MAKERS: For The Female Leaders Of Tomorrow

You know it’s officially Spring when hundreds of Adlanders ascend on London’s Picturehouse for Advertising Week Europe. Now celebrating its fifth anniversary, the week offers up a whole host of inspiring seminars and workshops to celebrate what’s great about this exhilarating industry.

Kicking off the week, one of the main attractions of the day was always going to be the Makers Breakthrough panel session, chaired by AOL’s Nitya Rajan. A fact confirmed when I arrived to a queue that spanned across three staircases and ended half way down the street to Piccadilly Underground station.

For those who don’t know, Makers Breakthrough is an initiative to keep gender diversity at the very top of the agenda and ignite change in advertising by showcasing stories of women in the industry that have broken through the glass ceiling.

We were lucky enough to hear from four women who know better than anyone how to strive for success: Karen Blackett (CEO of MediaCom), Ruth Mortimer (Content Director, Centaur Marketing), Rachel Bristow (Director of Client Partnerships & Collaboration, Sky Media) and the brilliant Sam Phillips (CMO of OMG).

Here are five pieces of advice I took away from what was one hell of an inspiring and empowering session:

  1. Forget work-life balance, you only have one life. Live it how you want to and don’t feel guilty about it.
  2. When negotiating, know your worth. If the answer is no, don’t be afraid to go back and ask again later on. As Karen highlighted, men learn early on in life what it feels like to be rejected on the dating scene, but they just keep going. Women tend to shy away in the face of rejection and never do it again. We need to adopt this approach to negotiating.
  3. Have cheerleaders – people who know you and can champion you in both your professional and personal life.
  4. Facts and stats are your friends – if the consumer economy had a gender it would be female. 70-80% of all purchases are made by women. Without recognising the value of women in senior roles, old-fashioned male leaders won’t be future proofing their business.
  5. Love what you do – chose a career path you love, because you will be naturally good at it. When you love something, your performance will shine.

And there’s plenty more where that came from. Check out the video below to hear from some more powerhouses in the industry. The future’s female, after all.


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