PART 3: GATHER 2013 – CELEBRATING AUTHENTICITY AND SUCCESS
May 17, 2013
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