Advertising Week New York played host to a number of panels designed to promote equality, education and support. Here are some key takeaways from the week’s programming.
Diversity Equals Clarity
Even though women make up half the population, female consumers and professionals often find themselves under- or misrepresented in both ads and the workplace.
“[Women] drive over 70 to 80 percent of purchase decisions,” said Frances L. Webster, CEO of Walrus in a panel called “Run It Like A Girl.” “We are the most powerful consumer group on Earth. Having women well-represented in the C-suite just makes sense, but we have a long way to go.”
Webster said that her management team is 50/50 male and female by design. On the same panel, Wolfgang president and CSO Seema Miller added that her own diversity hiring isn’t just about women.
“Our goal is to bring diversity of thought,” she said. “What we need to do is hire people who don’t look like us.”
The demand for equality and representation isn’t just about being fair, said women on a panel called “The Girl Gaze,” it’s about seeing the whole picture.
“Women often have an entirely different perception . . . that it goes beyond representation and into this idea of a different point of view of the narrative,” said Colleen DeCourcy, president of Wieden+Kennedy. “When women’s voices are absent, we’re missing an entire angle of what’s going on.”
Amanda de Cadanet, founder and CEO of Girlgaze began her television hosting career in London at the age of 15. Throughout her career, she observed that the female perspective was skewed or lacking altogether. She also found it hard not to collaborate with other ladies at work.
“It’s not an honor to be the only woman,” she said.
De Cadenet asked women and those who identify as female to share their point of view on Instagram through photos. They have had over 4.5 million submissions to date using the hashtag #GirlGaze.
In addition to several panels, the annual Wrap party, featuring Alessia Cara, served not only as entertainment but as a fundraiser for #TimeUp.
“I want my daughter to have the same opportunities that I had,” said Matt Scheckner, Advertising Week CEO during the event. “I hope we can help move the needle on some of those issues.”
The Resources To Succeed
Once women are in the workplace, it’s vital to make sure they get the resources they need.
For Sandy Greenburg, co-founder and CEO of Terri and Sandy, retaining talent in the workplace should be a two-way street. If an employee does not feel like the hours are flexible enough or caters to her family life, Greenburg encourages having an honest conversation.
#TimesUp hosted a panel on Tuesday called “The Opportunity of Intersectionality in the Pursuit of Equity” that discussed the importance of representation and nurturing of talent in the workplace.
“When you’re thinking about how to retain your talent or recruit diverse talent and keep them, you need to be thinking about issues [that impact people individually] in terms of both your talent and your target audiences,” advised Gloria Lin, coordinator of diversity and inclusion at 4A’s.
Men were encouraged to help the movement through leadership and by rethinking their approach to diversity in the workplace, whether that be women, people of color or other groups.
In a panel called “What About the Men,” hosted by Time’s Up Advertising, Interpublic Group’s Heide Gardner said, “When you walk in the door to work, we should all be totally committed to setting each other up for success. You can’t do that if you don’t treat and address people as though they matter.”
Greg Stern, CEO of BSSP reminded executives that they make their own pipelines. If they don’t have enough diversity, they need to create it.
Did you attend diversity programming at Advertising Week New York? Let us know what you thought!