Creative Side Hustles and Mental Health - The winning speeches at IPA's Speaker Cup 2023

Beni De Makoso from Ear To The Ground won the cup for his agency while Charlotte Ingle from The&Partnership was the runner up

By Creative Salon

The IPA recently hosted the sixth annual Speaker’s Cup, the competition in the art of persuasive presenting, powered by the IPA and tutored for free by Graham Singleton from Make Yourself, whose training encompasses company leadership and management, presence and presentation, negotiation, and influencing.

Each year agencies can put forward one person to take on the challenge and deliver a two-minute speech on a topic that they would like to spotlight in the advertising industry. The main objective of the IPA Speaker’s Cup is to champion people speaking passionately and persuasively on their feet without relying on PowerPoint.

This year, 10 contestants arrived at Number 44 to present their speeches in front of each other and a panel of judges chaired by Creative Salon Worldwide's Claire Beale. They spoke about a variety of issues impacting the ad industry from diversity and mental health to AI and protecting marketing budgets.

Following some outstanding speeches, the IPA Speaker’s Cup was won by Beni De Makoso who had a star quality and was utterly persuasive in his passion, and faultless in speech and body language. For winning the IPA Speaker’s Cup, Beni took home £300, a half day’s training from Make Yourself for Ear to the Ground, and the opportunity to display the engraved cup for a year. Charlotte Ingle was awarded second place, while Barney Gill and Will Lane came joint third.

Commenting on the day, Chair of Judges and Creative Salon Worldwide Co-Founder, Claire Beale said: "One of the really wonderful things about the IPA Speaker's Cup is that it combines the communication skills needed to capture hearts and minds together with some of the really important issues that young industry talent are passionate about. It was so inspiring to hear them all talk so eloquently about subjects they care deeply about, and the calibre of all the speakers was incredibly impressive. Huge congratulations to all of the competitors and particularly, of course, to the phenomenal winners."

Here are the passion-filled speeches from the first two winners that persuaded the panel of judges and the advertising industry.

"That Little Thing on the Side" - Beni De Makoso, Ear To The Ground

I vividly remember my first few days in this industry, sitting in meeting rooms with senior members of the team and feeling overwhelmed by self-imposed questions. "Do I belong here? Do THEY think I'll crack within the first two months? Is anyone EVEN taking me seriously? "

Minorities entering this industry often grapple with imposter syndrome, something I can personally relate to, in fact, PR Moment’s recent survey - this year - revealed that 4 in 5 of us in the marketing industry have experienced this. That’s 85 per cent of us. We claim to embrace new perspectives and fresh ideas, yet we sometimes stifle the natural creativity of those expressing themselves beyond their day jobs.
I'm Beni. A Junior Creative at my agency. But I'm also a musician and the creative director of my own talent label.  

I'm a passionate creative who loves and appreciates our industry but I'm asking it to embrace my "little thing on the side". My background helped win me this opportunity. But as soon as I was in the door, the question became: "could I balance it all?"

Our industry is class, but boy does it ask for a lot. We seek the most culturally connected young talent. Clients demand it. Yet, when we find those people, we demand more and MORE of their time. 

Let's be clear; this isn't a complaint about the difficulty of the work or the will to grind — trust me, we grind. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel some pressure. 

A message - spoken or unspoken - of "shut up and crack on" from those who’ve been in the game for 10-plus years. The assumption is that we're not focused on our jobs, too distracted by our "other stuff". 

But that "little thing on the side" is more than a hobby; it's my anchor. It helped me walk back into that same room. A room that's now buzzing with excitement as I exude self-confidence and express myself. And that inner voice is now telling me: "I absolutely belong here." 

I soon realised that my agency felt the same. Those at the top. I could speak to our CEO on a level - understand his own passion and ambition, that was just like mine. For many of us, that "little thing on the side" isn't a distraction. It's what propels us forward and helps us gain traction in a world that sometimes seems determined to hold us back.

I'm Beni Antonio Nguvulu De Makoso, and I'm fortunate to be part of an agency that wholeheartedly embraces the "little thing on the side, which allows me to show up as my TRUE SELF" without judgment. 

So - I’m asking YOU, OUR agency leaders to embrace the new wave, don’t be too quick to judge but rather support and encourage what may seem insignificant to you but for many of us, the difference between flourishing and falling short in this industry.

"What more we need to do to help with mental health issues in our industry" - Charlotte Ingle, The&Partnership London

Most of my co-workers know me as an upbeat, smiley colleague. Whilst this is true, what most wouldn’t know is that I have suffered from severe anxiety for most of my adult life.  

Many of us across our industry battle this silent enemy: burnout, stress, and the mental toll of an industry that – for all we love it – never sleeps. In our constant pursuit of creativity and success, the advertising industry has inadvertently become a breeding ground for mental health issues. Last year, NABs revealed that calls for their mental health services increased by a shocking 31 per cent across our industry. 

Ironically, we’re doing a fantastic job at shifting the narrative around mental health through our campaigns. Adland is responsible for  CALM’S ‘The Last Photo’, ITV’s 'Britain Get Talking' and Dove’s ‘Turn Your Back’. Through our work, we can, and do important work to shatter shame and foster a more accepting society, one in which mental health is normalised, rather than stigmatised.

So the important question is: why are we not doing a better job at protecting the very minds that make this work?

We must push to create an industry where mental health is not just a buzzword, but a fundamental aspect of our workplace culture. Where adland is not just a powerhouse of creativity, but a sanctuary for the brilliant minds that fuel its success. Now is our time to shift from saying to doing; to take what we put in our campaigns, and apply it to the people who make them possible. 

We can start by going beyond providing access to vital mental health resources, to making them easily accessible and available for all. 

By democratising our mental health training to equip ALL managers to spot the signs of struggle and start conversations, rather than just a select few. 

By bridging the gap between our junior and senior talent; empowering our junior employees to openly express what support they need from their agency, and to be heard. 

By working alongside our pitch intermediaries to reshape pitch processes, so our people get what they need as well as our clients - and make what is now considered the most triggering part of agency life, fun again.

If we do this, we’ll be a better industry, producing better work. A more inclusive industry. An industry where I could proudly say, "I am a smiley, upbeat employee. I’m also an employee who suffers from severe anxiety - and my industry respects supports, and makes space for that part of me, too."


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