women

International Women's Day 2018:

Thoughts from the women in our network

To celebrate International Women's Day we asked some of the brilliant women in our network for their thoughts on two questions:

Which women they most admire and why? (They can be alive or dead.)

What advice would they give to young women today on thriving at work in the marketing industry?

Here's what they had to say, starting with our very own chief executive, Gemma.


Gemma Greaves, chief executive, The Marketing Society @gemmahgreaves

Which woman do you most admire and why? (They could be alive or dead.) 
There are too many to mention but a few spring to mind that I am particular fans of... Emma Harris, Syl Saller, Karen Blackett, Ellie Norman, Claire Koryczan, Tamara Strauss, Stephanie Brimacombe, Michele Oliver, Anne-Lise Johnsen Robb, Julie Doleman, Amanda Pitt, Ade Onilude, Nishma Robb,  Daryl Fielding, Pip Jamieson, Cilla Snowball, Jo Hagger, Tash Whitmey, Ali Hanan, Ruth Rowan, Ruth Saunders, Tricia Weener, Kerry Glazer, Abigail Comber, Francesca Davies, Orit Wolf, Manjiry Tamhane, Sherilyn Shackell, Edwina Dunn, Melina Jacovou, Alison Orsi, Ciara Dilley, Margaret Molloy, Virginia Sharma, Elen Lewis, Lisa Goodchild, Francesca Davies, Victoria Milligan, Raha Moharrak, Ella Dolphin, Lisa Gilbert, Simone Grounsell, Nicole Yershon, Kathleen Saxton, Rebecca Eaves, Letty Edwards, Kelly Rafferty, Roisin Donnelly, Jan Gooding, Amanda Mackenzie and of course all the brilliant ladies in my team.

Yes, they are all mightily impressive, but that’s not the reason; they are not afraid to be themselves, they embrace who they are and so are the best versions of themselves, and that takes courage and humility. They are also all up to something (to use my favourite leadership guru Steve Radcliffe’s phrase) they have a bigger plan in play, they want to make a difference and have a big impact. And they do and they will. 

What advice would you give young women today on thriving at work in the marketing industry?
Be yourself. Figure out what you really care about and live and breathe those values every day. Bring your whole self to work, it’s only when you are yourself you build trust, and through trust you build big relationships. And your support network ‘your cheerleaders’ is invaluable, it will give meaning to life, make things more fun and no doubt a powerful network will give you the competitive edge. And be brave, it’s only when you reach for the stars you will achieve greatness. 


Syl Saller, global CMO, Diageo and Marketing Society president @sylsaller

Which woman do you most admire and why? (They could be alive or dead.)
I think it’s more useful to talk about the qualities I admire, optimism, bravery, humility, kindness.  If you look across my close women friends, you’ll see they are a diverse bunch but they have these things in common. And I am truly blessed.

What advice would you give young women today on thriving at work in the marketing industry?
Don’t listen to the voices in your head! They are usually more critical than accurate. Learn from doing increasingly brave things and know that it is by doing, rather than by worrying, that you will grow beyond your wildest dreams.


Michele Oliver, VP marketing, Mars @mitchyov

Which woman do you most admire and why? (They could be alive or dead.)
Deborah Frances-White (creator and presenter of The Guilty Feminist amongst other things)

She is a wonderful example of being bold and brave. She shows that women can be funny AND demanding AND emotional AND intelligent – and that there is power in us all. She supports all women and goes out of her way to give a voice to those who are not heard of or listened to. She is my inspiration and her podcasts have brought laughter and tears to my long dog walks. #girlcrush

What advice would you give young women today on thriving at work in the marketing industry?
Be visible: Do the speech, lead the presentation, go on the panel.
Be demanding: Ask for the pay rise, for flexible hours, for equal pay.
Be supportive: Support other women and all those whose voices aren't heard enough.


Tash Whitmey, loyalty and membership director, Tesco @TashWhitmey

Which woman do you most admire and why? (They could be alive or dead.)
Emmeline Pankhurst – for her courage, conviction and perseverance and because we all owe her a debt of gratitude.  I think this quote sums up why - because she shaped the idea of women for our time, she shook society into a new pattern from which there could be no going back.

What advice would you give young women today on thriving at work in the marketing industry?
Map yourself a path and understand your values and your goals. Then take a look around and understand your context. Within that context, be clear what is important to you, then see if what is important to you is available or even possible, if not ask for it, and be sure that you are asking in a way that is clear and understood. And then if it doesn’t happen, either make your mind up to change it or look elsewhere, because where you are is not good enough and there are places that are.  Never be afraid to ask, if you don’t ask, it may well not  happen. 

I have two quotes that I love:
Strong women, you are not intimidating, they are intimidated by you, there is a difference.  I’ve adapted this slightly but I love it because it reframes and rebalances who is intimidated by strong women.
Do more of what you love – because I genuinely believe that if you are doing what you love, you stand a better chance of being good at it.


Aedamar Howlett, marketing director at Coca-Cola GB&I
 
Which woman do you most admire and why? (They could be alive or dead.)
For me, Mary Robinson epitomises the values of International Women’s Day. Bright, unafraid and compassionate, she started her career as a barrister and campaigner, before becoming the first female president of Ireland. She resigned the presidency two months early to take up her post in the United Nations, which shows her unwavering commitment to the causes she believed in.
 
Not only did she break down gender barriers – she transformed political attitudes too. Robinson breathed new life into a conservative, low-profile political office, and wasn’t afraid to stand up for what she believed in. On a day when we’re reflecting on the social, cultural and political achievements of women, I can’t think of anyone who has done more to advance our cause – and to have done so with such grace.
 
What advice would you give young women today on thriving at work in the marketing industry?
It’s okay to be out of your comfort zone. All too often we fool ourselves into thinking that success comes with being on top of everything, but the real lessons are learned when you’re under pressure, when you make mistakes, and when you’re forced to prioritise and focus only on the game changers on your to do list. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have worked with so many talented teams and to have worked for myself, and both come with their challenges.

But facing those challenges head on, pushing yourself to learn and innovate, and being unafraid of the unknown, is what will truly set you apart from the rest.


Kat Gordon, founder and CEO of The 3% Movement @katgordon

Which woman do you most admire and why? (They could be alive or dead.)
Gloria Steinem. She was an embodiment of intersectional feminism before that was even a thing. I got to meet her last year, and in her early 80's she's as fierce and sharp as ever.

What advice would you give young women today on thriving at work in the marketing industry?
Become an amazing presenter of your own thoughts and work. If you are shy (as I was), take a public speaking class and get over the fear. It is imperative you can campaign and defend your own ideas. Never let someone else on your team attempt to do this -- it's your responsibility and opportunity to stand up for what's yours.


Jan Gooding, global inclusion director, Aviva @jan_gooding

Which woman do you most admire and why? (They could be alive or dead.)
Elizabeth 1st, a queen who led men when women were not expected to, and brought peace in an age when enmities based on religious differences was the order of the day.

What advice would you give young women today on thriving at work in the marketing industry?
Don’t be naive - understand that gender discrimination is a real issue. Even if you don’t think it happens to you, it will be happening around you. Be ready to speak up for others as well as yourself.


Lisa Gilbert, CMO IBM UK & Ireland @lisanlondon

Which woman do you most admire and why? (They could be alive or dead.)
Michelle Obama: She exudes confidence without being unapproachable; she feels genuine, what you see is what you get; the grace in which she holds herself is worthy of that of a royal, ok, many royals.

What advice would you give young women today on thriving at work in the marketing industry?
Get comfortable being uncomfortable. As my CEO Ginni Rometty always says, "Growth and comfort don't co-exist".


Vikki Ross, copywriter, Campaign x Creative Equals Top 30 Female Creative Trailblazer 2017 @VikkiRossWrites

Which woman do you most admire and why? (They could be alive or dead.)
I admire any woman who blazes a trail for herself - who makes things happen, who fights for good, and who supports and celebrates other women. And there are so many to mention - here are just some of the wonder women in my working world (in no particular order): Ali Hanan of Creative Equals, Pip Jamieson of The Dots, Casey Bird of The Freelance Circle, Deanna Rodger of I Did It Too, Katherine Wildman of Haydn Grey, Sue Turner of Turner Ink, Rachel Gott of Who's Your Momma, Fabiana Xavier of SheSays, Jody Orsborn of The Backscratchers, Tess Alps and Lindsey Clay of Thinkbox, Ade Onilude of Women in Marketing, Roshni Goyate and Leyya Sattar of The Other Box, Jo Wallace of JWT.
 
What advice would you give young women today on thriving at work in the marketing industry?
Be strong, be confident, be interested and be interesting. Do what makes you happy. Do what you believe in. Work hard and work smart and you'll be a success. To quote Estee Lauder, "I never dreamed of success. I worked for it."


Manjiry Tamhane, global CEO, Gain Theory

Which woman do you most admire and why? (They could be alive or dead.)
I greatly admire Edwina Dunn, the co-founder of Dunnhumby. Edwina is a pioneer in the data science realm and an iconic female entrepreneur. As the co-founder of worldwide loyalty programmes like Tesco’s Clubcard, Edwina knows first-hand what it feels like to work in a male- dominated industry and how women’s lack of confidence holds them back. She also founded the Female Lead, an initiative that I am involved in, which is dedicated to making women’s stories more visible and offering alternative role models to those ever-present in popular culture.

What advice would you give young women today on thriving at work in the marketing industry?
Firstly, shy bears get no honey. If you don’t ask, then you won’t get and realizing that 'no' is the worst response you’ll ever get will give you the confidence to at least ask.
Secondly, always treat others as you’d like to be treated.
Finally, don’t let anyone tell you what you can or cannot be in life!


Elissa Montanti, founder of The Global Medical Relief Fund @Mon_Elissa

Which woman do you most admire and why? (They could be alive or dead.)
Mother Teresa. In the face of adversity and the worst of circumstance, she endured by her unwavering determination.

She started out on her own feeding a group of the poor in India. At the time of her death, the Missionaries of Charity were operating 610 missions in 123 countries. These included hospices and homes for people with HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis, soup kitchens, children's- and family-counselling programmes, orphanages and schools.

What advice would you give young women today on thriving at work in the marketing industry?
I would say as well,as never putting anyone beneath you, never hold anyone higher either. Believe in yourself and stay determined to climb.


Katie Ewer, strategy director, JKR Singapore @katieewer

Which woman do you most admire and why? (They could be alive or dead.)
My grandmother. She was a zoologist who specialised in studying cheetahs and did some groundbreaking research in South Africa in the 1940s and 1950s. Her book is still used as part of the academic curriculum at universities. Most importantly, she gave zero fucks. She had short hair, wore trousers and safari boots in an age where women were expected to wear petticoats and corsets, and she smoked a pipe. Oh, and she kept a family of meerkats in the house.

What advice would you give young women today on thriving at work in the marketing industry?
1. Sometimes the last person you believe in at work is yourself, so start with self confidence.
2. Try, fail, try again, fail better. Mistakes are the best lesson you’ll have, so embrace them.
3. Don’t feel you have to be nice. Sometimes its okay to be a nasty woman. Marketing isn’t a Miss World interview.


Jo Wallace, creative director, writer, & founder of Good Girls Eat Dinner @JoWallaceTweets

Which woman do you most admire and why? (They could be alive or dead.)
Dead: Emiline Pankhurst. Alive: Every women who believes equality for women and does what she can - the little things, or the big things - to make that equality a reality.

What advice would you give young women today on thriving at work in the marketing industry?
Be you, carve your own way. Don't feel you need to emulate men and the way men succeed. Do it your way. It will a lot better for it.


Claire Koryczan, managing partner, DECODED

Which woman do you most admire and why? (They could be alive or dead.)
My Nan; Alice Koryczan.

Strong, fiercely independent and loyal. A passionate feminist who was a land army girl in her teens during the war, married twice (which was completely frowned upon in those days), yet stood up for what she believed in, battled with breast cancer and won!

My nan is 92 this year. I admire her strength so much. 

What advice would you give young women today on thriving at work in the marketing industry?
Believe that anything is possible!

Be bold. Be brave. Feel the fear and do it anyway. This is truly when magic happens in life.

Most importantly, be you.


Elle Graham-Dixon, strategy director, BBH @elle_sis

Which woman do you most admire and why? (They could be alive or dead.)
I admire every woman who is doing something big or small; every woman who has spoken out, every woman who has endured sexual harassment, every woman who refuses to accept second-class treatment, every woman who understands her own privilege, every woman who brings every woman with her, every woman who brings men with her too and every woman who believes that this moment will change everything for every woman.

This is a really exciting time in feminism’s history. #MeToo has been a long time coming, and it’s different from other defining feminist moments because of the critical mass of women behind it. #MeToo is global, inclusive and democratic – it has its heroes but it is not about them. So I had to cheat at this question and say that I admire every woman who is turning up to our revolution right now, however, they choose to participate.

What advice would you give young women today on thriving at work in the marketing industry?
When selecting job opportunities make sure you know what you’re dealing with. Look at the balance of their leadership team, look at the gender pay gap they publish this April, and read their maternity policy even if this isn’t remotely on your agenda – it’s a great indication of broader equality attitudes. If you can, choose a company which has published a zero-tolerance sexual harassment statement too.

Within a company identify mentors and turn them into your champions – it’s flattering to be asked to give advice or mentor someone so be brave and ask - people are likely to say yes.

When it comes to pay, understand how the business makes money and the role you play so you can have a conversation with neutral facts. Also remember that you can help your boss to help you - giving pay rises should feel good and this is partly in your control – don’t assume that you have to fight.

Promote yourself by doing part of the job above yours or the job you want. If you think that would be treading on toes, then make out like it’s educational ‘if I had a go at turning this research into the brief or writing the report from this data, would you look at it – I just want to understand the process better.’ You may not be able to do their job better than them, but if you do it faster, it makes more sense for them to work with it than to start from scratch.


Casey Bird, freelance senior copywriter and founder of The Freelance Circle @caseyjbird

Which woman do you most admire and why? (They could be alive or dead.)
I have 3 women who have inspired me in different ways throughout my 20s (I've just hit my 30s). Alexa Chung, as she inspired me to feel it's OK to have a 'little boy body' as she calls it, and style it well. Emma Sexton for her business mind and drive to be totally bad ass, which clearly flows into her Bad Ass Woman's Hour podcast. And lastly Ellen Degeneres, she uses her fame to really empower women and help amazing causes especially the LGBTQ community.

What advice would you give young women today on thriving at work in the marketing industry?
1. Know your worth. Then exceed it.
2. Get a mentor outside of your workplace (there are plenty of programmes offering free mentorship, like SheSays 'Who's Your Momma').


Emily Horswell, strategist at eatbigfish

Which woman do you most admire and why? (They could be alive or dead.)
Mine would have to be my Mum - Tessa, or T-Bear as she’s known to us. I admire her attitude to daunting opportunities. Her disposition to say ‘yes’, and tendency to jump in first, has a magnificent domino effect on everybody around her. Life is more entertaining when she’s there and I feel incredibly lucky to have enjoyed so many adventures on which she has led the charge. We could all do with being a bit more like T-Bear.

What advice would you give young women today on thriving at work in the marketing industry?
Our industry is full of smart, engaging people. Seek out those who you think are wonderful and wangle your way into working with them. I’ve always been happiest and done my best work when I’ve been learning from somebody brilliant. You might not be able to choose a boss, but that shouldn’t hold you back from building rapport with people outside of your team. Those people are the ones who you will learn the most from, enjoy working with (even when times are tough) and ultimately they will enable you to thrive.


Adriana Rizzo, VP, marketing and publicity, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt @AdrianaRRizzo

Which woman do you most admire and why? (They could be alive or dead.)
I am overwhelmed by Emma Gonzalez, the Latin American/Cuban, bi-sexual, 18-year-old turned anti-gun advocate for the worst of all possible reasons: in mourning of her dead friends. She is a wonder to listen to, an inspiration to all and proof that if you dare to seize the moment anything is possible.

What advice would you give young women today on thriving at work in the marketing industry?
Don’t settle. Just because something is, it doesn’t mean it has to remain. You have more power than you think, dare to use it and craft the life you want and deserve.


Debs Gerrard, freelance creative director @debsgerrard

Which woman do you most admire and why? (They could be alive or dead.)
Someone that’s recently inspired me is Elina Berglund. She was originally a particle physicist and discoverer of the Higgs Boson, who then left her job to co-found and develop Natural Cycles - the world’s first government-approved contraceptive app.
 
The first innovation in this space in 60 years, it replaces medication with technology and in turn is liberating and empowering women globally.
 
What advice would you give young women today on thriving at work in the marketing industry?
Think laterally.
Do things that make the world a better place for women.
Strive to be a Changemaker every day.


Join the conversation on Twitter, @TheMarketingSoc with #IWD2018.