The Shift Is Coming: Chiara Adin, Co-Founder & CCO, N/A Collective

At the end of the day, it all comes down to people. People are the only ones that can change their own mindsets and be open to all people.

by Dasha Ovsyannikova

On behalf of AdForum, we hope you are staying safe during this unprecedented time and its challenges.

Although our world is dominated by virus, we have made a decision to publish interviews we conducted earlier this month. These interviews are virus-unrelated, so we hope they provide some inspiration, relief and rejuvenation! We are in this together and because of this, we are upholding our commitment to our clients, to publish news and insights. 
Check out to stay connected in our industry.
Above all, be safe. 

How would you describe the overall culture at your agency / company? 

We’re a collective of handpicked artists and producers, strategists and dreamers, technicians and storytellers but most importantly, believers in a good time — whether we’re creating one with our clients or having one as an office.  At N/A we ski together every winter, beach together every summer, hosts family breakfast on Fridays, share the auxiliary cord and always keep local beer on tap.


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

To be completely honest I’ve never felt the glass ceiling in advertising, but I’ve had predominantly female managers since I started in experiential (straight out of college) and many of them were very highly respected by other members in the agency and clients. I do think that experiential tends to have a higher ratio of women to men than traditional advertising so my view may be a bit skewed. I have, however, noticed a large increase in Women’s groups, Women entrepreneurs and a general bonding of women in our industry, which has been amazing. This is the biggest change I’ve noticed, the openness to connect, advise and be truly open about any challenges, initiatives, ideas etc. I’ve met so many badass women through these groups and feel this has been a much needed and much appreciated change.


Do you think that women still face challenges in our industry, and if so, what are they? 

I think there are some fundamental challenges that women face in all industries, specifically when it relates to building and raising a family. Although I do not yet have children, in speaking with many of my female peers, this has been a topic of conversation as every state, employer and person handles it differently (and most importantly every Mother feels differently). It’s a challenge that I feel has and always will be there, we are getting closer, bringing more awareness to it, but ultimately we have a long way to go as a country.


How should we tackle an issue such as equal opportunity? 

Equal opportunity should be the standard, it makes me sad that we still “tackling” it. We are privately owned and not a massive agency, so I find it extremely easy to ensure we’re providing equal opportunity to everyone but I know that it’s easier for us, there is no one controlling our decisions or influencing our actions other than ourselves. Large corporations are an entirely different story, the layers run deep and get complicated. I think the shift is coming, although slow, tech giants like Twitter, Facebook and Google are starting to pave the way, but our industry tends to be more progressive than some of the other more conservative ones. At the end of the day, I think it all comes down to people. People are the only ones that can change their own mindsets and be open to all people. People are responsible for interviews, setting job requirements or parameters and making the final call on the hiring process. It requires openness, the ability to look at a candidate simply for their skills and not anything else.


How did you find your way into the marketing communications industry and what professional achievement are you most proud of?

It all started my senior year of college, I was selected to be part of our school’s Ad Team which was participating in a National competition. My teacher introduced me to a post-grad Ad Team member who was working full time for an Experiential Agency (now MKTG) and she agreed to give me an internship. Experiential wasn’t something we discussed in any of our classes so I was excited to dive right in. It instantly clicked, my logistical thinking (thanks, Mom!) paired with my creativity and background in accounting were a perfect fit.

I’m most proud of what we’ve created with our agency, N/A Collective. We started the agency in 2014, and if I’m totally honest, I never could have imagined 6 years later we’d have a beautiful office in NYC with 30+ employees and that I’d be living in Austin (my happy place) having opened a second location now staffed with 4 full time employees. The team we’ve hired and the company we’ve built are hands down my greatest accomplishment, and I couldn’t be more proud of what this team accomplishes on a daily basis.

Who inspires you the most, either inside the industry or outside? Why?

Emily Weiss, we went to high school together and what she’s built with Glossier is truly inspiring. Her hard work, vision and passion is unparalleled. Although we haven’t seen each other in many years, I am always inspired by her work, what she’s built and continues to build and how she’s stayed true to who she was. I often ask employees I’m interviewing, what brands inspire them or who they’d want to work with. Time and time again they mention Glossier and I just smile, she’s built one hell of brand!