Where is home? Wherever my bed is. 

Hustler, side-hustler and stereotype of the "slashie generation:"
Advertising creative director / Founder and co-creator of Secret Code / Writer and Girlboss contributor.

I have never been great at being just "one thing," starting by my blood: I am half French, half Filipino. My father's family is muslim, and my mother's is catholic. I've always loved math and art. Work and play. Pink and snakes.

Lived 14 years in the Manila, 14 years in Paris, 2 years in Toronto and 4 years in New York. Where is home? Wherever my bed is.

As a child, I was an oil painter and obsessed about 90s adventure games. I probably want to call my daughter Sierra (my husband doesn't know yet.) I coded my first website on Notepad in 1996 at age 13—with voting polls, midi and rollover animations 🤘

I'm straightforward like a French, caring like a Filipino and enthusiastic like an American. Things I don't get: relaxation, boredom, massages, vegan food, spas, sports on TV. I'm addicted to activity and adrenaline. I love Muay Thai, philosophy, writing, things that scare me, and helping others. 

 

fun stuff

Named a Next Creative Leader by 3% Conference and the One Club 2016
Chosen for Cannes Lions 'See it, Be it' initiative for aspiring creative leaders 2015
▸ Named one of Mashable’s Rising Stars in Advertising 2014
Advertising judge:
Next Creative Leader 2017, Hong Kong Global Design Awards 2016, One Show 2015, Art Director’s Club Canada in 2015, Cannes Future Lions Awards 2014-16, Webby's Portfolios 2014
▸ Speaker at the 3% ConferenceArt Director’s Club New York, Hong Kong Designer's Association
Lecturer at School of Visual Arts New York

▸ Outside of Secret Code: Other ad work mentions in press & TV: 
Fast Company, Slate, Buzzfeed, Mashable, Cnet, Google Creative Sandbox, Wired, PSFK, Huffington Post, Today Show, Good Morning America, ABC News, NBC News...

 

Advertising work homes

▸ Freelance (2016-...) 
▸ AKQA New York (2013-16) – 31 Agency of the Year awards
▸ Tribal DDB Toronto (2011-13) – Agency of the Year 2012 and 2013 (Strategy, Interactive, Webby's)
▸ BETC Paris (2004-11) – Gunn Report - #2 Most Creative Agency in the World 2010


Recommendations

Felicia Zhang
Director of Decision Science, Nike Portland

"Mara is one of those rare creative directors who is not only amazing at her job, but is awesome at mine too. She does her own research, asks provocative questions, making everything that we do stronger together. She then delivers original, innovative and thoroughly beautiful creative concepts that take the brief to new heights. Mara exceeds expectations every time. She is also a breath of fresh air, truly representative of a new generation of creative leadership - intelligent, inclusive, strong, caring, well-rounded and limitlessly talented. She's a full-service creative shop in one person. "

Pierre Duquesnoy
Creative Director, Digitas LBI London

"Mara is unique. Not only because she is one of the best creatives I've ever met, but also because she is one of these very rare types of people who puts true passion into their work. She loves to get into action and her fighting spirit combined with her unwavering positive thinking often lead the whole team to success. She has a great personality, humble and honest, and her high standards for creativity turn every single day you work with her into an awesome work day."