Career advice from David Droga’s Lion of St. Mark acceptance speech

Last week, at Cannes Lions 2017, David Droga was awarded the Lion of St. Mark, a distinction that recognizes an individual who has made a significant and outstanding contribution to creativity in the ad industry.

David started his career in advertising 30 years ago. I received his first Cannes Lion at 19 with OMON Sydney, and has achieved more than 70 Gold and 15 Grand Prix / Titanium Lions in his career to date. I remember, when he left Publicis in 2005, how everyone in the industry wondered what he was working on. Droga5 was born a year later, and went on to create many disruptive and unforgettable campaigns.

The speech

His acceptance speech for the Lion of St. Mark was emotional and inspirational, and offered great career advice to all the industry professionals that look up to him – even if that was not his intention. You can watch the video at the end of this post, but here are the main ideas:

  1. It’s not only your hard work.

    You don’t get to places like this without a huge amount of luck, good timing and extraordinary people who help you along the way.

  2. No great clients, no great campaigns.

    Agencies are nothing without great clients.

  3. The best qualities for a creative team.

    I’ve been luckier than most and I’ve worked all around the world with some of the most brilliant, generous, funny, kind people.

  4. We need mentors.

    You are nothing without people who really take you under their wing and make decisions to elevate you and prepare you and give you confidence.

  5. The only career advice you need.

    Wanting something, wanting a career or wanting to make something – it doesn’t really mean much. Instead, find something you care about, cause caring is the only thing that really matters.

    Give a shit, work hard and try to make beautiful impactful things.