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Cannes Lions 2011: Sathyamurthy blogs on IPG’s WLN session

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Cannes Lions 2011: Sathyamurthy blogs on IPG’s WLN session

Despite the influx of women into the advertising industry there is relatively more gender diversity in leadership for disciplines such as media, strategy and marketing. To address the need for gender balance in the industry, IPG and its Women’s Leadership Network (WLN) hosted a panel of experts from the media, advertising and marketing industries.

Delivering the opening remarks at the session on ‘Beyond Mad Men: Toward Gender Balance in Creative Roles’, Michael Roth, Chairman and CEO, IPG, stressed, “Gender balance is critical in creative roles”. Diversity plus inclusion is now a critical component of the IPG network.

The panelists included Kitty Lun, Chairman, CEO - Lowe China; Martha Stewart, Founder - Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia; Carol Lam, Managing Director, Chief Creative Officer - McCann Erickson Shanghai; Kimberly Kadlec, Worldwide Vice-President, Global Marketing Group - Johnson & Johnson; and Gail Heimann, Vice-Chair - Weber Shandwick. Soledad O’Brien, Anchor, Special Correspondent – CNN, moderated the session.

With the power ladies forming the panel, questions were posed to them to find out how they had weathered the gender issues, what needed to be changed, what were the opportunities available and so on.

On the question: ‘In your career what had been the pitfalls and barriers?, the views expressed included, “Do your job well, don’t worry whether you are a man or a girl”, “My mom said you are better than a man, just go ahead and do it, it encouraged me”, “Stay competitive”, “Women have less ego, hence it is easy to get things done”, “Little courage, little defiance enabled me to succeed”, “Be clear as to what you want, and tell your mentor you will succeed”, “Work and life balance is critical, and women are best at it”, “Women are naturally creative”, “Men don’t want their club to be invaded by women, hence we face resistance, but we will fight and win the race”.

On what needed to be changed, the view was “Mothers need to change and encourage women to take up creative careers, mindset of men needs to change, and importantly, women need to fight well, be competitive”.

When asked whether there was opportunity in ‘chaos’ in the slowing down market place, especially in the Western countries, the panelists share that “Most companies are moving from hierarchy model to a collaborative model, hence women will have more opportunities”. Another view expressed was, “Present to aspiring women in colleges that advertising needs the natural creativity of women, then more women will join advertising”.

Summing up, Michael Roth was confident that “in the next 10 years, more women will be in advertising, at least in IPG. The work place needs diversity”!


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