CIA: Chicks in Advertising is a meet up group that brings people together who are passionate about advertising, to encourage more women to enter the creative industries. Find out more here
Read the interview with CIA Founder Olivia Downing. How and why did you come up with the idea of creating CIA? I was delving more into the problems of gender equality within the industry, but could find nothing except dull ‘diversity’ panel talks in Manchester. No one seemed to be doing anything active about it at all. I set up the CIA because I wanted to hear womens’ own version of how they got into their respective disciplines, and discuss ads with both men and women alike. I’m very fortunate that other people wanted to do that with me.
-How can people contribute or be part of your initiative? We’re always looking for sponsors! At the moment, we rely entirely on the good will of businesses to help us out. And anyone who can help spread the word or attend would be very much appreciated.
-What are your plans for the future or the next steps for CIA? I’d love to be able to franchise out the CIA to other cities in the UK, maybe even beyond that. Ultimately, I’d like it to become a thing in and of itself and let the students take charge of it, as they are the biggest attendees.
-I read you used to be a comedian in Paris, and was once even a professional bra fitter. How did you end up becoming a copywriter and working in advertising? And do you cherish a special souvenir about your time as a comedian in Paris that you would like to share with us? That’s true! And honestly I wouldn’t have become a copywriter if I hadn’t once been doing a set with a creative director, who pointed me in this direction – I didn’t even know this industry existed before then. A special memory? Really just being adopted by the warm English speaking community of comedians in Paris. It can be very lonely living abroad, especially when you’re not speaking your native tongue. The Americans and other comics I met were so welcoming, and they really made my time abroad special.
-Where do you get your creative inspiration from? I’m an English Literature grad, so I read pretty widely and varied and that helps a lot. I’m also a huge fan of theatre so I see a lot of plays and watch a lot of live streams. I think it’s good to get your inspiration from outside of advertising, as well as from within it.
-Have you already thought what you want your legacy to be? Not particularly yet! But I would love to be remembered as the person who went out of their way to help others succeed.
-Do you have any favourite quote/motto/slogan? Be the change you want to see in the world.
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