk has just been and gone, this time with Dots founder Pip Jamieson moderating the debate between:

  • Sir John Hegarty, Founder Creative – BBH
  • Chaka Sobhani, Chief Creative Officer, Leo Burnett
  • Rebecca Petts Davies, Graphic Designer, Wunderman UK

Or as Pip liked to call them ‘the dinosaur, the unicorn and the pigeon’ (you had to be there. It was well worth it).

Aiming to leave the audience ‘feeling inspired and empowered to navigate their careers more successfully’ I think the entire audience would have gone away thinking NABS had succeeded. Drawing on three very different careers the panellists shared great personal experience on themes as varied as how to stand out when going for freelance work, the advent of new technologies and their effect on creativity and the need to constantly stay inspired.

A few of my personal favourites from the evening just to give you a taste of what you missed out on:

On the influence of data in advertising:

‘The point of a brand is difference. If we listen to data we end up at the same place as everyone else.’

How to keep your career going beyond the regular 10-year shelf life:

‘Cynicism is the death of creativity.’ ‘I work in advertising I don’t live in advertising.’ ‘Don’t look at a screen all day. That’s been done. Come into the office in the morning and switch on a person.’

And on the current fetishisation of failure:

‘Creativity is about confidence. You shouldn’t focus on your mistakes. Forget your mistakes instantly. You’ve got to maintain your confidence.’

-Sir John

‘There’s never a point when I feel like “yep, I’ve seen everything now”.’


On the death of certain jobs (such as journalism) and their transformation into new roles (such as Dots’ trending ‘Content Manager’):

‘Your skills are transferable across a myriad of industries.’