Personally, the hardest part about beginning in the industry is finding your own identity and place within it. Part of your own growth comes from the support, and knowledge you gather along the way. It’s the merge of both potential and opportunity, which develops a rising star.

The Cannes Young Lions Media Academy was one of the best professional experiences I have had in my life. The week was well spent on ample thought-provoking classes catered to conversations about media developments, our personal impact as young lions within the media landscape and the internal gains we need to develop to be a part of that impact. I was able to congregate with people from around the world. Regardless of our geographical differences, I was surrounded by creatives who were eager and determined to create and follow a formula on how to become better advertisers through trust, quality, and inclusion for our consumers and organizations.

I was able to shake the hand of the man responsible for helping to pioneer my company, Zenith MediaSteve King, the CEO of Publicis Media taught me the most valuable component for forging a path through our industry— resiliency. King described the initial stages of running a business, and how he utilized resources to discover innovation while learning how to actually run a thriving business. King’s determination alongside a great team, were responsible for creating a legacy and playing a pivotal role in the media landscape today.

L to R: Annie Taylor, Melanie Charyton, Steve King, Alexa McGriff

The panels showcased speakers who are pioneers, game-changers, and prospering leaders. Our vigilant class observed the speakers as they unveiled the conditions that impacted their own future career paths. It was impactful to see the vulnerability of these lions, and receiving personalized opportunities to ask questions directly to these people was life-changing. By the end of every panel, we were able to be seen, heard, and acknowledged. That’s valuable.

The overarching consensus from the speakers were to “raise your hand and be bold.” No matter where you are now, build the confidence to be heard, be part of the change within your agencies and your personal career choices. Confidence is the drive between self-doubt and the will to follow your dreams – even when you’re scared.

No alt text provided for this image

As the week came to a close, I was able to participate on LinkedIn Live with my counterpart Alexa McGriff and our moderator – Burcu Agma. We discussed thoughts on the progression within the media landscape, diversity and inclusion, networking and personal confidence. Alexa and I included key takeaways from our final project which ties the relationship of both the brand and the consumer and our responsibility as advertisers with it all.

Overall, this experience was life-changing. I feel inspired to be the best I possibly can in everything that I do. I’m just grateful that Publicis Media and Zenith, saw fit for me to attend as their, rising star.

No alt text provided for this image

This article originally appeared on LinkedIn.

 Author: Anquinette Taylor, Assistant Negotiator, Zenith