Sequoia Roots, Mariposa Grove by Ansel Adams
I'm not trying to go all Jewish on you.
I am not a religious person.
But just as a TV show must have something going for it if it lasts ten seasons, Judaism must have something going for it since it's lasted 6,000 years. Through the Crusades, the Holocaust and, today, Marjorie Taylor Greene and the likes who believe that the United States is a "Christian" country. (You can always spot a Christian country. It's the one that acts un-Christian.)
Tikkun Olam means "repair of the world."
It's a foundational thought in Judaism.
One person alone can't do much. But one person alone helping one person is the moral equivalent of saving the world. If we all said, "we'll do one thing, brook one kindness, raise one person up," well, that's how we repair.
About a year ago, I had an idea.
I saw a friend, a CMO at a multi-billion dollar company, was looking for creatives for his in-house creative department.
I called him. "I know a lot of people. I just taught a couple of classes. Can I help?"
Then, the idea.
What if we started a school, paid for by a brand, taught under my aegis, to help people get starter jobs and to help companies build marketing departments? A dirt under-the-fingernails way of learning the business. Where the students would get real briefs, get paid by the client and be taught by me and friends.
The students would present to the client, get feedback from the client, and make real work that runs in the real world.
I got a client to gamble on the idea.
I wrote some ads looking for students and posted them on LinkedIn. We got 3300 responses from five continents.
I partnered with Steph Cajucom, a friend and Creative Director who's now at Translation. She and I went through those responses. Picked eight students. Then we taught alongside each other.
I enlisted the help of Kerry Feuerman who taught a session on presentation skills.
Rob Schwartz came in and talked about having a thousand ideas.
The class had the ideas.
They presented the ideas to a dozen people from the Client. Including their North American CMO.
Smiles. (Was that applause I heard, or just my heart fluttering?)
Last week, Steph was in Cannes. As was the NA CMO, the Global Chief Brand Officer, the COO and one of the Founders. They asked Steph to present the students' work.
The. Client. Bought. Work.
Now we're working on how to produce work. Real work. In the field, measurable work. Work expected to influence minds and hearts.
Now we're working on next time. Our next Tikkun Olam.
As Rob said to Steph and me, "I think the Tikkun Olam strategy is really working here. There is so much to repair on Madison Avenue. But it happens one ad at a time. One class at a time. One client at a time."
Thanks Tom and Paul.
Thanks, Client (They deserve a lot of thanks.)
Thanks, Tikkun Olam.