To mark International Women’s Day, AdForum is gathering opinions from women working in advertising and marketing communications. We asked women from a range of job roles both agency- and client-side, for their view of the state of the industry.
How would you describe the overall culture at your agency?
I saw this on Instagram the other day and think it’s a pretty good summation of MOD:
A relaxed perfectionist with ADHD and chronic fatigue, pretty chill besides the occasional panic attack, loves their friends but hates people.
But seriously, we’re a tight knit team that doesn’t take ourselves very seriously. We’re all relentlessly obsessed with designing something people find valuable. That’s a fun environment to play in everyday.
In your opinion, what do you see as the biggest change in the advertising industry since women have begun to break the glass ceiling?
It’s exciting to no longer be the only woman in the room. Women do operate differently than men, and I think you’re seeing a ripple effect of increased diversity and inclusion initiatives as more women gain power. We pull each other up in a virtuous cycle that benefits everyone.
Do you think women still face challenges in our industry, and if so, what are they?
A couple of things: we’re hiring more women, which is great. But the industry has yet to build an environment that supports these women all the way to the C suite. We must nurture and mentor talent, not just get them in the door. And in that mentorship, be honest about the specific challenges women face in, not just business, but our industry. We’re also failing women of color. The next big challenge is the rampant racial inequality in the advertising industry.
How should we tackle an issue such as equal opportunity?
Diversity raises the bar and drives profitability. There are any number of studies proving this case with hard data. We must continue to remove bias from hiring, and most importantly, lay out clear paths to advancement for marginalized groups such as women and people of color.
How did you find your way into the marketing communication industry, and what professional achievement are you most proud of?
I actually have no business being in this business. I’ve never worked for any other advertising agency before creating my own. In retrospect, I created a company to house all of my vast interests and experiences ranging from sculpture, fashion, critical thinking, psychology and human behavior.
I’m most proud of our ability to simplify incredibly complex content, and design things people desire, love and covet.
Who inspired you the most, either inside the industry or outside? Why?
I have a diverse group of people that inspire me. Mikhail Baryshnikov, Oprah, Steve Jobs, Tom Ford, Jiro Ono... I find they have a common thread. A relentless pursuit of perfection to become a master at their craft. It’s something to take “how it’s done” and create a better experience. Something inspiring. Something that makes the intangible tangible. I admire and respect those that give their life to that quest.