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Cannes Lions See It Be It 2020 opens for applications, appoints Swati Bhattacharya as programme ambassador

The programme is designed to enable and accelerate women into senior creative roles. 15 aspiring women, from across the world, will be selected to take part in the programme in 2020. Participants receive a VIP Cannes Lions experience during the festival, including a complimentary pass, accommodation and travel

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity has thrown ‘See It Be It 2020’ open for applications. In partnership with Spotify, ‘See It Be It’ is a Cannes Lions initiative to achieve equal gender representation of creative directors and leaders across the global industry. Swati Bhattacharya, Chief Creative Officer, FCBUlka, has been appointed as See It Be It 2020’s Ambassador and Madonna Badger, CCO and founder of Badger & Winters, will remain the Chair.

Fifteen aspiring women, from across the world, will be selected to take part in the See It Be It talent accelerator programme in 2020. Participants receive a VIP Cannes Lions experience during the Festival (taking place from 22 – 26 June 2020), including a complimentary pass, accommodation and travel. The curated programme includes one-to-one mentoring sessions, networking events, master classes, workshops and behind-the-scenes jury room tours, as well as profile-building opportunities and access to some of the industry’s most influential leaders. The programme is designed to enable and accelerate women into senior creative roles.


Since its 2014 launch, See It Be It has grown to become a global movement of women, championing the goal of gender equality across the branded communications industry. A record number of over 700 applications were received in 2019.

By 2020, over 100 women will have gained a fully-funded place on the programme and many alumni have progressed into leadership positions, won multiple Lions Awards and sat on Cannes Lions juries. To cultivate a community and global network of support and learning, the See It Be It events series has now reached over 4,000 women in countries including the US, Canada, Singapore, Nigeria, Bulgaria, UK, Australia and Pakistan. As the official See It Be It partner, Spotify helps bring the initiative to life through the series, recently curating programming in London and New York, as well as initiatives at the Festival.

Danielle Lee, Global Vice-President, Partner Solutions, Spotify and See It Be It mentor, said, “This is Spotify’s third year in partnering with See It Be It and the reason is simple. See It Be It is a mission to provide a platform for creative female voices around the world seamlessly aligns with Spotify’s ethos of creating spaces for all voices to be heard. Creative and Marketing should lead the way in reflecting the audiences they serve. We’re excited to lift up the 2020 class as they are sure to inspire us.”

As Ambassador, Swati Bhattacharya will guide, advise and mentor the 2020 cohort. Bhattacharya was appointed as last year’s Ambassador, but due to a serious personal incident, she was not able to travel from India to take up her position. Swati will work with See It Be It Chair Madonna Badger to deliver the 2020 programme.

Speaking on her appointment, Bhattacharya said, “It is an honour to be given a second chance to be the See It Be It Ambassador. Last year was hugely devastating, but the incredible support I received from the See It Be It team was so special. They focused, not on what I was missing, but how they were missing me. This kind of support is what makes See It Be It so vital to the industry. My career would not have succeeded without support and I want to share my story with others. Leadership is a beautiful dance between work, life, and love. Whatever decision you make — if you’re supported — it makes anything possible.”

Badger commented, "Every year, the women of See It Be It do an exemplary job at showing off the shift towards parity and diversity that is happening in the creative industry. As a mentor, I have listened to the inspiring, ‘against all odds’ stories and challenges of rising female leaders from all over the world. It makes me proud to see how this programme has paved the way for them and continues to challenge the gender gap between male and female creative directors.”

Louise Benson, VP of Festivals, Cannes Lions, added, “It is incredible to watch See It Be It grow into a global, committed community of women who are empowering each other to progress into leadership roles in the industry. I would like to extend my thanks to the team — Swati, Madonna and to everyone at Spotify — for their tireless support and energy to make the 2020 programme the very best it can be. We can’t wait to see the applications from women around the world.”

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