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August 2, 2022

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Shaunda Lambert (ST, 2023) Wins Golden Ticket to 2022 Cannes Lions

Shaunda Lambert (ST, 2023) was one of 29 students from around the world to be chosen to participate in the 2022 Roger Hatchuel Student Academy, a component of the Cannes Lions Festival in Cannes, France. The Cannes Lions is the largest festival for creative communications, advertising, and related fields.

Shaunda smiles for a photo with Vann Graves, Executive Director of the Brandcenter, who is also Dean of the Cannes Creative Academy
Shaunda Lambert (ST, 2023) with Brandcenter Executive Director Vann Graves who is also the Dean of the Cannes Creative Academy

The Roger Hatchuel Student Academy (RHSA) is a unique learning experience designed to help students interested in pursuing a creative path in advertising launch their careers. Throughout the week-long program, participating students explore the various avenues and creative spaces to which they might matriculate after graduation and are provided myriad opportunities to learn first-hand from the world’s greatest brands, creative minds, and industry leaders. The curriculum covers topics including an introduction to the creative industry, the creative process, leadership, teamwork, the value of diversity, and more. At the end of the week, students graduate from the classroom and are presented with a certificate.

Shaunda poses with her graduation certificate from the academy
Shaunda poses with her graduation certificate from the Roger Hatchuel Student Academy

Each year, hundreds of students from across the globe apply, and only 30 are selected to participate. This year’s cohort was made up of 29 students representing 27 countries.

After being nominated by Brandcenter faculty, Shaunda submitted her two-minute video application to the academy and was handpicked by Serfi Altun, Academy Dean and Founder and CEO at Idea Bakery Brand Building Consultancy & Training, as the student representative for the United States of America.

“I am incredibly honored to have been chosen for America. While I knew this was a huge opportunity, I didn’t realize how big of a deal it was until I got there. I had no idea just how much I would learn and how life-changing this experience would be,” Shaunda says.

The academy’s itinerary for the week consisted of classes, workshops, presentations, forums, and a brief competition. Overarching themes for each day’s sessions included Brand of Me & My Future; Power of Ideas, Storytelling & Craft with Focus on Design; Building Brands from A, B, C to 3.0; and Impact: Societal, Cultural, Global. The sessions were hosted and facilitated by a diverse lineup of global executives, creative directors, designers, consultants, RHSA alumni, authors, and academy deans and tutors. Speakers included Mathilde Delhoume, Global Brand Officer, LVMH; Tom Morton, Global Chief Strategy Officer, R/GA; ─░lkay Gurpinar, Creative Director, TBWA Turkey; Gary Vaynerchuk, Chairman and CEO, VaynerX and VaynerMedia; Ryan Reynolds, Chief Creative Officer, MNTN/Maximum Effort; and James Coburn, Vice President, Mandrake.

While Shaunda notes that every session was valuable and and every speaker inspiring, there was one in particular that felt especially memorable.

That was Malala Yousafzai, activist for girls’ education, youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and this year’s recipient of the Cannes LionHeart. Shaunda shares, “The time with Malala was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I will never forget. As she told us her story and about her work on behalf of girls and ending gun violence, she had so much grace and poise. I remember thinking, ‘her global impact is incredible and unmatched, and yet she’s actually human.’”

RHSA participants smile for a photo with Malala Yousafzai
RHSA participants with Malala Yousafzai

Another notable moment of the academy for Shaunda was winning the brief competition put on by Deloitte. RHSA participants—divided into teams—responded to the brief asking them to generate brand awareness for Uplink among Gen Zers who are entrepreneurs or aspire to become entrepreneurs. Because Shaunda and her team won the competition, they will pitch their idea to Deloitte global executives later this month for a chance for it to become real work and for the incredible opportunity to work on it as contractors.

Shaunda credits the Brandcenter in not only making it a possibility for her to attend the academy but also in preparing her for the work, especially in the brief competition. “The things that I learned in the first year at the Brandcenter—especially selling an idea—really helped prepare me for this experience. The Brandcenter gave me the confidence to be able to thrive in this setting,” she says.

Shaunda and her teammates pose for a photo after winning the brief competition
Shaunda and her team for the Deloitte Pitch Competition

Outside of the classroom curriculum, RHSA participants were invited to attend the Cannes Lions award shows in the evenings. “To be there with all of these incredible people and professionals in our industry and to see the campaigns that were concepted and the variety of work was so inspiring. In the fashion and sustainability awards, there was a coat that breathed!,” Shaunda recalls.

Of all that Shaunda gained from this experience, perhaps most valuable to her and her career aspirations are the newfound network and the expanded perspective.

An entrepreneur at her core, Shaunda is in the process of launching her own agency, SALT+LIGHT, a “brand development agency focusing on research and strategy for founders coming from underrepresented and marginalized communities locally, nationally, and globally.”

“This experience gave me a global network and really opened up my cultural lens—beyond being a woman, a Black woman, a Black woman from the United States. Being around my classmates from 27 different countries who all have their own lenses through which they see the world and themselves and their own lived experiences really put into perspective for me that underrepresented and marginalized mean different things in different countries. This opportunity allowed me to expand beyond my world and my lens, which I will apply to my agency and work going forward,” she says.

“I often say that my degree from the Brandcenter is not for me but for the community I aspire to support through my work,” she continues. “Participating in RHSA, made possible by the Brandcenter, allowed me the chance to redefine community and better shape the type of work I want to bring to the forefront. As I embark on my own journey of entrepreneurship, I aim to create a space where founders are heard, barriers are removed, and individuals are not only encouraged to dream big but also supported as they embark on their own journey of entrepreneurship—things that will not only impact their families but also their communities for generations to come. I am truly grateful for this experience.”

Shaunda poses with a giant smile and her arms up on the beach in Cannes, celebrating a tremendous experience
Shaunda celebrates a tremendous experience at the 2022 Cannes Lions Festival