Let’s face it, our industry is going through a major transformation. While progress is being made for women in the workplace, this is go time- not time to rest on our laurels, and be satisfied with our achievements. Lean In, #TimesUp and #MeToo are more than marketable phrases and hashtags — they’ve evolved into supercharged movements. And companies are listening.
In the wake of these national discussions, the onus is on leaders to practice what they preach and ensure that gender, inclusion, and the advancement of women take center stage.
Earlier this year, The AD Club hosted its 3rd annual WOMEN:NOW Master Class in New York City. Executives from the nation’s top brands, media companies and ad agencies came together with professionals of all ages and at all stages of their careers to share stories and expertise, and to devise strategies around personal empowerment, development and the reshaping of today’s workplace.
Following are highlights from the event.
God-is Rivera, Director, Inclusion and Cultural Resonance at VML
“A female leader needs to do what she needs to do to lead. And anyone that has a problem with it, that’s on them. Listen to the people who are underrepresented, the people who want to see change happen, and really take a hard look at what we’re doing to get there.”
Mari Kim Novak, President, Advertising Week
“You need to really take a moment and think about what you want. Don’t just allow companies to interview you—you interview the company. Make sure your core values and must-haves exist within that company.”
Shaquana Ford, Sr. Client Account Manager, Twitter
“Don’t allow fear to hold you back. I’ve been able to have conversations with my CEO simply because I was brave enough to send an email saying, “Here are some issues I’ve been seeing. I would love to have a conversation about this with you if you have 5-10 minutes to give me.”
Cecilia Carter, Executive Coach, Motivator, The Strategy Chick
“When I look at my 22-year-old self, what would I say? I see myself as a leader, and not just a person who is executing a task. Open your ears and really be open to feedback.”
Lauren Newman, President, Corporate Beauty, Meredith
“I’ve told every single one of my male bosses, ‘Your job is the one that I want.’ It’s an interesting conversation—I think you figure out the ones that are excited to hear that and want to see you get there, and you also see the ones that are threatened by it. And you have to figure out which one it is that you need to play to.”
Valerie Graves, Author, Former CCO, Vigilante & UniWorld Group
“Part of the biggest challenge for any woman, any person of color in this industry, is finding one’s authenticity and being able to bring that to work.”
Cecilia Lang, Senior Vice President of Digital Sales, OUTFRONT Media
“I think curiosity, asking questions, and just not being afraid to be clear that you don’t necessarily understand how something operates, is a really smart way to learn and grow.”
Dionna McPhatter, Co-Founder, BLKBOX
“Often times, we don’t realize how unique we are. If you just are comfortable in your own skin, and set out to be that, communicate what you actually are, what I’ve had reflected back to me is that that’s disruptive.”
Laurel Rossi, CMO, OMD & Founder, Creative Spirit and Event Co-Chair
“In the marketing, advertising, creative, media, and tech businesses, there is a place for anybody that has a passion for being both right-brained and left-brained. My advice most often is really to follow your passion first, look to creative industries as quickly as possible, because they are wonderful places for good, long careers.”
Michelle Aragon, SVP Business Solutions, Magna Global
“Try things you think you’re interested in. Sometimes taking a step over here might take you over to another step over here that you hadn’t even thought about. Interview other people—ask experts, ask your friends, find mentors, join organizations.”
Amanda Richman, CEO, Wavemaker
“There is an element of ‘fake it ‘til you make it.’ That’s a reality. You may not feel confident, but you’re going to have to put your voice out there. You’re going to have to find the right triggers and tricks that work for you.”
Tricia Clarke-Stone, Co-Founder and CEO, WP Narrative
“Identify your superpower and apply that into whatever your field is. Really hone in on the white space, where you feel the opportunity is for you to plant that flag and activate that superpower.”
Val DiFebo, CEO, Deutsch, NY
“I have to be forceful sometimes, because we have to get a great product out the door. But I think if you listen to people and try to hear what they need, you build a culture that works together and collaborates. And that works to the benefit of both agencies and clients.”
Co-Authored by: Adam Cohen Aslatei, VP Marketing at Jun Group and Gina Grillo, President & CEO at The ADVERTISING Club of New York