"Everyone likes a fighter," Naomi Taylor, a junior creative at Mr President, says. Taylor is also the founder of Next of Kin, an initiative intended to get more care leavers, those who have spent time in foster or residential care, into creativity. "It is easy to try and look for the easy way out and just do the work and keep your head down, but you need to keep fighting for what you believe in," she adds.
Taylor cites her experience with humanitarian organisation Plan International, working on its "Girls get equal" campaign, as the creative highlight of her year. "I met amazing activists from across the world and I felt my own story was nothing in comparison to theirs," she says.
Looking back doesn’t come naturally to Taylor: "I’m always looking forward. I suppose it means I don’t always look at where I am. But I feel you can always do more, you can always do better."
In creative terms, she has already achieved a great deal, having picked up the only black Pencil at the D&AD New Blood awards this year. Yet for Taylor, "doing more" is about paying it forward. "I owe this industry a lot, the people who got me here and believed in me," she says. To that end, in 2019 she will be redoubling her efforts in her search for sponsors and agency partners for Next of Kin.
The old adage might suggest that you should never meet your idols, but Taylor works with one of hers, Laura Jordan Bambach, chief creative officer of Mr President, almost every day. It is a move she describes as the "best decision she ever made".
But while Taylor’s story so far is one of creative ambitions realised, she is realistic about the challenges facing young creatives. "I feel there needs to be more trust given to young people," she says. "Sometimes because you are new, or you have a different point of view from what has come before, you are automatically seen as wrong. Senior people need to listen more."
She adds that being guided by what happened in the past becomes a natural thing, so working closely with account and production teams is crucial to getting new ideas off the ground.
Taylor believes the onus is on individuals, regardless of background or age, to argue their case better and have courage in their point of view. "When I started out at ad school I saw the lack of diversity. I am a white, British female but diversity isn’t all about what you can see," she says. "I wanted to be something different from what I saw. I wanted to be myself."
As Taylor turns her fighting spirit to making a creative impact on her own terms, it’s clear she is a force to be reckoned with.
Naomi Taylor is a junior creative at Mr President and founder of Next of Kin