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Discovering Talent - A Two Way Street

By Cynthia Carrasco, talent manager, human resources, Draftfcb New York and Astrid Andujar, senior, Fashion Institute of Technology
We’re always looking forward to this season, visiting the many talented schools near and far, to check out new creative talent on the horizon. This year in particular has been a busy one with career fairs and portfolio reviews abound (and it’s not anywhere near over just yet!). 
Last week, in our first Draftfcb Healthcare Portfolio Review, and while the career fair momentum was still strong, we invited several top-performers from advertising programs along the East Coast to learn more about healthcare advertising here in New York. In turn, we learned a little more about them.  No large gymnasiums or convention centers. No lines to stand in.  No rushed conversations. A real opportunity to connect, creative-to-creative, with real response and feedback.
Some students traveled from as far as Savannah, Georgia and some from just a few blocks away.  All were equally intrigued by the prospect of a creative career in healthcare advertising… "I’m not sure I want to get into healthcare" and "maybe it’s not for me" might have been the ideas some came in with, but certainly not what they left with. 
They viewed some of the agency’s recent work, which was met with surprise and even more intrigue.  So, who better to learn more about it, than from the chief creative officer of the healthcare agency awarded “Most Creative Agency in Healthcare” for the last 4 years in a row?  Rich Levy gave a warm welcome message, shared his story and the honest truth – if you’re truly a great creative - you’ll be a great creative in general, healthcare and/or any “type” of advertising in between.
So while these recent and soon-to-be college grads have been perfecting and re-working their portfolios for career fairs, portfolio reviews and (whoa!) graduation, mostly on their turf - they were now stepping onto unfamiliar ground. After Rich’s introduction and Q&A session, they proceeded to their individual tables and set up for their portfolio reviews.  A first for some and an improved experience for others, they endured/enjoyed a 3-hour session of presenting ideas, thought processes, and finished products to several well-regarded, senior-level, creative professionals. No pressure.  
Overall, the event was a success, with a few shining stars we’re welcoming back to the agency for 2nd interviews soon! To view more pictures from the event, visit theDraftfcb Facebook page.
One of our attendees, Astrid Andujar, a senior at The Fashion Institute of Technology had this to say about the event:
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As an art student, you cherish every opportunity when a creative takes their time to go over your work. Your sense of appreciation and enthusiasm for your field grows tremendously. This is especially true when you’re getting to the graduation finish line and the opinion of the professionals in the field is even more important than before.
After a handful of portfolio reviews, I can say with confidence that the portfolio review at Draftfcb has been the most different, intimate and one of the most helpful for me. There were fewer than 15 students and a large amount of enthusiastic creatives ready to walk towards our designated desks and review our portfolios. To have a creative, working at an award-winning agency approach you and show interest in your work makes you more confident and less nervous than when you walk toward them.
This one-on-one experience also created a high level of intimacy and it seemed to release some of the anxiety that builds up when you know time is a factor when speaking with professionals. Not having to rush from table to table made me feel at ease and in more control of my review.
In my case, my work was reviewed by a professionals ranging from Art Directors, to a Talent Manager and a Copy Writer. All with very similar functions at the agency giving me completely different feedback on how to improve my portfolio pieces.
The format of this review was a terrific idea and one the of most successful portfolio reviews I’ve had the chance to be part of.
Thank you, Draftfcb!
-Astrid Andujar