The 3% Conference: Positivity Abounds

Digitas

The 3% Conference: Positivity Abounds

Julie Whiting

This year’s 3% Conference focused on the theme of “The 29%”. The conference had the goal (and nearly met it) of having 29% of attendees identify as a man. Why 29%, you ask? That’s the current representation of women creative directors (according to the most recent research conducted by 3%). The conference wanted men to experience the exact ratio of their women peers for a couple of days.

My favorite part of 3% is the diverse lineup of speakers and attendees. It’s a wonderful feeling to experience so many brilliant minds, strong voices and empowered people in one space over two days.

The conference featured fantastic session after fantastic session. I loved the theme of empathy and positive thinking apparent in multiple discussions. My two favorites were “Why Positive Psychology Belongs in Feedback” and “The Power of Feeling Your Feelings”. 

With the idea of incorporating positive psychology into feedback, the speakers hit home on how you don’t learn about success by focusing on failure, instead, we should focus on what is working and amplify that. Post mortems are the norm after a trying project or lost pitch, but rarely do we dissect big wins or brilliant presentations. All too often, we move on to the next project before analyzing what went oh so well.  The speakers encouraged attendees to direct their energy to the wins and strengths of a team.

In the “Power of Feeling Your Feelings” session, the moderator discussed how to harness your feelings. In the same vein as the other session, the moderator talked about how taking time to celebrate all of the successful moments is just as important as reviewing a project that could have gone better. The session discussed how being a great leader isn’t just in the thinking mind, but also in the heart mind, which fosters creative energy. It’s important to take the time to replenish your creative energy, because you can’t cultivate great ideas within your team if you yourself are tapped out.

The last session that I’d be remiss not to mention was inspiring, sweet and gave me hope for the future: “We Started a Feminist Club at Our All-Boys High School” featured two high school senior boys talking about, well, starting a feminist club at their all-boys high school. The two presenters were thoughtful and really passionate about the topic. Both young men wanted to have a club to educate and learn how to be supportive friends and allies to their women counterparts. It was one of the last sessions of the conference and was inspiring to see such a bright spot for the future.

My Key Takeaways:

  • Lead with humanity -- from big pitches to small wins, focus on the team.
  • Be curious! Ask questions; if you think there’s another way, sharing that may lead to success. 
  • Take a step back to think about how others think about themselves; or a revised ‘golden rule’ of “Do unto others as they would do unto themselves.” Meaning think about what’s important to the other person or team and work toward that goal.
  • You learn nothing about success by focusing on failure; focus on what’s working and amplify that.

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