While in many ways the Mad Men era of advertising has long since passed – the echoes and impact of the “old boys club” still remain intact well into the 21st century. According to The New York Times*, although women make up about 50% of those working in advertising, only 11% of creative directors are female. Here at Cadient, the leadership team does a great job of elevating women, but like so many other companies we still have a long way to go.
Given these ongoing challenges, it’s always great to hear and learn from other women within the industry, especially when those women are your neighbors. Earlier this month, a few aspiring women from Cadient participated in the Philadelphia Ad Club’s Women of Advertising night. The organization is one of the region’s largest and most active trade-associations and continues to create events that inspire and motivate all who participate.
The evening included cocktails, networking, and a panel of thought leaders from the tri-state area ready to share their stories. The panelists included: Meredith Avakian-Hardaway, Anne A. Buchanan, Annie Heckenberger, Caroline Kennedy, Renee Mezzanotte and Lisa M. Miree-Luke
These women came from a variety of backgrounds and shared many unique perspectives. Some of the stories sounded eerily familiar, some shocked us, but every one of them proved that these women had overcome adversity in both their personal and professional lives.
A few things that stood out to the Cadient group in attendance:
1). How hard each of the panelists had worked to get to where they are
2). Their openness to share their experiences
3). Their willingness to mentor
4). Their perseverance through incredibly difficult experiences within the industry
As we returned to the office the next day we were able to formulate 5 key takeaways on how women can transform agency life, so here is what we discovered:
1). Get Involved
Whether it be faith based, community based or industry based, it’s important do something beyond your day to day routine to give back to the community.
2). Move Beyond Your Doubts
Kill the monster that is imposter syndrome — self-doubt kills dreams; never let that voice stop you from doing something amazing.
3). Stay Strong
Stand up for what is right, always — even if you are the only one left on the battle-field.
4). Stay Together
Rally around each other. As women, we tend to tear each other down and be catty. Instead, work to eliminate this behavior and our potential will be magnified.
5). Go the Extra Mile
“Put a little extra in it.” If you want to excel, put the extra time/energy/magic into everything you do. Without that little something extra, you are just ordinary.
Change does not always come easily – nor is progress automatic. So it’s important that both men and women in the advertising industry continue to work together building organizations that respect and empower women. That’s a campaign we can all feel good about!