The next session was a panel debate, in which Lord Davis posed the question, “Are quotas the best way to get women on boards?” The panel consisted of Nicola Mendelson, Lindsey Clay, Daryl Fielding and Stevie Spring.
Although many of us agreed that mandated quotas weren’t necessarily the right thing to adopt, we all agreed that the threat of them has put women on the agenda, forcing us to think more about opportunities for women in the workplace.
There is no hiding that men and women, even with similar educational backgrounds, often differ in their perspectives. The female perspective is neither necessarily better, nor more insightful, but different. And, it’s this difference that will cultivate board diversity, combining alternative and complementary views which will lead to better decisions in the end.
For the time being, there will be no legislation to impose a quota; but what can we do in our industry and agencies to bring more women on to executive boards? The 30% club is one initiative, whose pledge is “Growth Through Diversity”, aiming to end masculine boardroom control on a voluntary basis, without the need for a controversial quota, such as that imposed in Norway, where 40% of board members must be women.
It is also critical to identify talented woman and create career opportunities for them, implementing the right talent development and succession planning to nurture them to the top, as well as measuring results to check for progress. Nicola Mendelson spoke about how her agency, Karmarama has implemented a women’s group, speaker events and mentors as well as involving men by posting intriguing posters calling for good men. They would then meet said ‘good men’ and educate them on how to stop and call out sexist behaviour in the office, because they realised it was much more powerful if it came from the blokes themselves. This highlights how we need to think creatively about how we address the issues within our own agencies.
Before lunch we had our ‘breakout sessions’, giving us the opportunity to explore key topics in greater detail and in smaller discussion groups. I opted for Speed Mentoring in which we had ten ‘power’ minutes with each mentor to ask questions. Below I’ve picked out a few words of wisdom from each mentor.
- Leigh Thomas – Dare, CEO: Create a persona and dial it up for certain situations
- Cindy Yendell – Unspun, CEO: Become an expert at your strengths
- Lindsay Pattison – Maxus’, CEO: Being desperately ambitious isn’t a bad thing, so don’t apologise for it.
- Suki Thompson – Oystercatcher: Find a strong business partner.
- Zoe Osmond – NABS, CEO: Networking is powerful.
- Lindsey Clay – Thinkbox, Managing Director: Don’t be self-deprecating and always speak early in meetings with clarity.
- Jessica Burley – m/SIX, CEO: Agency life is refreshing and dynamic but you’re not in control of your time, client side is slightly more repetitive but you can manage your day more consistently so pick what’s right for you.
- Nicki Hare – Walker Media, Vice Chairman: If you have a rising star in your team keep them constantly challenge and nurture them up the career ladder.
- Nikki Crumpton – McCann Worldgroup, Director: Believe in yourself and be confident.
Part 4: Coming Soon
The second speaker was Karen Darke, a published author and 2012 paralympian silver medalist Karen’s talk was heartfelt, emotional and incredibly inspiring. If you need motivation, then Karen is your woman!
Karen had a serious mountain climbing accident which left her paralysed from her chest down. Since then, Karen has undertaken some enormous challenges that most of us in the room would never consider doing in our lifetime. Just a few of the tremendous journeys that Karen undertook were hand-biking over the Himalayas from Kyrgyzstan to Pakistan, kayaking the inside passage to Alaska and sit-skiing the 600km across Greenland to become the first person in a wheel chair to complete this journey. And, if that wasn’t inspirational enough Karen then decided that her next challenge would be to compete at the London 2012 Games.
Karen explained how many things can stand in our way of achieving success, and creates ‘those mountains in our minds’. For Karen, it was her self-doubt but then she realised she had to adapt to change. Karen’s positive attitude to life shone through, especially when she described her WIBA’s. Her personal acronym for, “wouldn’t it be amazing..?” Whatever your WIBA is, helping ourselves and others towards our WIBAs, no matter how simple or small they might be allows us to go on a journey and become our own hero. It’s better to try and fail than never try.
Karen finished her speech with this inspirational quote:
On Wednesday, a few of us Carat ladies were lucky enough to attend the WACL Gather Conference. WACL (Women in Advertising and Communications, London) is a group of the most influential women in the UK Communications Industry who invest their time and energy in helping to develop women in our industry and run training workshops throughout the year which culminates in Gather – a day of inspiration and training.
This year Gather 2013 tackled the topical subject of ‘Authenticity and Success’ – helping you to succeed midst challenging and turbulent times in business & remain true to yourself whilst making the most of business opportunities as they arise.
The first speaker was Facebook VP Global Marketing Solutions, Carolyn Everson. Her presentation entitled ‘A Work in Progress’ focussed around passion, persistence and prioritisation. Carolyn was honest and open about “trying to have it all”, explaining that “there’s no such thing as work-life balance”. Instead Everson’s motto is “work-life integration”, describing her career more as a jungle gym as she blends work and home together. Everson is fortunate enough to be in a position where she can bring her twin daughters on at least one business trip per quarter but she said for all of us, balance issues are people ones, not men vs. women. We all need to understand what is important to us and be clear what your priorities are on any given day. Everson’s rule is to attend every ‘first’, first school play, first hockey game, first graduation and if that means missing a meeting then so be it.
Carolyn’s second piece of great advice was building your own personal board of directors. People that you can go to for career and life advice, who act as your sounding board, giving you objective guidance to help make those important life decisions. Everson’s most difficult decision was taking the job at Facebook after being headhunted by Sheryl Sandberg, which would mean leaving Microsoft after only 9months employment and breaching certain elements of her contract. She received some negative press in the media, but it is clear from her current success that her personal board gave her some good advice to make that difficult decision.
May 16, 2013
Last month I and a fellow colleague / school friend / mate decided to enter the Guardian Young Lions competition. It was probably the best experience of my career to date and I urge all of you to take part for both the highs and lows.
So here is my experience and I hope it inspires you to enter in 2014.
Client: Save the Children.
Media Brief: Make the case for aid.
“Create a news and PR media plan that we can use as part of a wider campaign to convince the tabloids and right wing press that aid works, and that they need to support our campaign to enshrine the 0.7% aid budget in legislation”.
Oh. And do it in 24 hours.
Stressful? Yes, but also exhilarating!
In reality, we are very rarely expected to turn around briefs in such a small timescale but sometimes it does happen, especially if you are working on pitches which can inevitably become highly pressurised situations so having the skill to remain calm and think with clarity is incredibly valuable.
So where did we start?
Firstly we did a lot of desk research, both of us will admit that we were not 100% knowledgeable about the topic of aid spend. Once we had swotted up and started to feel like aid gurus we began brainstorming using some of the techniques my team mate, Helen had learnt on her Google Squared training course. This part actually reduced us into fits of laughter at points with some of the associations we made with certain words and it helps us to categorise our thoughts.
At this point I will admit we were stumped. It was the word ‘PR’ in the brief that kept throwing us. Neither of us have any prior experience of answering PR briefs and we decided to call it a night and to come back bright and early the next morning hopefully feeling slightly refreshed.
When I was home, I did some more browsing online and came across David Cameron’s ‘Golden Thread of Development’ theory. I researched further, but couldn’t quite gain clarity on what his theory exactly was; to me it was just a jumble of political jargon and waffle (and I did politics for A Level!). And that’s when it clicked. If the electorate, the voting public don’t have a clue what he’s on about, how are they going to rally together to lobby Cameron to legislate the aid budget? I knew we had to somehow humanise Cameron’s Golden Thread of Development Theory and going back to the office at 7am on Saturday I was feeling a lot more confident that we may actually be able to produce a response to this brief!
Our strategy was to ‘unleash a transparency revolution’ due to our insight that in today’s digital world transparency is an inherent and expected reality. From the words of Mahatma Ghandi, “truth never damages a cause that is just”.
We wanted to create a visual representation of how overseas aid is spent and the positive results it achieves allowing the voting public to see that it is cost effective; it does and has done good so we must maintain our commitment, to ensure that we leave a legacy of UK aid for generations to come.
Create an interactive map which uses real time data to visualise overseas aid investment donated from the UK.
By clicking the golden button users will follow the real journey of £1 spent on foreign aid through a dynamic video with Google Maps, Street View and composite motion graphics depicted by a single golden thread. When the golden thread reaches the aid beneficiary, users will be presented with real life success stories through videos, images and live feeds. After interacting with this content, users can show their support by clicking the pledge counter, thus joining Save the Children’s online social movement. In order to ensure mass reach we needed to extend the online social movement offline therefore we allowed users to order their golden thread bracelet for a donation of £1 demonstrating a physical visible manifestation of their support.
We would then use these donations to cover the cost of our integrated media plan. We submitted our final response with 3 minutes to go and a sigh of relief followed!
Click the link below to see our final submission:
We then had a month to wait for the result. And then we received this email:
“Thank you for entering this year’s UK Young Lions competition – media category. The standard of entries was extremely high and is clear the amount of effort that went in to each presentation. However, I am delighted to let you know that your entry has been shortlisted for the final judging day. There were a total of 60 entries received in this category and 5 have been shortlisted so congratulations!”
We were in shock. But at least this time we had approximately 2 weeks to write and prepare our presentation. We had 5 minutes allocated for presentation time and 5 minutes for Q&A and our panel of judges consisted of:
- Mark Finney, sales director, The Guardian
- Mia Barnes, client services director, The Guardian
- Helena Wiltshire, head of PR, Save the Children
- Rachael Forde, managing director, P&G, Starcom
- Hamid Habib, managing partner, Havas
- Stuart Sullivan Martin, Strategy director, MEC
We were pretty nervous to say the least, but we rehearsed and rehearsed, practicing in front of different people in our agency including our MD. Feeling prepared gave me the confidence I needed on the day and we both left the room feeling proud about what we had delivered.
That evening we got the phone call to say that we had narrowly missed out after an intense deliberation between the judges and we were awarded second place. Obviously we were both disappointed not to win and go on to represent the UK in Cannes this June but I wish the winners, from Maxus the best of luck and I hope they come back with a gold, silver or bronze lion!
May 15, 2013
Nokia announced the new Lumia 925 handset to its range last night at Victoria House in London. So here’s the low down on its specs and performance.
The Lumia 925 has a sleek and svelte aluminium design that is less audacious than the bold, bright colours of the Lumia 920s. So if you prefer something more subtle that the yellow and red 920s, then this is the phone for you – coming in black, white and silver.
The phone is thinner than its predecessor, measuring a slim 8.5mm and the metal edging feels firm and curves nicely round the edges of the screen. It really is a beautifully crafted piece of technology. The back panel is polycarbonate and doesn’t give much flex, making it feel much more solid and secure than the plastic body of the Samsung Galaxy 4S. The matte surface texture is also slightly easier to grip than the high-gloss coating on the 920, so hopefully less chance of it slipping out of your hands, if you’re clumsy like me!
At 139 grams it’s only a fraction heavier than the Samsung Galaxy S4 handset and it definitely feels a lot lighter than my Lumia 920. To read more about the design of the smartphone, read here.
The camera is the real selling point in my opinion and we had great fun taking pictures last night at the launch event! The camera has 8.7megapixels with improved optics from its predecessor to give optical image stabilisation, and with the addition of a sixth glass lens the images have greater clarity, especially in low-light environments. If you use Nokia’s Smart Camera technology it allows you to take 10 photos at once and edit them afterwards whether it’s removing objects or changing faces, perfect for action shots and removing pesky photobombers!
The combination of Nokia and the operating system of Windows Phone 8 give you a host of high level extras out of the box. Mix Radio and Nokia Music, HERE and clever features like Cinemagraph all add value, and are key differentiators for Nokia.
Nokia has also negotiated a strategic marketing partnership with Warner Brothers for the upcoming Superman blockbuster allowing all Lumia 925 owners to access exclusive content from the film, Man Of Steel via the Windows 8 app.
O2 will sell the white version of the Nokia Lumia 925 exclusively in the UK, with Vodafone offering a 32GB version of the handset. The handset will be available in June and available on all networks by July. So not too long to wait!