women

International Women's Day 2022

#BreaktheBias

73% of women experience bias at work—yet less than a third of employees are able to recognize bias when they see it. It's up to all of us to think about what we can do individually to create a more equal world and come together as a powerful force for change.

As part of an ongoing annual series to celebrate International Women's Day, we reached out to our community to ask them: 

As a marketing leader, what personal pledge have you made to further diversity, equity and inclusion in 2022?

What is one piece of advice you’d give people who want to #BreaktheBias this year?


Syl Saller CBE Syl Saller
President, The Marketing Society

As a marketing leader, what personal pledge have you made to further diversity, equity and inclusion in 2022?
It’s up to all of us to make #BreakTheBias a reality. To think about what we can do individually to create a more equal world. And to come together collectively as The Marketing Society as a powerful force for change. As marketers, we spend millions influencing the norms of portrayal. We can work harder to make sure our advertising, our companies and our brands reflect an unbiased view of people – in all their glorious and diverse humanity.  

Rebecca Hirst Rebecca Hirst
Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, EY

As a marketing leader, what personal pledge have you made to further diversity, equity and inclusion in 2022?
I'm taking part in EY's reverse mentoring programme to broaden my understanding of all things LGBTQ+. Allyship is important to me and I can be a better ally by better understanding different perspectives and experiences. My mentor is amazing and I can ask them anything without feeling like I 'should' already know the answer. I’ve made a pledge to be curious, open-minded and humble, to help me to become a better ally.

I'll also continue to actively seek opinions and input from people whose perspective is different to mine. In my previous role in technology, I was often the only woman in the room and I had to get comfortable with saying "I come at this from a different perspective…". I learned from that experience to steer away from group think and to encourage all voices in the room to be heard. 

What is one piece of advice you’d give people who want to #BreaktheBias this year?
For anyone wanting to #BreaktheBias, share your unique perspective and help the people around you to do the same.

Natalie Truong Natalie Truong
Chief Marketing Officer, Mercer

As a marketing leader, what personal pledge have you made to further diversity, equity and inclusion in 2022?
I pledge to take my marketer’s hat off when I am hiring. Let me explain. As an extroverted marketer, I am attracted to a fabulous elevator pitch – energetic, succinct and informative. My instinct – my bias – was that if an interviewee couldn’t achieve cut-through within two minutes, they were not for my team. I often – consciously and unconsciously – passed over people who didn’t come from the same cookie-cutter as me. I was wrong. One of my biggest lessons over the last two years working in 18 culturally and geographically disparate markets, is that hiring is a bit like dating – what attracts you is not necessarily what you need. ‘Mini-mes’ aren’t the answer, it’s actually diversity in experiences, views, manners and methods that produce the very best results. I have had to learn to make my decisions long after an interview ends. Some of the most valuable additions to my team have been people I would never previously considered – people who are the exact opposite of me. So, having benefitted from the value of diversity in skills, thought, experiences, and so much more, I make it a point to shed my marketer’s hat when interviewing, and listen, really listen – for much longer than two minutes.

What is one piece of advice you’d give people who want to #BreaktheBias this year?
Everybody has unconscious bias – simply as a result of being human. The hardest part is recognising them and admitting we have them. Often times, they affect our judgment or behaviours without us even realizing it. To #BreaktheBias, you first have to identify our unconscious bias. I encourage everyone to put themselves to the test – Harvard University’s implicit association test (IAT) is a good starting point. While it’s impossible to entirely eliminate our biases, we can all take the first step to recognise them, overcome them and change them. Assume you are going to make mistakes in your journey to #BreakingtheBias, learn from them, forgive yourself, and commit to doing better. To everyone wanting to #BreaktheBias…Happy IWD 2022!

Cheryl Calverly Cheryl Calverly
CEO, eve sleep

As a marketing leader, what personal pledge have you made to further diversity, equity and inclusion in 2022?
I pledge not to back away. It is ever so tempting to throw your hands up, as a female leader and ask the question ‘why do I have to always be the one fighting the good fight? Why have I always got to raise my voice, be the difficult one, make the uncomfortable points?’ and to feel that alongside everything else we are trying to do, lead a successful business, develop our people, create wonderful products, services and experiences, support family and friends, and try and actually have a bit of fun whilst doing it all, do I really have to be fighting the battle for diversity, equity and inclusion too? But the answer is simply “yes”. “Yes you do”. I have the privilege to be in this seat, leading this wonderful business because women before me did not back away. And it is my responsibility not to back away for the next generation.

What is one piece of advice you’d give people who want to #BreaktheBias this year?
That’s easy. Keep your horizons broad. Meet as many people as you can from all walks of life. Say yes to things. Get involved with activities that cross generations, cultures and backgrounds, but bring people together with a common passion. Art. Sport. Culture. Volunteering. Community. Travel. Whatever it looks like there’s something out there that you care about that will connect you deeply with people who don’t look and sound like you. And once you’re connected, like magic, biases just…fade away. They’re nothing but strange psychological constructs after all. And (she says in a stage whisper) it’ll make you a better marketer too…

Gemma Atkinson Gemma Atkinson
Chief Operating Officer, Active International 

As a marketing leader, what personal pledge have you made to further diversity, equity and inclusion in 2022?
My personal pledge is to focus on awareness and education in order to inform positive action. To take the time and to commit to understanding the bias in order to break the bias. My ambition is to channel the wisdom of Maya Angelou, a trailblazer, activist and poet, ‘to do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better’. Positive change starts with deep understanding. To break the bias we need to ask questions and care greatly. A great coach ‘holds the space’ in order to encourage reflection. My pledge speaks to being aware, being informed, being reflective and then being accountable for positive action.

What is one piece of advice you’d give people who want to #BreaktheBias this year?
My one piece of advice is to listen – deeply and actively. To be present, to not interrupt, to not assume or judge, and to ask questions with a generous intent. When we truly listen we are seeking to understand perspectives, and when we understand we create conditions for connection and change. What can you do to prioritise, nurture and encourage great listening?

Becky Moffat Becky Moffat
Head of Marketing, HSBC

As a marketing leader, what personal pledge have you made to further diversity, equity and inclusion in 2022?
Working in Marketing I am privileged to work with many talented people. The majority of the marketing team at HSBC are women, and many of the team are parents, whether this be established parents, new parents or soon to be parents. My pledge to #breakthebias is to ensure that, ALL parents know that they can have the career they want with HSBC and that, in particular, new and soon to be parents have all the support they need to take time out with their children and be confident that they are able to return to great opportunities when ready.

What is one piece of advice you’d give people who want to #BreaktheBias this year?
Be brave and be vocal – say what you need and want to get the balance right and don’t be afraid to ask for support. Too often we stay quiet out of embarrassment, a fear of being judged or because we don’t actually have a clear answer ourselves. Only you know what is in your mind and others can often help you figure things out. Share your thoughts as no-one, especially not your team mates or team leader, is a mind reader. 

Gini Mines
Gini SharvillGlobal Marketing Director, Haagen-Dazs & General Mills International 

As a marketing leader, what personal pledge have you made to further diversity, equity and inclusion in 2022?
My personal pledge is on my team. As our teams grow and change, my personal pledge is to make sure I seek out different voices, backgrounds, perspectives. It is often the easy (and often unintended) route to choose to work with those similar to yourselves, but we know that a teams strength is in its diversity of thought. Practically this means externally recruiting from different places, and internally seeking out opinions from different backgrounds: expanding empathy, listening at all levels. 

What is one piece of advice you’d give people who want to #BreaktheBias this year?
Be intentional. Don’t assume that you are thinking with unconscious bias just because you’ve had a training on it, or read about it, or know its important. If you are reading this, you already have a higher level of empathy and interest in this topic, so make sure your actions follow through. Make sure at every point where unconscious bias could occur, you are being intentional about addressing it head on. Have you invited the right mix of voices to that meeting? Have you chosen CVs to interview based on shared interests? Have you sought to understand why that person reacted in that way? Whether its via post-it notes, or diary reminders, or speaking proactively, frequently about it - do what you need to trigger yourself to think about this topic intentionally.  
 

Nellie Chan Nellie Chan
Head of Customer Solutions, Google Hong Kong

As a marketing leader, what personal pledge have you made to further diversity, equity and inclusion in 2022?
As a marketing leader I will continue to surround myself with people who challenge my thought process, be open to different opinions and always think again. There is no right or wrong on everything, it depends on how you look at them. To continue to coach young women in the industry and be the support, sponsor and ally to them.

What is one piece of advice you’d give people who want to #BreaktheBias this year?
You can disagree without being disagreeable. Despite any of our differences, we are all in it together. Respectfully listen, debate, decide and then move forward.

Pete Markey Pete M
Chief Marketing Officer, Boots UK

As a marketing leader, what personal pledge have you made to further diversity, equity and inclusion in 2022?
For a business to be a true ally, I believe that diversity, equality and inclusion have to saturate all levels. In addition to my commitment to continuing to learn and practice being an ally myself, I have also committed to applying this lens as a leader and creating space for each of my team members to be owners and champions of our DE&I agenda. 
 
Whether it be across the brands that we work with, representation in our adverts or empowering all team members to reach their full potential, I am committed to creating an inclusive environment for all.

What is one piece of advice you’d give people who want to #BreaktheBias this year? 
Be curious and open to learning more about others and different perspectives and life experiences – only by doing this can we become aware of our biases, build empathy and move from unconscious bias to conscious inclusion. 

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