By Philippa McClure, Senior Account Manager at Ogilvy Healthworld and member of Women@Ogilvy
When a new year starts, people often look for a change. 2016 started with a big change at Ogilvy – something we had all been anticipating for many months (years even!)… Our move to Sea Containers, a home where all agencies could come together, to collaborate, learn…and socialise too of course!
I previously worked out of Westbourne Terrace, so for me, Sea Containers was an exciting opportunity to be on the river, right in the heart of the city. But what I was most looking forward to was the prospect of meeting more Ogilvy-ites; joining in with the events, groups and societies that the agency offers.
Women@Ogilvy, our women’s network, was chief amongst them. W@O look to harness the power of women, fostering an environment and community of diverse backgrounds and thinking. The team organise a speaker series, featuring inspirational women (from both inside and outside the agency), as well as offering networking opportunities, mentoring programmes and a whole host of other initiatives being launched in 2017. It’s a great way to meet people from outside the bubble of your own account or operating company.
One of the initiatives W@O has been working on this year is to champion the great work of our female colleagues. For women at work, visibility is at the root of many of the challenges we are trying to address. As Marie Wilson of the White House Project said “You can’t be what you can’t see”. We rely on stories, examples, and leaders or, in the most literal form - images - to inform us about who we are, what our potential might be. Otherwise, it is hard to know what to aspire to. As an international company, coupled with our impact and input into media and culture, we have a greater role to play here than most.
At Ogilvy, we are blessed to work with so many inspirational people, including some fantastic female role models. A clear choice would be Annette King, CEO of Ogilvy & Mather Group UK. When Ogilvy was awarded the prestigious Cannes Lions Network of the Year 2016, everyone wanted to be up on stage in that winner’s photo. The majority of figures in that picture were men. But Annette is ‘blazing new trails’, leading by example. Other young women in the company and across the industry will doubtless aspire to do as she has, and more. Next time Cannes comes around, there will be more of our female colleagues in that winners’ photo.
Another great example is Shelina Janmohamed, Vice President at Ogilvy Noor. As a Muslim woman, she perhaps has a second battle to fight, and has spoken candidly about dealing with drinking and socialising within the ad industry. She is proud and vocal about her role model status, and is often featured online and in the media sharing her opinion and perspective. Her visibility is part of her power; showing young girls and her peers that they too can aspire and achieve as she has.
Emma de la Fosse, Chief Creative Officer at Ogilvy & Mather Group UK, is the third name that comes to mind. It can be argued that creative departments are holding more steadfast to their masculine identities than other parts of ad-land. Emma is being the change we want to see in respect to her gender, but above all else she is a beacon of creativity for the agency. Ogilvy focuses on talent and rewards it accordingly, which Emma exemplifies.
So as we look to 2017, we should reflect on what has been a changeable year, but not one without its highlights. For Women@Ogilvy, we will be looking to amplify our own voice and improve the visibility of the network internally and across the industry. If you have an idea for an event, or want to get involved in the organisation, please get in touch! We look forward to seeing you soon.