Umma Saini, Brand & Creative Lead, Google India on the London International Awards Creative LIAisons program
Umma Saini’s journey in advertising began right after college and over a decade later she is one of the youngest and most celebrated Creative Directors in the world.
In 2016, Saini was one of the young creatives that had the opportunity to participate in the Creative LIAisons program. Here is what she has to say about her experience:
Being a part of Creative LIAisons program was truly life changing for me – in more ways than one. I was part of the LIAisons in 2016. When my boss gave me the news that I was going to Vegas for a program by the London International Awards, I thought it was joke. Too good to be true, right?
People from my group would remember me as ‘the girl who asked many questions’. And why not! Here were experts from around the world sharing pearls of wisdom and I was gathering them all. The most definitive one for me was when I learnt how “Being a Creative Director means you have to GIVE a lot.” This was something no one had ever told or even exhibited to me. Sorry to say but we aren’t always surrounded by the best idols, reason why we need to seek answers from better sources. I have seen my share of insecure, selfish CDs, so this really reframed what being a leader meant to me. It was eye opening.
As part of one of the workshops we had the opportunity to share our ideas with the entrepreneurs from “Shark Tank” [Daymond John and Kevin Harrington] – for real! LIAisons has participants from all around the world, and to see that the ideas from my team were selected to present to the ‘Sharks’ really boosted my confidence and made me feel that my thinking has value beyond the confines of my country.
Soon after, I took the first ever stride outside my country and moved from India to Singapore. I also became the first woman from India to speak at forums like Cannes and Adfest. The power of ideas can truly cut through all boundaries.
LIAisons was also my first exposure to a jury room. Juries had always fascinated me. LIAisons is the only program in the world that gives you the exclusive opportunity to watch a jury in action. How did it pay off? Two years later I was invited to be the Jury President at an award show. I had never sat on a jury, let alone be the president. I would never have know what to do if I hadn’t been in that room in 2016? It’s joining the dots at it’s best.
I have taken yet another leap, I am now the Brand & Creative Lead at Google India. The lessons and experiences from LIA are still close to my heart. It’s a gift that gives for a long long time.
Many thanks to Josy Paul from BBDO India who saw me worthy of being a part of this priceless experience. And of course to Barbara, Laurissa, Patricia and the entire wonderful team at LIA who put this together selflessly and tirelessly every year and change impressionable minds in so many positive ways. I am sure I speak for everyone who has ever been a part of it when I say – THANK YOU!
BONUS: I got to see Bob Dylan LIVE while there – a couple of days after he had won the Nobel Prize for literature! Never forget LIA happens in Vegas. But what happens here definitely stays with you forever!