DDB Mudra Group supports #CreativeComeback, a ‘returners’ program by UK non-profit Creative Equals for under-served talent

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Creative Equals, a UK-based nonprofit global inclusion consultancy, has launched #CreativeComeback in India. With successful editions in London and New York, the program starts with Mumbai to help women, non-binary and gender non-conforming individuals, who’ve taken a career break come back into the workforce.

This two-week boot camp aims to destigmatize career gaps and turn them into an advantage by retraining this creative talent. In association with D&AD as training partners and Diageo, a brand committed to gender equality, the mission is to #BreakTheBias in advertising creative departments of art, copy and design.

DDB Mudra Group will provide mentoring support and potential job opportunities to participants at the end of the program.

Registrations open for applications from Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. Last date 25 February, 2022.

Deepika Warrier, CMO Diageo India, Diageo says, “At Diageo, inclusion and diversity is central to our purpose of celebrating life, every day, everywhere and we’re committed to creating a working culture in which our people feel like they belong and can bring their authentic selves to work. Today, for example, 22% of Diageo India’s overall workforce (as against 7.5% in 2015), 4 of 8 executives in the Excom are women. In our brand & creative side, over 45% of our content work has been led, directed or portrayed by women creators, and over 10% of our work by creators on the gender identity spectrum. We will continue this focus on gender equality and equity throughout the globe, specifically at the creative table, as we know gender equality makes for better, more representative advertising. We know women‘ are 11 times more likely to not work after COVID job loss,’ (The Times Of India, 2021) & also step out during certain life stages and then find it difficult to hit their stride when they return. This is particularly true of the creative industry sector. #CreativeComeback helps the industry #BreakTheBias by changing the view on CV gaps to being ‘gifts’. We know when women take a career break, their life experiences bring them back with a deeper perspective.”

Chief Executive of Creative Equals, Ali Hanan said, “Losing women at this critical juncture in their careers means there are few women creative directors in India. Creative directors curate the media billions of Indian women see. As a study by the Unicef and the Geena Davis institute shows, advertising doesn’t portray the modern Indian woman who is tech-savvy and discerning, instead of perpetuating potentially harmful stereotypes. Without gender equality at creative leadership, brands could be missing out on millions of rupees of potential revenue, as more than 85% of purchasing decisions are made by Indian women across all categories, from insurance to cars to homes.”

Speaking about how Creative Equals’ mission and actions resonate with their own, Aditya Kanthy, CEO & MD, DDB Mudra Group said, “A lot of the work we have been doing at the DDB Mudra Group aligns perfectly with Creative Equals’ mission. Through the Phyllis India Project, we are training women to take on leadership roles and lead creative mandates for the company and the industry. Over 20 women, some of whom are our most talented creative voices, have been through this project. Similarly, the Open Pride initiative is directed at promoting a fair representation of the LGBTQIA+ community at DDB, and also in the creative work we produce. DDB Transit is India’s first internship program for trans individuals, that we have been supporting since last year.

Driving change in the industry also requires us to work with our clients and influence the creative process and product. For example, the partnership with Diageo on Free The Bid helps us identify and promote exceptional women’s talent in advertising production. Some of our best work in recent years has come from these incredibly talented women directors. Being a part of #CreativeComeback is not just an opportunity to contribute, it is an opportunity to learn how to lead conversations and actions in the DEI space.”


Other agencies such as Isobar, VMLY&R, FCB and Virtue Worldwide have also signed up for the programme.

If you are a returner and would like to take part in the #CreativeComeback program, the application deadline is 25 February 2022. The program will run virtually from 28 March to 8 April 2022.