31 MAR 2022
Tuesday 8th March marked the 47th annual International Women’s Day, which MediaCom looks forward to celebrating every year. Finally back together in person, this year we held both an online and in office event as we explored this year’s theme, #BreakTheBias.
The first session centred around the biases faced by midlife women. Our host was MediaCom DEI Business Partner Avelon Thompson, who was joined by panellists Ally Owen, Founder of Brixton Finishing School; Kate Sanderson, Global People Communications Manager and Lisa Mundy, MediaCom Head of Media Engineering.
They used the Visible Start Initiative as a springboard for discussion – a scheme that provided midlife women with free media training, offering those who had experienced significant career breaks or wanted a career change the chance to break into the industry. Many were then placed in roles across WPP agencies, including here at MediaCom. Conversation topics included the pension gap, balancing motherhood with work, navigating changing identities and feeling heard in the workplace. The insights were heartfelt, empowering and incredibly interesting, and it was a great opportunity to hear how women across the industry have experienced and tackled biases in their professional and personal lives.
In the afternoon we hosted a special International Women’s Day edition of our popular virtual Walk the Talk events. These sessions aim to bring together women across the agency discussing different topics, with this theme focusing on breaking the bias.
Six women from across MediaCom shared with us stories of how they personally have broken biases before opening up to a Q&A. We love how these sessions put women across the agency in touch with one another and foster a community of openness and support.
Our speakers gave us some key takeaways from the session to share.
Nadine Thompson, Global Chief Technology Officer
Breaking the bias means to question the beliefs we hold and to think differently. It’s important to recognise both men and women hold subtle prejudices about women without even realising it.
Data is a powerful way to combat bias. We can make change in our workplaces through tracking and transparency of gender metrics in hiring, appointments, performance, succession planning, promotions and pay. It’s impossible to manage an invisible challenge.
Frances Ralston-Good, Global Clients President
“Feminine and Masculine “traits” and leadership styles have no basis in meaning and can be a real barrier to being your true self at work. Making your authentic voice heard is important. Give yourself permission to speak up – there’s a value to using your voice. Have a point of view that you’re consistent about. Repeat it a lot and make that your “thing”. Be an ally, on a micro level. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Elaine Bremner, Chief People Officer
There’s a lot of work to do about pre judging people and ascribing emotions to women who make particular choices. We all need to get better at that. At MediaCom, I feel much more accepted and it’s easier to be open and show vulnerability.
Emily Trenouth, Head of Influence Marketing
Being authentically you is your superpower!
Mesha Lunt, AV Senior Associate Director
Female support is so important because of how empowering it can be. Be that ally/support you wished you had, for others around you and remember to recognise the little biases within ourselves so that others aren’t defined by who you think they are but instead, by them being really good at what they do.
Neesha Taneja, Branded Entertainment and Partnerships Specialist
Biases can be in your own head as much as externally. It’s ok to not follow the status quo, it’s what makes you unique!