Like a boss

Yes, You Can Be Creative and Corporate

By Arianna Schioldager

How four women turn ideas into action in the corporate world.

03 min. read time


Maintaining a creative mindset in a corporate environment can be … challenging. Even harder? Getting your creative ideas heard and, eventually, activated.

The good news is neither are impossible. We asked four women with corporate credentials for their advice on how to keep your creative brain turned on and your co-workers listening — even if the odds are against you.

Here’s their advice:

“No” can become “yes” with enough persistence.

Allie Greenberg, Senior Brand Marketing Manager at Richer Poorer, formerly Entertainment Marketing Manager at Puma

At Puma I leveraged my youth and, honestly, they listened to my ideas because I was young and plugged into “cool.” That doesn’t mean I didn’t hear “no” a lot. That’s par for the corporate course, but with every no I simply persisted because I believed in my idea. I trusted my gut because that’s why they hired me in the first place — I was supposed to be the expert. Some of the events that bosses initially said no to have turned out to be the most successful activations to date.

So, if you want to activate your creativity in corporate, don’t let the environment kill your vibe. You’re there for a reason.

Socialise your idea — then socialise it again.

Heidi Gibson, Director of Product Management at GoDaddy

Find an excuse to stand up during meetings. Walk up to the screen and gesticulate, assign people follow-up work — everyone will pay attention to you if you’re standing; it’s like a miracle has occurred. Suddenly you’re in charge. It’s now a joke in the office every time I do it (“Ha! Heidi’s hijacking the meeting again!”), but it still works!

Expect that you’ll need to “socialise” your idea, no matter how fantastic it is. You’ll likely have to pitch it to all the stakeholders separately and talk it up repeatedly for it to stick. Don’t get discouraged if, initially, people are interested, but nothing happens. Also don’t get discouraged if after a while nobody realises it was originally your idea.

Get creative to get colleagues on board.

Chelsea Fuller, Partner and “Brand Bodyguard” at Campowerment, formerly Brand Strategist at 360i

When you know you’re onto something awesome but it seems like nobody gets your colourful idea (and the fluorescent lights are kind of hurting your soul), pull the quirky card.

Lead colleagues into your idea by building in a little bit of collaboration by way of something different. Make up a game with questions that lead everyone to an answer you can somewhat anticipate. Reverse engineer it so they point to the insight behind your creative ideas.

Disclaimer: This means you have to swallow some pride and share some credit, but if your priority is to push through work you believe in, sprinkle some emotional confetti and get that groupthink on.

Know your audience.

Jessica Franks, Development Executive at Warner Bros.

I think the phrase “know your audience” applies well here. When trying to sell a creative idea in a corporate environment, you should also present facts and statistics that support the strength of the idea and cater to an audience that [most likely] tends to think more critically and analytically.

In the TV industry that means not only pitching an idea for a new show, but also presenting data (that comes from tracking competitive projects, analysing ratings and assessing market saturation) showing it has the ability to cut through an overcrowded television landscape.

The common thread: You may be fighting an uphill battle to get your ideas heard in corporate settings, but that’s no reason to get discouraged. Dig in and do the work to get your colleagues on board — you’ll need their buy-in to bring your creativity to life.

Marriott Hotels partners with Create + Cultivate to profile local women entrepreneurs who are bringing their ideas to life where they live and to create a space to foster the ingenuity of an inventive class who knows that success is never final.