IWD2019: Jessica Shriftman Wants You to Realize Your Worth. “You’ve Got the Leg Up Now.”
WORKING NOT WORKING
We’re supporting Balance for Better as part of International Women’s Day and celebrating spectacular female creatives on Working Not Working who need to be on your radar in 2019. We’re delighted to highlight 9 members who lead the creative conversation through both their careers and personal projects. This interview series covers the pursuit of professional creativity and the breakthroughs, accomplishments, ambitions, dreams, and lessons that follow.
WNW Member Jessica Shriftman is a New York-based advertising art director. She’s currently full-time at Wieden+Kennedy, and has created work for Google Chrome, Johnny Walker, Diet Coke, and Facebook. Jessica’s work has been recognized by Cannes, Clio, and One Show. She has also appeared twice on Business Insider’s 30 Most Creative People In Advertising Under 30. Below, Jessica shares why the collaborative process in advertising continues to excite her and why women are finally well-positioned to discover the scope of their potential. “Look at yourself as a powerful asset, not an inferior one. When I first started out, I felt like men had the leg up. I didn't even want to get highlights in my hair as to not portray myself in a more feminine way. Crazy – I know. But now agencies are finally seeking female talent: realize your worth. You've got the leg up now.”
What was the catalyst for pursuing a creative career? What kept you going to get to where you are now?
In high school I sucked at band, orchestra, and chorus. Art felt different. Then in college, I had an internship at the Martin Agency and realized ad agencies were kinda neat and different. What has kept me going is the excitement in making the work – collaborating with true craftsmen in their field, be it directors, cinematographers, illustrators, typographers, etc. And then seeing your work out in the world and having it mean something to someone (every now and then).
What's your proudest creative breakthrough, project, or accomplishment and why?
I'd say our OkCupid campaign, DTF. It was an ad that didn't look like an ad. It twisted something in a provocative way. It was a risk for the client to put out, but paid off big. The work actually grew OkCupid's user base by 25% in the markets it ran. Many people have told me they joined OkCupid because of the campaign and found their partner there. So that's a cherry on top.
What's the one piece of advice you'd share with fellow creative women?
Look at yourself as a powerful asset, not an inferior one. When I first started out, I felt like men had the leg up. I didn't even want to get highlights in my hair as to not portray myself in a more feminine way. Crazy – I know. But now agencies are finally seeking female talent: realize your worth. You've got the leg up now.
Pay it forward. Name a badass creative and tell us why they inspire you right now.
Jaclyn Crowley. She's a mom and a badass. She makes doing 50 things at once look easy even when it isn't. And she always finds the fun in things.
What would be your dream project or job?
My dream job would involve a 4-day work week. It would be in-house at a brand with substance. My current clients are wonderful, don't get me wrong, but there is something refreshing and exciting to me about the thought of removing all the corporate layers involved in selling an idea up the food chain and simply making what you want to make.