Team Q&A: The Importance of Female Leadership & Representation in the Workforce

Maddie Madden

Maddie Madden

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As a female-led agency with a team of over 60% of those who identify as a woman or female, we asked our team questions about how important female leadership and representation in the workforce and industry is beyond the month of March. Read their responses below!

Q1. How do you think having more women in leadership roles will impact the industry?

  • Maddie (Strategist): Leadership should be representative of the population, especially when considering B2C marketing efforts, to ensure all types of consumer perspectives are understood and acknowledged. Not only does this give more opportunity to a more diverse group, but it will lead to better business. Having more women in leadership roles is just step 1. 
  • Diana (Marketing Operations Specialist): One positive impact of having more women in leadership roles is that it will open the door for other women who are earlier in their careers to consider professions in this industry. When you see someone that looks like you in 10 – 15 years having success, you have a role model to emulate. Plus, more women in the industry means a larger talent pool, which is a win-win on both the agency and client side.
  • Carrie (Salesforce Marketing Cloud Specialist): I believe it brings a different perspective to how we think about strategy as well as it will encourage younger women to strive to be a part of the industry, whereas in years past there was not as much female representation. 
  • Hannah (Senior Strategist): The importance of seeing yourself represented on screen or in the media has dominated lectures, conversations and podcasts over the last five years. There is no secret that authentic representation allows people to identify a role for themselves and empowers them to break down barriers along the way. With more women in leadership roles, we’ll suddenly see a bustling industry full of role models, new ideas and empathy.
  • Grace (Account Supervisor): Women are able to bring fresh perspectives and different skill sets to the table in an industry that is generally male-dominated. I have found that women tend to be more open-minded, collaborative, communicative, approachable, and understanding. They prioritize work-life balance, often because they are the primary caregivers in their family. Not only that, but it has been proven time and time again that companies with larger female representation are more profitable! If the rest doesn’t convince someone of the importance of gender diversity, then perhaps the fact that it has a tangible, positive impact on earnings will 🙂 
  • Shawn (SVP, Head of Client Partnership):  More women in leadership roles provides tangible proof and recognition of the value women executives bring to the table, and serves as visible proof to future generations that you too can break through once impenetrable glass ceilings and lead at the very top. I firmly believe that the perspective brought to the table by women leaders is also invaluable, as it allows for greater representation of more diverse thoughts & ideas.  Finally, I believe women leaders bring a level of empathy that translates to enhanced industry culture, and more social good.
  • Logan (Email Deployment Specialist): Seeing firsthand more women in leadership roles has given me insight on the value and advancement the industry desperately needs. Women bring new perspectives, new ways of looking at things and creative ways to approach situations. The benefit of having women share these ideas and contribute value to businesses has been demonstrated to show the potential of what women in leadership positions can bring to the workforce.
  • Adam (SVP, Head of Strategy): More women in leadership roles, please! It’s crucial for our industry to promote more women into leadership positions. Achieving gender equality and diversity in the workforce is essential for both fair representation of the people who work in our industry and the consumers we aspire to connect with. By elevating more women to leadership roles, we can inspire future female leaders early in their careers, showing them that they are valued and welcome at all levels. Furthermore, this shift can help male colleagues understand that dismantling traditional power structures benefits everyone. Greater equality and diversity pave the way for improved opportunities and a stronger industry as a whole.

Having more women in leadership roles is a critical step toward dismantling traditional power structures. By having more opportunities for those who have historically been marginalized in the workplace, a broader spectrum of people will be able to find their niche and define success on their own terms.

Mike, Marketing Operations Specialist

Q2. What does being a female leader in advertising mean to you?

Georgia (Managing Director): It means being able to have a leading voice on decisions that will have a positive impact on the current representation gap in our industry. You can’t be, what you can’t see.

Q3. Georgia, you have been in the marketing industry since 2008, what are some of the challenges you’ve encountered as a woman? What are some of the successes?

A huge challenge I have faced is being able to advocate for myself and negotiate with confidence. Knowing throughout my career that no matter how hard I worked or what I achieved my male counterpart would be given more salary, more opportunities and more praise was tough. I have been victim to the term ‘over emotional’ when mustering up the courage to set this right and have been met with comments that I am ‘too ambitious’ when proactively striving to further my career. Since when has ambition been negative?

However, I have experienced some great successes, learning from those negative moments and have as a result been awarded some amazing opportunities. Moving to New York and opening up One-to-One being my proudest achievement. Weathering storms, a pandemic and coming out the other side with clients we LOVE and a team that reflects everything I want when fostering an inclusive and equal working environment. I can’t stress the importance of surrounding yourself with a strong and trusted network, who reflect the values of a world in which you wish to exist in. 

Q4. What advice do you have for women working in a male-dominated field?

  • Carrie: Be confident, and stick to your values. It can be intimidating to be a minority sitting at the table, but always remember, you earned that seat and deserve to be there and be heard!
  • Grace: Speak up early and as often as possible. Don’t be afraid to ask the “stupid” questions or offer up an out-of-the-box idea. People will appreciate your curiosity and the more creative ideas tend to generate the best solutions. Also, don’t be afraid to cry. So often women are discouraged from crying in the workforce to avoid being deemed too emotional. I once had a manager who said that crying at work is a sign that you care deeply about what you’re doing, which really resonated with me. 
  • Shawn:  Keep pushing forward and proudly bring your experiences, perspectives, passions, challenges, and concerns to the table, so we ALL can learn from them and enhance our work and lives. 
  • Adam: Doing my best to avoid the obvious pitfall of a man handing out advice to women, I would say, please know that you ARE valuable. You ARE welcome. And you DO deserve a seat at the table. All of the things you are as a women make you precisely the right person for the job so be proud, authentic and never let anyone tell you otherwise.

Traits such as empathy, humility, helpfulness, warmth, and understanding (plus many, many more) are traditionally feminine traits. AND they’re fantastic attributes of a good leader. Use these characteristics to your advantage. Being female is a superpower!

Diana, Marketing Operations Specialist

Q5. Georgia, as a leader of a predominantly female team, how do you provide support and an inclusive work environment for them? 

We talk about impactful human connection as our company’s raison d’etre. I don’t see this demonstrated in only what we deliver for our clients. Each person who walks through the metaphorical doors of One-to-One are at their core, a human being making a life for themselves. And they deserve to be treated as such regardless. We offer benefits across parental leave, menopause leave, mentorship and flexible working hours to accommodate for child-care needs. And we are in the communications business, so listening and communicating with our community on how best to support them is crucial and helps us constantly evolve.

Q6. One-to-One has temporarily rebranded as One-to-Woman for the month of March to bring attention to gender bias and inequality. However, the agency’s commitment to addressing and expanding on the topic of inequality in all areas will continue beyond this month through the One-to-Us initiative. What are the next steps and plans for moving forward with this?

  • Maddie: The Women’s Mentorship program is a year-round initiative that is not tied to a specific month, but rather designed as constant support of the female employees within our agency network. Despite being a male-dominated industry, M&C Saatchi has numerous powerful and talented female leadership who inspire and make space for the junior female employees beyond the month of March.
  • Hannah: To create impactful human connections, it is imperative that our agency is filled with fresh perspectives from a diverse group of employees and clients. Through our internship program, I am looking forward to supporting the agency in an effort to bring young budding professionals into the fold through mentorship, professional development training, and exposure to the agency’s inner workings. These are our future leaders and I am thrilled to connect with them.

With One-to-Us we have a real opportunity to highlight inequalities and make impactful changes for our team and our clients. As part of this opportunity, we will be incorporating more human focused training into our practices to ensure that we are always present and fighting the good fight.

Megan, Strategist

One-to-One will be launching their One-to-Us initiative in the coming weeks. Watch this space!


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