Progressive & Rebellious Spirit: Mica Gallino, ACD, Joan Creative

Mica Gallino
ACD Joan Creative

How would you describe the overall culture at your agency and would you say that there is a separate female culture?

JOAN embodies a progressive and rebellious spirit. Our team is a diverse group of creative thinkers empowered by our two leaders, Jaime Robinson and Lisa Clunie, to speak up and team up.  Equality is at the core of JOAN’s ethos, so there is no gender-specific culture; it’s completely collaborative and diverse.  


In your opinion, what do you see as being the biggest change in the advertising industry since women have begun to break the “glass ceiling”?           

It’s no surprise that women broke through the glass ceiling. What is interesting, however, is that since then we have been getting used to seeing ourselves grow within the industry, and this has empowered us to contribute with greater confidence. I believe the industry is benefiting greatly from this, as we see brands now utilizing universal briefs that no longer repeat their antique speech, but instead focus on reaching equal audiences.


What are some of the challenges that women still face in the industry?

Even though we’ve come so far and more and more women are in key leadership roles, we are still labeled as female creatives. Surprisingly, the industry still feels the need to clarify our gender, as if we were an anomaly in the profession. I believe that this is one of the main challenges that we face as women in advertising: how do we take out the “female” prefix before our title. How do we let our work lead and not our gender? I don’t have the exact answer, but the first step to changing something is noticing it and being bothered by it. Now, if you hadn’t already, you’ve taken the red pill, too, and together we can change things.


What steps do you take to ensure you achieve a healthy work-life balance?         

Unfortunately, panic attacks have recently become all too common at agencies. I’ve had colleagues have stress related medical issues, like tumors and short-term blindness, all due to stress.  We keep feeding this wicked system where you have to miss birthdays, change wedding plans or become a stranger to your kids.

Let’s face it, we are not doctors and we’re not saving lives. There is no real emergency or tragedy if we don’t send a new social idea by 2 am, and clients won’t benefit from our tired brains.

I truly believe that in order to love what we do and keep growing in this industry, we have to find time to step away from it each day, even if it’s to eat a meal at home. It will take time to change the system, but it’s a brief we can’t avoid.

For decades, women have been affected for being the first ones to flag this issue and trying to find work-life balance. Now that we are empowered and heard, let’s set the new rules that will benefit everyone.


What professional achievement are you most proud of?

The next one to come here at JOAN.


Tell us about a mentor that helped guide you in your career. What made them so special? 

I have a great appreciation for all of the amazing people who have helped me throughout my career: Isaac Silverglate, Javier Mentasti, Maxi Maddalena, Ezequiel Mandelbaum, Emmanuel Nogueira (I know, all men). I really wish I could throw in a female name, but the truth is I haven’t had a female mentor until now with Jaime and Lisa at JOAN, and I’m very excited to have them!


How do you as a successful woman plan to inspire the next generation of women?

It’s a unique time in advertising and entertainment, and I think we are on the path to change the perception of women in these industries. There are definitely more women in leading creative roles, but I still see a huge gap among the distribution of briefs. The misconception that we don't have a great sense of humor, that we won't be able to crack a beer or car brief, or that we don't we don't know as much as men about sports is still around.

Promoting equal representation in creative departments is key and I will continue to empower women and make it a priority to help bring diverse talent into the industry.