Fireside Chats with iProspect's Women in Leadership - Part 3: Being a Force for Good

iProspect, Dentsu

In this three-part Q&A blog series, we pick the brains of these four inspirational women leading iProspect:

Get a raw, honest look into their career journeys so far, experiences, turning points and motivations, with a few eye-opening stats along the way. Learn how you can make a real, positive difference for you and your teams today with these golden words of wisdom.

Have you ever experienced gender or any other bias in your career? Tell me about it and how did you deal with or overcome it?

Camille: “Luckily, I haven’t experienced blatant bias before, but early on in my career, sometimes important business discussions would happen by way of a ‘boys club’ – lunchtime pints or social occasions I wasn’t part of, and that felt excluding.”

“But I realised, often bias is unconscious, when I raised it with the people concerned, they took steps to change that behaviour. And even little changes could make a big difference for you or somebody else.”

“Being aware of your own unconscious bias is so important for developing yourself and giving people a helping-hand. Don’t assume people have bad intentions, they may not realise what they’re doing isn’t ok. Have a constructive conversation about it with them.”

Vanessa: “You can’t help but feel uncomfortable and less confident to speak up when you’re in a minority, and the room or event is male-dominated – a lot has changed but this can still be the case. For example, a lot of men connect over sport and you can feel ‘left out’ in that conversation.”

“Working alongside an inspirational group of women and men that appreciate the parenting juggle or have career-driven partners of their own has meant I’ve always felt supported by iProspect’s leadership team and it’s a safe space to speak to up - this is really important to encourage more equality.”

Do you think people in the media industry or society should be supported more? What needs to change?

Camille: “It’s great to see more female leaders visible across our industry. That said, female leaders need to be more accountable for inspiring and encouraging the next generation.”

“We must support young women to explore STEM (science, tech, engineering, maths) subjects, get more representation of women in media visiting schools and volunteering for thought leadership discussions that are typically male dominated.”

Libby: “We should be celebrating what makes all people unique, regardless of identity and helping everyone feel like they belong within our team - a top priority for iProspect and the Proud network I co-chair.”

“Anyone that feels who they are affects their happiness at work or progression, covering all aspects of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, or background needs more support, not just women.”

It’s time to fix the systemic issues holding women back. Julie Vitalis, Client Creation Partner for Dentsu Creative shares staggering stats, examples and tips on the role of male allies, and how women can feel more supported.

Despite progress in recent times, there are still many challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community, particularly for trans men and women, and those who identify as non-binary. Partnering with OOH advertising leaders Clear Channel UK and JCDecaux UK, dentsu UK&I rallies major brands to stand against hate in collective LGBTQ+ Pride solidarity.

Vanessa: “We need more men to be allies and support partners in going back to their career after children. Men and women need to take equal share of the ‘life’ and ‘family’ load. If they don’t, this will be the biggest challenge for women in leadership roles. Many women have been forced to give up work because they can’t make the parenting juggle work and the current cost of childcare can be prohibitive.”

“The government childcare reform coming in April 2024 is encouraging, I’m hopeful it’ll help alleviate some of the financial pressures for parents and get more women back in the workspace.”

Hannah: “Prepping expectant mothers and those coming back from maternity leave need to be supported more. Women need support in how to plan and stay in touch with the team, business and client changes while out of office to make coming back to work easier and help avoid the confidence crisis many women like myself have coming back after a baby.”

“Having a buddy system for parents to connect with other parents or carers - a person, number of people or safe space they can go to ask for advice has been so valuable for me. Our Parents & Carers network was set up for everyone to easily access guidance on the hardships or experiences of parenting/caring and feel supported.”

Our passionate Parents & Carers network and wellbeing community are committed to offering further support and initiatives too, including Kind Minds, a group of mental health first aiders that provide emergency support cross the business. We’re so proud the national charity for working parents and carers, Working Families, announced dentsu UK&I has a place on its prestigious and competitive list for our positive progression.

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