A number of folks remarked on the importance of family, including Coltrane Curtis, founder and managing partner at Team Epiphany; Will Esparza, founder and CEO of Hyphenated; Ahmad Islam, founder and CEO of Ten35; Shannon Jones, co-founder of Verb; and Jonathan Vu, head of global brand media and sponsorships at ServiceNow.
Zooming in from his home office, Curtis said his 11-year-old son—who speaks fluent Mandarin, Spanish and English—works for him tracking packages and seeding kits, and emailing tracking numbers to the agency's accounts person.
In addition to spending more time with his teenagers, Islam added that he would "think about ideas that didn't come from a client brief. A lot of times in this industry, even as creators, we lose the opportunity to think freely."
Vu, who has his hands full with two kids under 5, said he'd use the extra time reaching out to friends and connections to strengthen those relationships.
Commending Coltrane Curtis for having such a cool name, Seth Freeman, VP of marketing and communications at BlueLinx, admitted, "I'm a big jazzhead, so if I had a couple of more hours I'd listen to some jazz." Keeping up the music theme, Sylvia Atsaves, chief of staff at Revolt, said she'd go to an outdoor concert. (She added that her boss, Detavio Samuels, CEO of Revolt and also a member of The List, would probably go swimming, which he does two hours a day anyway, or do a photo shoot.)
Karan Dang, head of creative at Walmart, is a sneakerhead, and would use the extra two hours working on his own line of sneakers. Randy Romero, social media director at GSD&M—and fresh off the Taylor Swift Capital One ticket presale frenzy—would take the old Land Rover Discovery he has been renovating for a long drive. (Mo Said, founder and creative director at Mojo Supermarket, had to leave the meeting early, but said he'd "hop in Randy's Discovery and go kick it with Sylvia at that outdoor concert.”)
Aaron Walton, co-founder and CEO of Walton Isaacson—and newly minted 2023 Advertising Hall of Fame inductee—said he'd spend the first 30 minutes perfecting a "slightly dirty martini and then the next 90 minutes reading a non-industry related novel or a book that took me away from the craziness of work all the time.”
Brandi Pitts, global head of partnerships, digital marketing, at Meta, said she'd "take that pottery class I've been looking at forever. And I'd also move off text and connect with my friends live.”
Jackie Gagne, senior VP of multicultural marketing at Warner Bros. Discovery, said she'd "go for a nice long walk, and when I got back, I'd probably start watching a movie, because I love movies and I don't always get the opportunity to do that."
Recent medical research has shown that self-care includes getting adequate rest and sleep, and although a bunch of Generation Next mentors agreed with the sentiment, the nature of their jobs sometimes makes that goal hard to achieve. In the midst of a move, Kwame Taylor-Hayford, co-founder at Kin, said he'd probably have to use the extra two hours "packing boxes. It's been a nightmare to try to navigate getting that done while running a company."
Charlyn Okigbo, business lead of emerging ad products at Uber, also recently moved and said she'd spend some time "making her place look a little more livable. Not to sound boring," she added, "but if I had two extra hours in the day, I'd probably take a nap."
"If I'm gonna get real with you," said Soyoung Kang, chief marketing officer of Eos, "if I had two more hours in the day, I would probably spend about an hour and a half of it trying to figure out what to do, and then I'd fall asleep for the last 30 minutes. Truth." Titania Tran, copywriter at Wieden + Kennedy Portland, concurred. "I would lay in bed deciding what to do for an hour, then I would spend an hour reading, and then I would sleep," Tran said. (Peres noted that earlier this year Tran's acceptance speech for winning Ad Age Creative of the Year on the power of "broken English" went viral on TikTok.)
Kelly Smith Killian, chief content officer at Wright Creative, said, "I would just do everything slower. I feel like I rush through my whole day and I don't really feel present in the moment sometimes."
Esi Eggleston Bracey, executive VP and chief operating officer of personal care at Unilever North America, and Catherine Davis, CMO, North America, at Tastytrade, both extolled the virtues of the massage. With any leftover time, Davis would add a cocktail, and Bracey would either cook or go out in nature for a walk. Bonnie Wan, head of brand strategy at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, also said she "would steal those two hours to be in nature and do what I just learned is called 'hammocking'—go find two trees somewhere beautiful, hang my hammock and nap."
Joining The List and Generation Next isn't the extent of the philanthropic efforts for the membership, obviously, and some, such as Ryan Detert, CEO of Influential, who is also a board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, said they'd use the extra two hours devoting more time to their other causes. (Earlier this year, Influential partnered with Group Black, a Black-owned media collective, and Essence Ventures, publisher of Essence magazine and proprietor of the music festivals Essence Fest and Afropunk, to connect Black creators with brands as companies look to uphold promises to diversify media spend.)
Lauren Franklin, founder and CEO of Summerjax, said that she would spend more time working with the youth in juvenile prisons. Marie Dagenais-Lewis, operations manager at Diversability, said she "would spend more time in the Diversability community itself to find more opportunities to engage and mentor in our community. We just launched our Diversability leadership collective last year, and we've already helped raise $27,000."