A Scholarship made to drive Gender Equality in the Industry
The first recipients of the Helen Lansdowne Resor (HLR) Scholarship, which is awarded annually to five of the most talented female creative advertising students around the world, have been announced by J. Walter Thompson.
Launched in an effort to address and correct the unfortunate reality that although women control the majority of consumer spending in much of the world, as they comprise just 11% of creative directors in the U.S. (3% Conference, 2014) and 14% globally (The Advertising Society, 2014), the HLR Scholarship aims to shift the industry paradigm.
“As an industry, we must invest in the power of female creativity — it is critical to brands and business to bring diverse talents and perspectives to the table,” said Matt Eastwood, J. Walter Thompson Company Worldwide Chief Creative Officer. “We must create better opportunities for female talent to lead. We’re very proud of the HLR Scholarship’s mission to recognise, support and mentor our future creative pioneers.”
The HLR Scholarship focuses on supporting and mentoring young women of diverse backgrounds who aspire to join the creative ranks. It awards five individual scholarships up to $10,000, paid summer internships with a J. Walter Thompson office, a J. Walter Thompson mentor and a “first look” placement consideration upon graduation.
“Nurturing our young, rising talent has always been an important initiative for J. Walter Thompson,” said Laura Agostini, J. Walter Thompson Company Chief Talent Officer. “We are passionately committed to supporting the next generation of creative leaders around the world, and in driving gender equality in the industry.”
The five recipients of the first HLR scholarship represent every global region and are among the world’s most promising young female creative talent.
From the Middle East region, Rawan Obaid is the lucky winner. Rawan attends the American University of Sharjah, UAE and will graduate
in Spring 2017, with a degree in Multimedia Design and Photography minor.
“On behalf of everyone involved in awarding this scholarship to Rawan Obaid, one of five scholarships awarded globally, this is such a great achievement. At J. Walter Thompson we are taking a proactive approach to ensure that the creative industry is promoted to young women, and that these women can and should have a lifelong and fulfilling career in our industry. This is a great opportunity for Rawan to do just that, and she should be very proud. The opportunity for Rawan is completely aligned to our investment in local talent, internship included, which is all part of us bringing on the next generation of creatives and marketers from the region, for the region,” stated Vatche Keverian, CEO J. Walter Thompson MENA.
Upon the announcement, the Dean of College of Architecture, Art and Design, at the American University of Sharjah, Dr. Varkki George Pallathucheril noted: "I very much appreciate the support from J. Walter Thompson Worldwide for increasing participation by women in the creative professions. The award also serves to raise the profile of these professions. I am delighted that Rawan Obaid is the first recipient from the MEA region because this is a recognition of the high quality of design students at AUS."
The HLR Scholarship, named after the industry and J. Walter Thompson’s first female copywriter, Helen Lansdowne Resor, was first established in partnership with the 4A’s during the agency’s 150th anniversary in 2014. Since its inception, the scholarship has been promoted at leading industry events like the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Spikes Asia and Advertising Week in New York City, as well as the 3% Conference. It has also received widespread international media attention from The New York Times, The Globe and Mail, Campaign and more.
Also on the same front, it is noteworthy mentioning that J. Walter Thompson has been an industry-leading voice on gender equality issues, most recently hosting a lively discussion in partnership with The New York Times during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity on how technology and globalisation are reframing gender equality.
Rawan Obaid, HLRS winner 2015, at JWT Dubai office