Candace combs through the huge array of content on stage at Cannes so you don’t have to. Here are her week’s worth of must see seminars and panels promoting a more gender balanced Festival, industry and world.

Last year my most popular blog post was the one I wrote about gender balancing your week at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. This year, there is even more progress in term of changing the ratio of women to men on the stage and in the jury room. In fact, the Festival, whose content and awards simply reflect the industry that makes the work, has taken a leadership role with the continuation of the career boosting See It Be It program and the introduction of the ground breaking Glass Lion.
Their Head of Brand, Senta Slingerland, puts it perfectly when she says ‘…that marketing – as well as film, music, entertainment – shapes culture and heavily influences the way people see themselves, and each other.’
So I’m jazzed about the array of smart, sassy feminist friendly talent who will be on stage this week. What are you excited to see? Tweet me @CandaceKuss.
Kick off your week with:
Stretching Your Creativity: New Ways To Build In New Mediums Far Outside Of Your Comfort Zone
Hosted by Barbarian Group | 12:00 – 12:45 Grand Audi
The speakers look amazing — creative entrepreneurs and role models: Billie Whitehouse, Designer, Director of Wearable ExperimentsEmilie Baltz, Artist with a focus on food and sensory storytelling; and Sophie Kelly, the CEO of The Barbarian Group. This topic is really what the Cannes content program is all about. Prepare to be inspired.
We are proud to contribute to the main stage at Cannes again this year. Please join us for:
Jefferson Hack + Samantha Morton Champion Female Creative Talent
Hosted by H+K Strategies | 12:00 – 12:45 Grand Audi
Marketing is hardly the only industry which lacks gender balance at the top. Hollywood’s top directors are almost all male. H+K will help Dazed launch their #FemaleFirsts program — a global search for four female directors who will be awarded funding, A-list mentoring and support. Could it be you?
All eyes will be on the very first Glass Lion — the Lion for Change. This new category was invented to celebrate and recognise work that shatters gender stereotypes. Sadly, there is still so much misrepresentation of gender in marketing communication that this award is needed to stimulate more balanced creative concepts.
Jury President, the amazing Cindy Gallop, says, ‘I want every single brand and agency whose work doesn’t quality for the Glass Lion, to ask themselves why that’s the case.’ Totally agree. (My prediction is the outstanding Always #LikeAGirl takes the prize, but we will have to see.)
Quite a few sessions this year addressing the gender issue head on, although not as many on the main stage as you’d hope. While I suspect this next one will be a pitch for the Lifetime channel, it’s title alone gets it included in this post.
Marketing To Women in the Fourth Wave Of Feminism 
Hosted by A+E Networks | 10:30 – 11:00 | Audi A
There is always an abundance of female actorsreality stars and others glam females on stage at Cannes. I think serious creative and marketing VIPs are much more useful role models for young delegates in our industry. That said, I’ll be grabbing a seat to see Grace Helbig and company talk about:
Music in the Digital Age
Hosted by YouTube | 13:00 – 13:45 Grand Audi
The phenom that is Grace Helbig is a lesson in talking your career into your own hands. Aspiring actor and comedian, Grace got famous via YouTube without doing make-up tutorials or fashion vlogs and without the help of any old school talent management or media empire. Now she has her own TV show and has infiltrated the mainstream. I think she is her generation’s own version of Lucille Ball.
ALSO: Don’t miss the Future Lions, sponsored by AKQA and Google. Year after year, this is one of my Cannes highlights. The talent is phenomenal and the ideas awarded are all things that weren’t possible five years ago. So good.
Some of my friends and favorite women will be Tackling the Gender Gap in the Global Creative Tech Sector
Hosted by Unruly | 11:55 – 12:40 Inspiration Stage
Big big big topic. Join super smart: Sarah Wood, Co-founder, COO, Unruly; Deirdre McGlashan, Global Chief Digital Officer, Mediacom; Kathryn Parsons, Co-founder & Co-CEO, Decoded; Neha Gandhi, Vice President of Editorial Strategy, Refinery29.
Thursday is also talent day on the Forum stage in Audi A. Don’t miss:
The Way Forward #Adwomen2015 (aka Turn On, Lean In, Drop Out in the delegate book)
Hosted by BBH NYC | 14:45 – 15:15 Audi A
Some serious firepower panelists for this one: Colleen DeCourcy, Global ECD, Wieden + Kennedy; Sarah Watson, Chief Strategy Officer, BBH NY; Erica Hoholick, President, TBWA/Media Arts Lab; Suzanne Powers, Global Chief Strategy Officer, McCann.
Stay in your seats — there’s more.
Diversify Or Die: The Business Case for Gender Diversity 
Hosted by LeanIn.Org | 15:30 – 16:00 Audi A
Possibly a case of preaching to the converted for anyone who has read this far in my post. But the infectious Dana Anderson (SVP, CMO, Mondelez) alone is always worth hearing and she’s joined by Jessica Bennett, Journalist, LeanIn.Org; Nick Bailey, CEO, ECD, Isobar
This year sees the launch of Lions Innovation — a festival within the Festival. Let’s face it, the tech world speaker stage is typically a sausage fest, so the program here features far less women than I’d like. But I will be keen to explore and learn from the wide selection of talks. And maybe suggest more female speakers for next year.
What are you most looking forward to? Follow me @CandaceKuss and share the seminars and trends you find most compelling. It might just be the Serendipity on the Croisette which shapes the biggest impact from Cannes 2015.