Juliana Ardila is an Associate Creative director at FCBwest in San Francisco. She’s originally from Bogota.

How did you get the international attention you got?

Everything started with the Young Lions Competition at Cannes Lions. They launched the design competition in 2013 and we won both in Colombia and at Cannes! That led to me moving to Dubai, then New York City, Toronto and finally San Francisco, where I live and work now.

In what way is Colombian creativity unique?
Colombian creativity is resilient. As in life, Colombians make things happen, one way or another. The difficulties that we had to overcome as a country have shaped us. No obstacle can get in the way of us achieving what we set our minds to.
From what you observe, what do you think are the main differences between working in Colombia and abroad?
The processes are quite different. Even though I miss the warmth of the Latin American people incredibly, I think it sometimes gets in the way of professionalism and getting things done in a more structured way.
Who inspires you in this industry? 

I admire all the women that had to break through the male-dominated beginnings of advertising. I admire all the parents who have had to homeschool and work from home during this time – I still don’t know how they do it. Finally, I absolutely admire all the immigrants who have had to change their lives, language, and commodities for the hope of fulfilling a dream.

Despite the attention you and your work has gotten, have you ever felt invisible at work still? If so, what did you do to overcome it?

Of course! Being a woman already comes with its challenges. Add to that the fact that English is not my first language. I still struggle to have my voice heard and position myself as a leader with a limited set of words. It’s hard to take in that you can be two completely different work persons depending on the language. Nonetheless, those same reasons encourage me not to settle and keep working and bettering myself and my work.

For people who feel invisible professionally, what would be your advice?

Do not settle; do not get discouraged. Challenges are there precisely for that: to challenge us. You can either let it destroy you or make you stronger.

What is the piece of work you’re most proud of having worked on? 
The Clorox campaign from 2019. It’s definitely the most fun one!