Two McCann Manchester employees have landed prestigious personal development opportunities, with Lead Interactive Developer Jo Portus being selected for the Manchester International Festival’s Creative Lab artist development programme, while Account Director Rebecca Ziantoni has secured a place on the highly acclaimed Marketing Academy Scholarship programme.

Creative Lab is a place for 20 artists and creative experts – selected from a wide range of disciplines including film, visual arts, sculpture, performance, dance design, poetry and music – to hone their skills and generate a series of creative responses to Manchester International Festival themes and commissions. They will be supported by a host of international artists and companies including The White Pube, Christian Payne, Hardeep Pandhal, Delaval Film, Kate O’Hara – Duck Soup Films, Sparklab – Mel Harris, Alex Rowse – Punchdrunk and Alexander Whitley.

The biennial Manchester International Festival runs from 4-21 July and brings together artists from different art forms and stages innovative and forward-thinking new work at a wide range of venues across Greater Manchester. The 2017 festival attracted a record attendance of 300,000.

Jo said, “I’m honoured to have been selected for the Manchester International Festival’s Creative Lab artist development programme, and I know that I’ll be able to learn a lot from the artists and companies that will be sharing their knowledge and expertise.

“The Manchester International Festival is an iconic event that feeds off the creative stronghold that Manchester has become and helps people’s ideas and projects come to life. It’s a fantastic event to be part of.”

Rebecca Ziantoni will be undertaking the Marketing Academy Scholarship, a highly selective 15-day learning programme delivered over nine months. Thirty scholars will experience a powerful combination of mentoring, coaching and lectures delivered by some of the top CEOs, CMOs and business leaders from the UK and the rest of the world.

The 30 marketers went through a three-stage selection process that included nominations, pitches and face-to-face interviews. The latest cohort includes emerging leaders from client-side brands, media owners, agencies and start-ups, and contains talent from leading companies such as Guardian News and Media, BT, Facebook and KFC.

Rebecca said, “This is a fantastic opportunity and I’m thrilled to have been selected. The scholarship gives me the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the business and then apply what I’ve learnt to my benefit and the agency’s benefit. I can’t wait to get started.

Karen Buchanan, Chief Executive of McCann Manchester, said, “We’re so proud of Jo and Rebecca and it represents a real achievement for both of them.”