It isn’t very often that you get the opportunity to write a piece about the organisation you work for in the context of how they empower you to be who you are. Today, on International Women’s Day I’m thrilled to be sharing a few words on the culture that allows me to be who I am. I started working for Blue 449, known at the time as Walker Media in the UK, over 20 years ago. I was single and had the world at my feet. The agency was brand new and we were set with ambition to prove to everyone that we could succeed in a world where they said we would fail. Our CEO was Christine Walker, a pioneer for women in our industry and the perfect role model for me. Fast forward 20 years and I am still here, why?
It’s simple really, can you see why? I got married, was named as one of 30 under 30 by Media Week, named a top 10 media planner by Campaign, became a Managing Partner of the agency at 30, a member of WACL, had four children, moved to a four day working week, have seen two of my children diagnosed with a terminal illness and spent countless nights without any sleep and a few less in hospital, became Vice Chairman of the UK agency and now Global Head of Marketing and Culture, for one of the newest global media brands, with a truly differentiating proposition, that is growing faster than any other.
To me, I see progress, continuous progress that has inspired me to continuously achieve…sometimes just to get out of bed in the morning. More importantly, I have never felt that my gender has been an obstacle, yes I’ve had to speak loudly on occasions and disagree with people but that hasn’t been because I’ve been a woman, it’s been because I’ve had an opinion and the strength to defend it. Is that luck…no I don’t believe so but I am lucky. All of my progress has been fuelled by the leadership of the business I work in who believe that women have equal rights to men. I have always felt valued and there has always been trust, the critical component which has empowered me to achieve.
Today I look at our business and see progress everywhere. Many of our CEO’s and MD’s are hugely successful women and our up and coming management talent is hugely exciting. We are the lucky ones but it is on days like today that we are reminded of the hardship and struggle that many other women face and how important it is that we all give something back and push on to help those that follow us to do even better.