The Drum’s 50 Under 30 US, part two: introducing the creative leaders of tomorrow

Each day this week, The Drum is publishing profiles of some of the highest achieving young women in creative roles in North America. Make sure you don’t miss out by signing up to our newsletter.

The Drum’s 50 Under 30 US showcases outstanding emerging talent. Based on hundreds of nominations from our readers and curated with the help of industry experts, the list sets out to champion the next generation of industry stars, highlighting their career achievements to date and ambitions for the future.

Catch up on part one here, and meet our latest set of honorees below.

Candice Drakeford, art director, Anomaly

Candice Drakeford is an art director at Anomaly who works on brands such as Carnival, New York Life, and Beautyrest. Previously, she worked at Droga5’s New York office on clients like Chase, Blue Apron and MailChimp, and The Martin Agency in Richmond. She helped out creatives as a 2017 MAIP mentor, and was a speaker at New York City College of Technology’s Meet the Pros series.

During her time studying at The Creative Circus, she interned for The Dalton Agency and won a Gold Young Guns International Award for TV/Cinema, as well as a student ADDYs Award for a TV campaign.

Outside of work, Drakeford is a recreational scuba diver and serves as a petty officer first class in the US Coast Guard Reserves.

Chavonne Hodges, global learning manager, Wunderman

Chavonne Hodges, a global learning manager at Wunderman and startup founder, has worked in advertising and fitness for eight years. Her career started at The One Club, where she helped multiple young and diverse creatives get ahead by expanding its Education Festival during NYC Creative Week and Creative Boot Camp in cities like London, Chicago, New York and Atlanta. She then worked at McCann Worldgroup for four years as a global learning associate.

In 2016, Hodges started fitness company GrillzandGranola, which curates and creates wellness and fitness experiences. With branded fitness class TrapAerobics, her aim is to ‘reinvent exercise’ using creativity and trap music. The class has captured the attention of the media, as well as companies like Facebook, Tumblr and Droga5.

In another project, Hodges set out to improve diversity in fitness stock images, so formed ClickCliqueNYC in order to create more diverse stock imagery. This landed her a modeling job for Target’s C9 Champion ‘A New Kind of Strong’ campaign. Earlier this year she launched Zen Day, a wellness conference for women of color which was sponsored by Under Armour Women, Nokia and Herschel.

Chelsea Smith, associate marketing and new business specialist, Campbell Ewald

Chelsea Dionne Smith is an associate marketing and new business specialist at Campbell Ewald. Starting at the agency via 4A’s Multicultural Advertising Intern Program, Smith joined the agency while completing her senior year at university remotely. Her project management, prospecting, pitch-support and cross-office coordination skills have been influential to five new business wins for the agency since her arrival.

Alongside her traditional roles and responsibilities, Smith is committed to diversity and inclusion efforts. In addition to developing and facilitating ‘A Seat at the Table,’ an agency discussion about the importance of creating diverse and inclusive spaces for young professionals, Smith has also executed efforts aligned with LGBTQ+, immigration and youth outreach programs on behalf of Campbell Ewald.

Dahcia Lyons-Bastien, chief marketing officer, Shade

Dahcia Lyons-Bastien is a writer and the chief marketing officer of Boogie Brands, a holding company that builds products and services to help marketers stay relevant in today’s culture. Lyons-Bastien leads marketing and strategy for Boogie Brands’ flagship brands, Boogie’s marketing consultancy, and Shade, an influencer management agency for black and brown creators.

When she’s not leading her team to successful project planning and execution, she speaks at events and on college campuses about social media marketing and starting a career in the marketing industry.

Dani Meluski-Jimenez, art director, Grow

Dani Meluski-Jimenez is an art director whose resume includes Deutsch, Rokkan, Hill Holliday, Erwin Penland and PP+K. She has led national integrated campaigns for the likes of Target, Google, JetBlue, Coca-Cola, and Trulia. In the past couple of years, she helped launch two national campaigns for Target, including the brand’s first totally kid-created campaign, ‘To School & Beyond.’

This year, Meluski-Jimenez joined digital agency Grow as art director. In the spring, she helped launch a National Small Business Week initiative of Google’s ‘#SmallThanks’ campaign, which earned the project a highlight on the homepage of the Google Blog.

A passionate supporter of female creatives, Meluski-Jimenez has been mentoring young women since the beginning of her advertising career. Through her involvement with the Marcus Graham Project, MAIP and other local initiatives, Meluski-Jimenez has played an active role in helping cultivate the next generation of industry thought leaders. She hopes to continue giving her time to advance that cause.

Debbie Pan, art director, Droga5

Debbie Pan is an art director at Droga5 in New York City. She joined the agency as an intern, and quickly moved up the ranks to a full-time art director before graduating from college at ArtCenter College of Design.

In her two years at Droga5, she’s launched Sprint’s ‘Works For Me’ rebrand and was a core part of the team that kicked off Sprint’s second year of Droga5 work with a Super Bowl commercial. Last November, she helped turn the New Museum inside out for its 40th anniversary by live streaming more than 200 pieces of art inside and outside the museum in different media forms across New York City. Most recently, she and the Covergirl team launched Covergirl’s largest product campaign yet for TruBlend Matte Made, a 40-shade foundation, celebrating inclusive beauty.

Besides dealing with phone plans and makeup products at Droga5, Debbie enjoys creating and collaborating with her friends on small side projects dealing with fashion, photography and film. She also mentors young creatives through the One Club Creative Boot Camp and portfolio review sessions. She begins teaching a second-year advertising class at the School of Visual Arts this fall.

Delilah Kim, art director, BBDO Worldwide

Delilah Kim is one half of a Russian-Korean-American creative partnership with Vera Keiter currently working at BBDO Worldwide. She’s worked for brands including Dunkin’ Donuts, Pedigree, Band-Aid, J&J, AT&T and Dove Chocolate, and been featured across the industry press for her creative output. An alumnus of the School of Visual Arts, Kim is set to begin teaching a master’s level advertising class at City College of New York this year.

Dina Young, creative director, Huge

As the only female creative director in Detroit’s office of full-service agency Huge, Dina Young has produced work for Alfa Romeo, Quicken Loans and Capri Sun, as well as working on new business pitches. She joined the agency as a senior copywriter from SapientNitro, following stints at Goodby Silverstein & Partners and Campbell Eward.

Since joining Huge, Young has run award-winning projects for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and then pitched and won the agency’s very first Super Bowl commercial for Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans. Young also participated in Detroit’s 3% mini-conference, which aims to shed light on the lack of female creative directors within the industry. As well as her agency work, Young teaches copywriting at Detroit’s College for Creative Studies.

Emely Perez, senior designer, J Walter Thompson

Emely Perez is a designer and illustrator with a broad portfolio of work. After landing a Multicultural Advertising Internship Program (MAIP) internship at JWT NY in 2011, she is now a senior designer at the agency. She has worked on global brands, including Smirnoff, Puma, Walmart, Rolex and Campari Group. Recently, she, along with her team, created the innovative ‘Walmart Wrapping Bag’ – a shopping bag that converts into wrapping paper – as well as print work for Grand Marnier’s new ‘Live Grand’ campaign.

As for personal projects, Perez created a new identity for the 4A’s MAIP, launched on the program’s 40th anniversary. Last year, she launched a Caribbean restaurant brand called Bull Bay in Wilmington, Delaware designing everything from the brand identity and interiors to marketing materials.

Perez was recently honored as a Shots Rising Star and made the 4A’s list of the 100 People Who Make Advertising Great. She has won an ANDY, two Clios, a London International Award, and a few Cannes Lions, but what she is most passionate about is not the recognition, but the interns. She’s the designated mentor to her team’s junior designers and interns, and just concluded her third summer as a MAIP Coach.

Erika Zorzi, director, Mathery Studio

Erika Zorzi is one half of Italian directing duo Mathery. With a background in design and photography, Zorzi currently works independently in Brooklyn as a director of films and commercials. Her work turns everyday life upside-down, combining humor and breathtaking art direction.

Zorzi excels in creating abstract universes and her talents cross all mediums and disciplines from film to photography to writing, as well as space and object design. Her work has been featured throughout the design press and in books by Taschen and Gestalten. Her interactive exhibition, ‘Pastello – Draw Act’ was shown in museums across the world and won the 2014 Interior Design Excellence Award.

Most recently, Zorzi wrote and directed the opening film, and designed the overarching campaign for the prestigious OFFF festival. She alternates between personal independent projects and directing commercial advertisements for brands such as Google and Nestlé.

If you’re interested in learning more about The Drum’s 50 Under 30, contact Toyin Rodwell at


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