3% Q&A: The Cre8tors
Kat Gordon is a Creative Director turned social change entrepreneur who has been named "Visionary of the Year" by Advertising Age and one of "30 Most Creative Women in Advertising" by Business Insider. 12 years ago, she launched The 3% Movement to spotlight the enormous underrepresentation of women in creative leadership. Through the movement's events, research and culture consulting, female creative directors now account for 29% of the industry. Kat lives in Napa Valley where she coaches creative leaders and hosts creative retreats. She has two young adult sons and a Black Lab named Trixie.
I recently reconnected with an old acquaintance from Edelman and was lit up by the new company she's started. Dani Jackson Smith truly is bringing all of herself to her work and will likely inspire many of you to do the same. Here's what she's up to.
Dani, you fall into that category of "creative people we love most": those who have straddled so many worlds that you can't easily fit into one box or another. PR. Music. Artist Management. DEI leader. Tell us how these various roles led you to imagine and build The Cre8tors.
I'm obsessed with how creative storytelling, in all its forms, enables us to build community. I concern myself with connecting to people, their experience and positively impacting communities. I've allowed these core values to take me on different paths that piqued my interest or were of importance to me. I've worked with artists throughout my personal and professional life so in many ways The Cre8tors has always been in me rather than a completely new discovery at the end of the rainbow.
Early in my career, when I couldn't get an agency to hire me, I hired myself. I led online marketing for then upcoming artist Nipsey Hussle with my Street Knowledge Media crew and connected musicians to agencies like JWT NY and Deutsch NY with my company adArtist. I grew in the advertising side of things thanks to programs like the 4A's MAIP, AAF and ADCOLOR. Being a part of these organizations early in my career provided me with a community and network of professionals that taught me how to articulate the intricacies of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion long before this was at the forefront of industry conversation. My first official ad agency role was a producer at Leo Burnett and then I later went on to be senior producer at Havas Worldwide and Edelman. Fast forward and I had the joy of becoming a VP of DEI & Multicultural Marketing at Edelman and later leaving as VP of Influence.
In many ways, launching The Cre8tors is a full circle moment. I choose to work with artists that are rooted in culture and curate partnerships that drive social impact because it's an opportunity to be my full self and put some good into the world.
What projects are you working on right now that light you up?
A lot of the projects that I'm working on are confidential but I am truly inspired and excited by the amazing artists that I have the privilege of working with.
Shala, who specializes in solar art is in pre-production on a new monument.
John Jennings (Award-Winning Graphic Novelist), who has the Marvel Silver Surfer Ghostlight comic series that has been doing amazingly.
I'm also working with an amazing roster of women, including Indie 184 (Muralist), Claudia Steer (Interior Design), Danielle Alston (Director/Photographer), KJ Rose (Performance Coach) and Chef Jamika Pessoa (Culinary Mindfulness).
Lastly, I'm amped by an upcoming project that I'm working on with A Banner Vision, led by Grammy-Award winning producer, actor and philanthropist David Banner that leans into cultural exploration.
The name alone of your Create Over Hate podcast is compelling. What vision do you have for these conversations?
The podcast Create Over Hate is set to debut in August and elevates the voices and approaches of people counteracting global issues with creative solutions. As humans we all have access to creativity via traditional and non traditional means. When we access our creative minds, we have the power to dismantle and replace broken systems that don't serve the good of our global community. We aim to encourage people to take part, whether big or small, in creating positive solutions rather than simply hating from the sidelines.
Lastly, how can the 3% Community follow your growth?