The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day was #BeBoldForChange and this is exactly what was bought to the MediaCom HQ.
Preliminary celebrations kicked off on Tuesday 7 March, featuring panellists – Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh (England Women’s Hockey champions) and MediaCom’s Luke Bozeat, Chief Commercial Officer, MediaCom and Jane Radcliffe, Vice President, Sports & Entertainment, MediaCom. The former Olympians reflected on their time growing up and discovering what activities they enjoyed, the accessibility of what is available for women pursuing sports and how they found their way to represent their country in Hockey. Although most of the audience were aware of the discrepancy in opportunities presented to women in professional sports, it was nonetheless interesting to hear from two women who had directly experienced it.
On the official International Women’s Day, MediaCom employees and guests were met with baked delights and a choice of inspirational quotes. The first talk of the day, ‘Young and Ambitious’, hosted by Sue Unerman, Chief Transformation Officer, MediaCom and Claire Ferguson, Managing Partner, MediaCom focused on women in the workforce and diversity. The panel consisting of Charlene White (ITV News), Joanna Abeyie (Hyden Talent) and Lashantay Richards (MediaCom) discussed the various challenges each has faced, from hiding ambitions, to progressing up the ladder, to not taking no for an answer. The three successful women all highlighted the importance of women championing each other and sustaining the motivation to achieve greatness.
Following the first inspiring panel of the day, was our second talk – ‘What About Men?’ The panel, facilitated by Claudine Collins, Managing Director, MediaCom UK, consisting of MediaCom’s Josh Krichefski, CEO and Sarah Treliving, Head of Digital, joined by Tunde Okewale MBE (Doughty Street Chambers) and Fiona Dent (IPC/Time Inc), discussed the issue of what happens to men in the workforce when employers are focused so much on championing women. The big question for the session of “Why is International Women’s Day so important” stirred many opinions, however it was a unanimous view that the women’s movement needs to be more strategic, with a defined set of objectives – in terms of senior leadership and closing the pay gap by 2020.
The third panel, ‘Breaking the Barrier’, hosted by Josh Krichefski – with speakers Emma Stewart (Timewise), MediaCom’s co-Chief Strategy Officer Steve Gladdis, Chief Digital Officer Deirdre McGlashan, Digital Operations Director Hannah Mirza, and Tanya Joseph (creator of This Girl Can), emphasised the need for more organisations to hire women on flexible working conditions and what it’s like to be a minority in a professional environment. An interesting turn in the talk came when Steve began talking about the guilt he felt when deciding to reduce his hours to make more time with his children, a decision that is usually more common for women. It highlighted that there are barriers that are still to be broken in terms of what is deemed acceptable for men and women in the workforce.
To wrap-up what was a very successful International Women’s Day, a panel made up of Sean Fletcher (Good Morning Britain), Eniola Aluca (Chelsea Ladies), Kate Dale (Sports England/This Girl Can) and Jeanette Kwayke (Team GB, Sky Sports News & BBC Sports), along with MediaCom’s Carina White and Misha Sher, tackled the theme ‘Sport: A Man’s World?’ The talk was more debate than discussion but offered the engrossed audience an alternative perspective as to what was happening in the industry, not just by a man, but by someone behind the scenes and not on the field.
MediaCom’s International Women’s Day was an enthralling event, made successful by the variety of speakers, groups, opinions and passions. Everyone that attended walked away with a little piece of insight that (hopefully) reinforced the message to #BeBoldForChange.