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Charlotte Wright IWD Manchester
#Diversity and Inclusion

Celebrating International Women's Day with Facebook

Last week I was fortunate enough to attend Facebook’s #SheMeansBusiness event for International Women’s Day. The event was focussed on inspiring women to get more out of their careers and to support future generations of female (and male) leaders.

Over breakfast, we listened to a number of inspiring women from different backgrounds, who talked about their own success stories and some of the things they have learned from life in business.

Nicola Mendlesohn, Vice President of Facebook EMEA, opened with a speech contrasting the way Billie Eilish had been mortified at winning 4 Grammy’s and had claimed other people deserved her awards more – to the approach of Quentin Tarantino, who upon winning an Oscar stated how much he deserved it, going on to deliver a five-minute speech about how great a Director he was.

This example really struck home with me.

Often, without realising it, as women we can be quick to downplay our successes or credit someone else. Being proud of our successes and achievements is important in getting recognition for the value we bring.

Kubi Springer, a brand builder who has previously worked for Coca-Cola and L’oreal, was an exceptional speaker – focussing on how important it is to build your personal brand. Kubi had many insightful pointers, including:

  • Develop your own personal brand to take control of your career. How do you want people to feel about you? What will they remember? By developing a positive brand, you can create people who will advocate for you when you can’t be in the room; therefore, increasing your influence.
  • Own your differences, they are what make you special. Kubi spoke passionately about feeling ‘imposter syndrome’ as a black woman when speaking at a conference of 99% white men. But upon discovering that she was invited to speak precisely because she offered a completely different perspective, she had a eureka moment - understanding our unique characteristics are what give us, as individuals, power. Embrace your differences because they are what make you special – use your unique characteristics to build your personal brand.

In a panel on Diversity & Inclusion, we heard from one particularly remarkable young woman who has led the fight for free period products in schools. After learning that 10% of girls miss a week a month of school on average due to period poverty, she led a campaign for all schools to offer free sanitary products. This reminds us that when we see inequality we have the power to make a positive change.

Gender inequality has been prevalent for millennia, and it’s not something that will radically change overnight. However, we have made huge strides in recent years and can continue to do so by spotting and acting on the incremental changes that add up to a big shift over time.

One of the ways we can do this is by supporting each other through mentorship. For men to be mentored by women and vice versa, offers different role models and perspectives that challenge us and allow us to grow.

Ultimately, more women succeeding in business, and a more inclusive and diverse workforce, can only be a good thing for our industry and society. iProspect, as part of Dentsu Aegis Network, are constantly improving in creating a workforce that promotes diversity and equality, but there’s always more to be done. Therefore, on International Women’s Day 2020, we’re joining the #EachforEqual conversation, to show that individuality and diversity is key to success and will deliver better results for clients, investors, employees and society.

I’m proud to work in a business where there are so many strong female role models, but also so many men who passionately advocate for equality at work.