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Rare Access @ LIA: An Incredible Opportunity to Grow and Learn

Rare Access @ LIA: An Incredible Opportunity to Grow and Learn

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Rare Access attendee Nick Goldsmith reports from his time at LIA Creative LIAisons with the Rare and Sweetshop teams.

Nick is a producer at Goodby, Silverstein and Partners, whose Rare potential comes from his confidence to speak his mind and desire to make a difference to the world through his work. Starting out in the industry, Nick “had no connections and was born and raised in the Midwest, which was far from the action in the industry.” He moved to San Francisco because, he says, he’d “always been drawn to the melting pot of the people who call it home. I’m Hispanic, so it’s exciting to live in a place where diversity is celebrated. After a chance encounter, I was able to get my foot in the door as a production assistant at a bi-coastal creative production company. I’ve been learning ever since as I transitioned into different roles and workplaces.”

Here’s his diary from the week’s events…

Day One
As I flew into Vegas on Thursday night, the birds-eye view of the strip had me anxiously anticipating the first day of what was sure to be an opportunity to remember. I checked into my hotel room at Treasure Island, unpacked, and set out to explore.

Friday morning, I spent my walk to the Encore thinking about how the first day (and really the whole event) would unfold. Who would I meet? What would I learn? Right off the bat, I noticed how international the event truly was. People had traveled from all over the globe to participate in something special. I only met one other person from the U.S. on the first day, and the exposure to new people from new places was awesome.

Ralph and Diederik talking about the future of audio was engaging and thought-provoking. I love choosing music and really digging into a mix with the audio engineer, so it was interesting to hear their perspective and approach to the process. After the break, everyone was anxious to see what the Stories in 6 workshop would have in store. The Great Guns team gave us a quick rundown of the task, and some basic instructions on working with such a small amount of time. Group work is always so awkward at first! I ended up having a fun team, but we had what seemed an impossible combination of themes – Style: Kung Fu and Emotion: Sadness. It took us quite a while to agree on an approach, but we came up with a simple, quality idea and ended up tying for 2nd place!

It was a long first day, and a lot of us were ready to grab some dinner and chill at the hotel. The tone had been set, and I was ready to tackle the rest of the days.

Day Two
Saturday started off with Pum Lefebure, who everyone immediately recognized as one of the most memorable presenters of the event. Her ideas, style, execution, and results were enviable and inspiring. Her speech reminded me to see well and see differently.

Later that morning, the Branded Entertainment Panel came up on stage to answer questions. I didn’t really know much about the branded entertainment category, but I was so curious once they started talking. Jimmy Smith was hilarious and insightful. His story is motivating and makes me want to think more creatively. We ended the day with a presentation from Matt MacDonald on presenting or work and ourselves. This is something we all struggle with at times, so it was definitely useful to hear from someone with such a track record of success in this topic.

Saturday was another long day, and though I was tired at the end, I was grateful for another full day of exposure to great ideas.

Day Three
By Sunday, I was used to the routine and eager to experience the Rare speakers! The day started with a bang as Lara Logan made us consider both the way we engage with news and media and the way we influence these everyday parts of our life. After a thought-provoking morning with Lara, it was time to move on to the Rare Access speakers and workshop.

I had the opportunity to interview Wilf Sweetland before lunch, and he was so generous and down to earth. It was refreshing to meet someone with that kind of power and access who was still willing to answer my questions thoughtfully and just have a casual chat about the industry. This interview was a great opportunity to learn about Wilf and Sweetshop before his official speech to the whole group. I found his journey in the industry to be relatable and encouraging. The other Rare speakers were also engaging and inspiring with their level of perseverance and dedication to being heard and seen. Samson and Blair are great role models and were so fun to meet in person. We were also incredibly lucky to hear from Professor David Slocum. His workshop on negotiation and getting what you want was incredibly useful and I will definitely keep his words in mind during my next review.

Sunday night, the Rare Access group enjoyed a delicious family-style dinner at a popular spot with the locals. We were picked up in a limo and rode in style to a location outside the strip. The meal itself was memorable, but the company and the conversation were the best part of the evening. I loved meeting the other attendees sponsored by Rare and felt lucky to have face to face conversations with Blair and Wilf over dinner. It was a night I won’t soon forget!


Day Four
Monday finally came after much anticipation. I was excited to observe the statue discussions and see how the judges defined great work. The Branded Entertainment panel was in high demand, but I managed to squeeze in with this group as we all piled into the room where judging would take place.

It was a full day of watching work, listening to judges deliberate, and taking notes to apply to future campaigns. I felt incredibly lucky to be a fly on the wall during this process and walked away with a fresh outlook on advertising and a commitment to approach work with a holistic viewpoint. One of the most important lessons I took away was this:

The work we create has the potential to exist as pure entertainment – not just another ad.

Monday night was the much-awaited dinner and party at the Encore Beach Club. I had another great evening with the Rare Access group and some of the attendees I’d been sitting with throughout the course of the weekend. The energy of the night was contagious, and I noticed the Rare group were the first to get things going on the dance floor. It was a great way to celebrate and connect before we started our final day of Creative LIAisons.

Day Five
The sun rose on Tuesday, and I couldn’t believe we were on the final day! In a certain sense, the weekend had flown by. At the same time, I knew we had packed a lot of learning into only a few days and I had been part of something special.

The InnerVation Lab workshop had me considering new ways to approach familiar workplace obstacles, and though we were all dragging from Monday night’s activities, it was interesting to gain perspective and reframe some of my ideas. We also had the opportunity to listen to Daymond John on perseverance, fresh ideas, and accountability. I never thought I’d have the chance to see him speak in person, and it was so cool to hear him tell his story in person.

We ended the day on an inspiring note with Malcolm Poynton; his presentation was titled ‘Why You’re More Powerful than a Politician’. He talked about our responsibility and opportunity to impact the world around us through advertising. A lot of times, our industry can be viewed through a negative lens, and it was an encouraging reminder that advertising isn’t always superfluous and can have a true impact on real communities and real people.

I’m so thankful Creative LIAisons exists, and I’m grateful places like Sweetshop and Rare are giving young professionals in the industry such an incredible opportunity to grow and learn.