To help raise awareness of International Women’s Day, we asked some of the women at Collective to share their thoughts on the industry, and their wishes for the future generation in advertising.
What are some barriers you have faced in your career to date?
Cat: Myself (Ever heard of imposter syndrome?) and the industry obsession with putting people and ideas in ‘boxes’.
Carolyn: Getting my initial ‘break’ and not being classed as a ‘ball breaker’ when tough business decisions have to be made.
Tanika: The realisation that there’s still a lot of sexism in this day and age – conscious and unconscious, by both genders. It’s all the clichés. I’ve been asked in previous job interviews if I was planning on becoming pregnant soon. Plus I’ve had jobs in the past where I was making less money than my male peers (whilst they were actually doing a quarter of the work I was doing). On the upside, I have met some wonderful men and women as bosses, who have always had my back and willing to guide me and listen to me. I do believe the world is changing, but I think the biggest barrier is that people actually don’t want to believe it when they’re being told that they’re being sexist – which makes change difficult.
Quitterie: First of all, would be the barriers I’ve set for myself. That I was not good enough, or that I didn’t deserve it. It’s only with time that I realised these barriers seem to be more frequent in women.
I’ve always fought against using stereotypes in my creative work, to bring more diversity, more equality and more realness as I see it as my responsibility as a woman working in advertising.
Sonia: The largest barrier in my career so far has been self-doubt and setting incredibly high expectations for myself. Acknowledging these thoughts and knowing others have been in the same position has put me on the right path to own the successes I’m having now at Collective, and share what I’m feeling with people I trust.
Jen: Having to fight harder to have my voice heard. Overcoming my own inner voice of self- doubt. Not taken seriously in a room full of old suits.
Jackie: Finding my voice – struggling with self-confidence and doubt in my ability has sometimes affected the way I communicate or how I present myself. This is a common theme I have come across through conversation with women in all industries.
What would you advise the future female generation in this field?
Cat: Always ask for a pay rise when you can show your value. Walk with your head up. Have an opinion.
Carolyn: Go for It! You need to create your own opportunities and when the going gets tough – get tougher! Oh….and always love what you do.
Tanika: Keep on speaking up. Keep on fighting to achieve. Your ideas are worth being listened to. And get yourself a mentor to endorse you when you aren’t being heard 😉
Quitterie: I still feel quite new and part of this upcoming generation to be honest, haha. I guess what I want to see growing in this field is mutual help and mentorship. As a message to myself and to future generations be you, be loud, and take as much space as you want
Sonia: Seize every opportunity with confidence.
Jen: You can have it all and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Be strong, be kind, be independent.
Jackie: Keep your head high, radiate positivity, have faith in your ability and always stand up for what you believe in. Don’t worry about what people might think or say about you because in the end, your passion is what will help you stand out and succeed.
Who do you look up to?
Cat: My boss Carolyn. She’s straight talking, clever and has no fear discussing money. My best mate Anshu Ahuja – founder of dabbadrop.co.uk. Es Devlin & Marina Abramovic.
Carolyn: My Mum.
Quitterie: My best friends, bad ass gals. Incredibly smart, independent and outspoken. An incredible support system. My boss as well, Gemma. Words can’t describe how lucky I am to have a mentor like her.
Sonia: I admire my mum for many reasons, but her strength and support encourages me to defy expectations in and out of the workplace.
Jen: Every Female MD and CEO I’ve ever worked for and every girlfriend who is storming it.
Jackie: I look up to all of the amazing, inspiring women I surround myself with every day, each with their own way of continuously empowering me to be the best I can be.
Your wish for the next generation?
Cat: That they’re not paid less because they’re female
Carolyn: That meritocracy rules and inclusiveness is the norm.
Tanika: That everyone actually recognises each other’s worth and strengths and combine powers.
Quitterie: Equality & representation.
Sonia: Diverse role models who can demonstrate what’s possible and help others thrive.
Jen: That they value kindness in every form (to each other, to the environment) and working hard towards one goal – a better world, for men and women.
You don’t have to be aggressive or bossy to be assertive.
Focus on the commercials and the relationship and the rest will look after itself.
Just go in there and boss it.
Jackie: For improved education around the things that matter, for equality and for a healthier world. Although we’ve made huge steps in the right direction, and continue to do so, there’s still a lot of work to be done. Women of the next generation – believe you truly are strong, and that your voice should be heard!