In May this year, the inspirational Managing Director of Major Players, Helen Stokes, died at the age of 43, described by chairman Jack Gratton, as one of the industry’s ‘brightest stars’. In her honour, family and friends – including those at The London Business School - have raised close to £7,000. With Creative Equals and D&AD New Blood, a portion of the funds (£5,000), has been awarded as a scholarship to a future creative star, Rebecca Rhosyn Petts-Davies, from Wales.
‘We wanted to give an incredible talent from a low-socio economic background the chance to step up to the first rung of the career ladder,’ says Allison Upton, marketing director, Major Players and long-time friend and colleague of Helen, ‘which is why we set up the scholarship.
Despite graduating with first-class honours and a D&AD New Blood award, Petts-Davies personal circumstances meant she couldn’t move to London and take up her placement. ‘Now I can. I’m just so grateful. Helen Stokes was a truly inspirational figure and it’s an honour to be able have an opportunity I absolutely never thought I’d have. I can now pursue my dreams,’ says Petts-Davies.
Paul Drake, foundation director of D&AD says: ‘We couldn’t have picked a better applicant, who can now grab an exciting career opportunity which financial constraints were preventing from happening.’
‘The large number of applications for the scholarship – and some of the stories - demonstrated how being able to access financial support prevents young talents from reaching their potential within education and creative careers. This needs to change.’
Petts-Davies has taken a placement at Wunderman, where Creative Director Lauren Pleydell-Pearce says she is doing ‘great work straight off the bat.’
Creative Equals – a not-for-profit – believes changing the ratio starts with making sure the pipeline of great female talents are supported. ‘Our research with the Young Creative Council showed 50% of placement and internship female creatives are already leaving the industry because of low wages and living conditions. We hope to continue raising funds and awareness as securing this pipeline is key to redressing the gender balance of creative departments.’
The remaining funds will be used to train more young female talents with the IPA, SheSays and Creative Equals’ ‘Be Awesome Night School’ at Major Players.
‘Helen was fuelled with a desire to help and encourage success for others,’ says Jim Stokes, Helen’s father. ‘It would have meant a lot to Helen