A new study analyzing 21,980 companies from over 91 countries found that only 4.5% had female CEOs. In the advertising industry specifically, only 11% of the award-winning projects featured in Communication Arts’ Advertising Annual included female creative directors. In short, when it comes to female creative leadership, Swim Creative seems to defy the odds.
Our founder, Patrice Bradley, is also the agency’s CEO and creative director. But when she founded the agency ten years ago, being a pioneering female leader wasn’t her goal. It was simply to create the type of environment she’d be proud to work in.
“I started Swim with the goal of creating an unconventional shop where I could think, play and do incredible work with my favorite people,” Patrice said. “In 2005, I envisioned this collaborative, invigorating studio that gives both account managers and creatives the freedom to be amazing.”
Now, as we enter our 10th anniversary year, it’s clear that staying committed to a vision and being transparent about your purpose has its benefits. In 2015 alone, Swim saw a nearly 50% increase in staff. Patrice believes the agency’s success stems from Swim’s culture and values and, in her words, “the best staff anyone could ask for.”
“Swim’s purpose is to create work that compels people to think, feel and do,” she said. “We’re all working toward that one goal. It also helps that none of us would settle for doing good work when we know we can do great work, or the kind of work that actually makes stuff happen.”
For us, advocating for great work isn’t just a nice thought. It’s written into the code of ethics as, “Only be amazing.”
Our code of ethics also states: Be good. Do good. Tell the truth. Work hard. Live responsibly and take care of your community. Part of taking care of the community means being an active participant in it. Our client roster includes local businesses, nonprofits and organizations who are as passionate about what they’re doing as the people at Swim are.
This idea of taking care of the things around us isn’t just unique to Swim. It’s a hallmark of our region. Many businesses build this idea of giving back and caring for our community into their operations. It’s one more reason we’re proud to call Duluth home.
Another hallmark of the Duluth community? Great female leaders. While the trend nationwide says otherwise, Duluth stands out. “To me, women have always dominated this industry,” Patrice said. “Duluth has a wealth of women-owned agencies so I’m in good company.”
Here’s to 10 more years!