I have almost ten years of work experience in advertising as an Art Director. After a long time I decided to chase my dream: taking a round the world trip. In spite of having a hearing loss, I rely on my high visual capacity, which is an advantage in my profession as an Art Director. Currently, i have been to regions such as: Dubai, South East Asia, Australia, New Zealand, USA and now, Canada. This trip gives me many clues, clarity, clearness and possibilities. It is indeed limitless – networking literally and figuratively.
It isn’t that weird: just an advertising agency walk in
If you really want expand your network abroad you can’t expect people to coming to you – so you go to them. Without appointment i walk in several advertising agencies. A lot of agencies notify they don’t have time for you. But sometimes you get lucky. I was welcome at JWT in New Zealand.
Be open for meeting people (even it’s by accident)
Be open during your travels for meeting people randomly. How coincidental those meetings can be! Those random
meetings can always help you. You talk about a lot of things with those people. It ranges from traveling itself,
questions you always want to ask about yourself, and your work. I met a copywriter from New York in Seattle, Josh
Stark.. After a short conversation instantly the subject was advertising. Because of him I have some contacts in New
Everything is a possibility.
If you think in some cases it’s a dead end – you’re probably wrong. A good example was in Portland, Oregon. I
walked in at Wieden + Kenney in Portland, Oregon. It wasn’t possible to meet creatives. However it wasn’t possible to
talk one of the creatives. Interestingly, in the lobby (W+K Gallery) there was an Ellen McFadden painting exhibit. I
contacted the Ellen to talk about her paintings and that I recently posted a blog about the paintings. Ellen responded on
my e-mails and let me introduced by with the designer of the exhibit poster. Surprisingly, this designer is the creative
director at Microsoft.
Persistence paid off
Sending an e-mail to agencies and creatives is easy that’s why they receive tons of e-mails every day. They just don’t
read it or respond on it because it’s too many. But persistence paid off if you keep e-mailing (every receiver once) an
executive creative director from Sydney, Australia contacted me and I’m welcome to visit TBWA Toronto.
Check if there are any announced gatherings
The internet is a common way to check if there any announced gatherings or meetings around in the specific city you
want to visit. You get in touch with a lot of creatives and they’re able to give you good tips. My last one was actually
in Amsterdam during a gathering of the Dutch Young Creatives.
Use your current network
It’s like an opening a door – tapping into the network helped me to find the contact I was looking for abroad. The
IFHOHYP (International Federation of Hard of Hearing Young People) helped me connect with with people living
outside the Netherlands. These contacts may know some people in the advertising business. Or on the LinkedIn
Keep the contact alive
You can keep those contacts alive by contacting them every single half year or use the advice they gave to you during
your visit or meeting and send the message of you using their advice. As an Art Director I use my portfolio as the
binding factor. When the creatives have some comment on the portfolio I change the portfolio and send it back. Be
realistic that half of the contacts you made during your journey will likely fade. Try to meet them if you or them are in
Once in your lifetime opportunity
If you take this opportunity enjoy it to the fullest but maximize it as well. Maybe stay one day longer in a city for that
special creative event. Or walk a couple of blocks further even when you are tired to visit the agency you want.
Changing dates by visiting the exhibition in a museum. If you have the opportunity when you are in a specific region
or city, take advantage of it. Those extra couple of hours are worth it
Just do it.
Last but not least. If go on a round the world trip you already face the most difficult part. DO IT. You climbed over the
wall to make dreams come true. But when you are underway you still face a lot of challenges, even when visiting
agencies and meeting creative people. Don’t doubt. Just do it to meet them. Have the guts to do it. If you standing in
front of an office of a huge company and you have the nerves just think:do it.
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