How would you describe the overall culture at your agency / company?
Open, audacious, innovative. Warm and welcoming. We’re also a bit scrappy—we take risks and put ourselves out there, not relying on a title to take the lead
In your opinion, what do you see as the biggest change in the advertising industry since women have begun to break the glass ceiling?
Studies show that with more gender diversity, companies have increased productivity, greater innovation, better decision-making and higher employee retention and satisfaction. I think this is because the environment is evolving into one that is more empathetic, more transparent and more human, making it a more inviting culture.
One recent change is how we work. With the world all working from home, our personal lives are co-mingled with our professional ones more than ever. Not only are we employees, but parents are also now teachers and lunchroom workers and housekeepers, all at the same time. And women—even when they work and earn as much or more than their husbands—still do more domestic work than they do.
Do you think that women still face challenges in our industry, and if so, what are they?
While there has been progress, there’s still much to do. There’s still a gender pay gap, still a lack of women on leadership teams (but not at Conill!), still gender stereotyping in ads, still a ‘mad men’ culture. For the first two, we need to support and empower women in their professional development. For the second two, we need to educate people about what’s okay and not okay in terms of representation of women.
How should we tackle an issue such equal opportunity?
Start with passing the Equal Rights Amendment. To actually have the basis for your rights in the Constitution is monumental.
How did you find your way into the marketing communications industry and what professional achievement are you most proud of?
I wasn’t sure if I should join the Peace Corps or go to grad school after graduating college with a liberal arts degree. Grad school, while less adventurous, was a safer bet, so I went to Phoenix to study international business. Advertising was a lot sexier than Cost Accounting, so I went that route and was recruited to work in Chicago after I graduated. I’ve left and come back a couple of times.
The professional achievement that I’m most proud of is being named National Co-lead of Publicis Groupe’s VivaWomen! business resource group. I joined the group when it was first started in 2014, spearheading it for our Agency then the Los Angeles region and now nationally. It has given me a greater sense of purpose in my job. In helping to empower other women in the workplace, I found my voice too.
Who inspires you the most, either inside the industry or outside? Why?
I’m inspired by young activists like Malala and Greta Thunberg who are changing the world through their passion, commitment and courage. Closer to home, former Publicis Groupe Chief Diversity Officer Sandra Sims-Williams (now at Nielsen) inspires me with her leadership, using her power and influence as a force for good. And I aspire to be the badass, real-world feminist that Publicis Groupe’s VivaWomen! National co-lead, Michelle Kinsman is!