Kevin Swanepoel, CEO of One Club for Creativity, thinks the organization he runs has a small image problem.
Despite being behind events such as Where are all the blacks An annual multicultural career fair held for over 10 years, Swanepoel said he still believes many in the industry see it only as a rewards center.
“One of our biggest frustrations as an organization is [that] it’s so misunderstood that One Club is just rewards, ”he said.
To be fair it is true that its long lasting A show and ADC prices are One Club bread and butter. But this year, perhaps more than any other, the One Club has proven itself capable of much more than organizing juries and hosting lavish awards galas in New York City.
Throughout 2020, the One Club, which positions itself as a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and celebrating the ‘success of the global creativity community’, looked into the challenges of the year. with a proactive mindset that has helped him deliver solutions to some of the industry’s biggest problems. .
For example, in response to the nation’s racial calculation, he worked with Spotify Creative Director Oriel Davis-Lyons to build School, a free 16-week portfolio program for black creations.
Later in the year, he collaborated with the School of Visual Concepts in Seattle to debut 2nd Skill, a nine-month virtual bootcamp for creatives who may struggle to find work or who are looking to “perpetuate” their careers.
Swanepoel says people in the industry have “sat down and noticed” One Club’s efforts, especially in a year when many organizations have pulled out or struggled to stay afloat.
“I have received very sincere emails from very old people in the industry,” he said. “To me, it’s so heartwarming because it means people are becoming aware of what we’re doing.”
Applications for 2nd The skill ends on January 17th, so interest in the program remains to be seen. But the One School, which launched in July, has seen overwhelming demand, so much so that the One Club is currently working on ways to continue expanding it in 2021.
The One School initially hosted 15 students in its first fall course, which started in September. Soon after, the One Club expanded the virtual school on the west coast to allow more students. According to the One Club, 30 students have already completed the fall course, and he plans to get even more next year as he broadens his footprint.
Yash Egami, vice president of content and marketing at One Club, said the school was set up to prevent agencies from pretending they couldn’t find black creations.
“The tired expression is ‘we don’t know where to find talent’. In creating this pipeline, we are saying, ‘There is no excuse,’ ”Egami explained. “We help that talent and help agencies identify that talent. We are not fixing the problem, but we are helping the agencies fix it. “
Bob Isherwood, director of professional development at One Club, said the nonprofit also reached out to applicants who had not taken the cut this fall and invited them to participate in a six-week mentorship program. . Isherwood said 79 black creatives participated, receiving advice from mentors from agencies such as DDB, McCann and R / GA.
Participants worked on two briefs throughout the program. According to Isherwood, the hope is that they can use said briefs if or when they choose to reapply to One School.