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Uprising: Johanna Lubin on Advocating for Herself and Other Young.Monks

Uprising 229 Add to collection

The Media.Monks creative producer on persevering her way into the industry and creating the Young.Monks contest to help others do the same, writes LBB’s Ben Conway

Uprising: Johanna Lubin on Advocating for Herself and Other Young.Monks

“Positivity and an eagerness to learn have been two of the red threads throughout my life and career. I was the kind of kid that was not afraid to ask questions if I didn’t understand something and always saw the positive even in the worst life scenarios.” 

Johanna Lubin, creative producer at Media.Monks, has been an optimistic force for good since a young age - forever standing up for herself and expressing her beliefs regardless of the risks. She says, “I feel that you learn as you do, and getting back up after taking a tumble is incredibly important.” Now a self-described glass-half-full “problem solver”, these skills and traits have continued into adult life, where she focuses on finding solutions. “It’s not easy but my motto in life is to cross lines and thrive on obstacles.” 

Initially pursuing a career in journalism, the allures of production and seeing creatives work in that field led her to study production and communication after a brief stint writing stories for a French television station. Her newfound passion for production led Johanna to seek as much experience as possible, working on seven internships and a few more volunteering opportunities by the time she graduated. “I’m grateful for learning early on that if you don’t ask, you won’t get and nobody would hand a job to me on a plate, as well as to follow my gut and intuition, pushing for my own opportunities, rather than relying on others.” 

The young producer entered the advertising industry in 2017 at DDB Paris, where she learned “the value of creativity” amongst a team striving to be the top French agency. She says, “It was one of my most valuable experiences as it shaped my creative vision and enabled me to work on award-winning projects for worldwide renowned brands.” In 2019, she took a leap of faith and left with two suitcases for Canada, hoping to independently network herself into a North American job - a risk that paid off six months later when she landed a job thanks to a call with a head of production at a major gaming company. 

Unfortunately, Johanna’s dream start in Canada was cut short not long after it had begun. “This thing called covid-19 happened - I don’t know if you’ve heard of it? Complications with the visa process brought on by the pandemic prevented me from starting the dream job I landed – and I was devastatingly back at square one. It took me a second to get back in the saddle and start networking again on LinkedIn.” Via the platform, Debora den Iseger, the head of films at Media.Monks reached out to Johanna, offering her a position at the company in 2020. 

“From there, my creative skillset kept growing through a diverse range of projects (pitches, DE&I, films & content, like an ad campaign for the Superbowl 2021)” she says. “The project I am the proudest of is definitely ‘Young.Monks’: a global creative contest in partnership with Cannes Lions and Netflix that gives young talent an opportunity to shine on a global stage and opens up a myriad of possibilities for them no matter what their expertise. What I love the most about Young.Monks is that I am creating room for others to shine and helping up-and-coming talent who are struggling, like I did, to carve out a place in this industry.” 

The Young.Monks competition is Johanna’s attempt to show a “realistic representation of the world we're living in” - a showcase of young talent with 42 judges in total from Netflix, Media.Monks and other merger companies like Jam3, Dare.Win, Circus, Decoded, and external guests from Nike, Mondelez, Meta, Spotify, Kia, and more. “My goal was to create a contest where titles don’t matter. The work will speak for itself,” she says. “Contestants can either sharpen their skillset or put unknown/new skillsets into practice which opens up infinite opportunities for them. I am aiming to make Young.Monks a legitimate and annual institution in the advertising industry.”

Currently based in Los Angeles, Johanna looks at the broader industry and is excited by how companies are “evolving towards the well-being of employees”, by adapting to the working-from-home environment and offering more flexibility so they can retain talent, keeping them happy. Isolating one inspiration, she says, “Bozoma Saint John is definitely someone I look up to with admiration. She’s a Black (badass) woman, true to herself, and a worldwide renowned marketer. I can’t mention enough my admiration for her personality, determination, way of thinking, and pushing through adversity!”

A constant throughout her career so far is the desire to advocate for better DE&I standards. She says, “It’s something  I am pushing through every project I am working on… We try too much to overcorrect the mistakes of the past by adding more women than men for example. I believe diversity and inclusion are not about overcorrecting to make up for the choices of the past  - it's all about an equal representation in terms of gender, ethnicities, regions, and backgrounds.” She also is conscious of giving a platform to younger talent - providing opportunities for less experienced directors for instance which, despite taking more time and effort than working with old favourites, she says “is definitely worth it as they will bring a different vision.”    

Outside of work, Johanna is a big foodie and also enjoys music festivals, as well as binging a new series on Netflix. “I recently finished Ozark and let me tell you - this is one of the best series I’ve ever watched in terms of narrative! I also recently discovered Swimply - it might only be an LA thing but it’s pretty amazing. You can book a private pool for a couple of hours and enjoy it with your loved ones.”

As it was when she was a child, a significant motivator for Johanna is her confidence and independent desire to be her own biggest supporter. To this day, she follows her instincts where possible and is driven to create purposeful work through her own perseverance, self-reflection and refusal to take no for an answer.

“I am constantly challenging myself about what I really want to do and achieve in life and I am bringing that to my capabilities. I also know I am the best advocate for myself, the best person to push for myself so I am creating my own opportunities by pushing forward and not relying on others.”

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Media.Monks, Mon, 16 May 2022 16:19:00 GMT