Hanna’s fireside chat with Corinne Daldorph Nielsen

I caught up with Corinne Daldorph Nielsen, an Art Director at Annex88, who participated in Fearless FuturesDesign for Inclusion programme (DFI) when she was doing a Digital Media Creative Masters at HyperIsland. DFI is a diversity and inclusion capacity building programme for senior leaders from around the world who want to transform their workplace culture, leadership, and products.

What were your expectations of the DFI?

I didn’t know too much about it because I joined as it was a class at HyperIsland. I felt pretty negatively towards it initially, and felt as though I already knew it all. I didn’t want to go after the first day. On day 2, I experienced how hard it is to realise that you are not doing the ‘right’ things. We did a privilege exercise and I started to realise how unaware I’ve been and that there’s plenty of things I’ve never had to consider. I was doing a lot of things wrong. Things that needed to change. And the first step was to realise.

Was there a lightbulb moment?

One of the biggest moments was an activity where I stood inside the patriarchy — and also outside the patriarchy (so to speak). I realised that I had been working against women in my identity as a ‘tom boy’. And how that identity led to me having guys who told me that I am one of a few women that they respect, something I at first thought was a positive thing. I then came to the realisation how screwed up the comments actually are. I had heard those comments before. Working against women didn’t give me anything.

What did you learn?

What actions have you taken?

During the programme, we dissected adverts and a range of companies and their structures and actions. I have started to look at advertising, to start with, through a lens of representation. Having the courage to call out to clients that their entire website, social media content and brand identity is centred around white cis people, because if I don’t, no-one else will.

Has it informed your leadership style?

Yes, for sure. I used to be like — if you want to cry, cry in the bathroom. That is not the best way to do it. I really thought about that a lot going into the DFI. That hadn’t done anything for me — me crying in the bathroom wasn’t good for me either. That is something that I am working to change — taking 5 mins to ask what is on someone’s mind. Really seeing the people that you work with, and their struggles. At the end of the day, I don’t know anything about the problems that they are struggling with.

Has your world view changed?

My experiences at DFI opened my eyes to so many positive and negative elements of the working world. One idea that stuck with me, and has continued to shape my thinking in my career, is the persistence of racism in the ad industry. Advertising shapes culture, and us advertising creatives have a responsibility to push the boundaries. We must work to widen and extend representation in advertising beyond cis white people. We need to encourage our clients and employers to work together to achieve equality and belonging. Although advertising is only one piece of the puzzle, it is an important piece that I, working in advertising, can impact.

I just want to say thank you, for real! DFI has enlightened my thinking. I’ve learned how being a cis white female has impacted my own thinking, and have worked to think beyond my own reality. I do my best to listen to others and internalise their experiences. This has bettered me, my work and my character.

Fearless Futures

Unlearn inequity. Transform the world.

Fearless Futures

Fearless Futures serves daring organisations ready to actively challenge inequities by addressing their roots, intersections, and lived realities. We facilitate transformative learning experiences & partner with our clients through consultancy to design equitatable ecosystems.

Hanna Naima McCloskey

Written by

CEO @ Fearless Futures. Educator. Innovator. Design for Inclusion.

Fearless Futures

Fearless Futures serves daring organisations ready to actively challenge inequities by addressing their roots, intersections, and lived realities. We facilitate transformative learning experiences & partner with our clients through consultancy to design equitatable ecosystems.