Golin Aims to Help End Toxic Agency Cultures With 'Have Her Back' Push

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Interpublic Group's Golin has teamed up with The 3% Movement, SheSays and EvolveHer to create an initiative dedicated to putting an end to unhealthy agency cultures that keep women from advancing their creative careers.

The "Have Her Back" campaign launches today online and will include an in-person training event in Chicago on April 10, which is Equal Pay Day. The event is open to women of all levels and ages in advertising who are looking for ways to get back into the agency world, as well as other agencies and holding companies that want to learn.

"It's very apparent that we're not dealing with the bigger issue in the industry, which is the toxic, openly hostile culture that women have to deal with day in and day out," says Caroline Dettman, Golin's chief creative officer.

Dettman has been working on "Have Her Back" since the fall. She says she grew increasingly frustrated with the lack of action among agencies, so she decided to create an initiative herself.

"It's progress when we're getting rid of abusers, but we need to fix the culture that enabled it to happen," she says.

The campaign aims to welcome back and help women who have left the industry or have been forced out due to sexual harassment, sexual assault and inequality by focusing on hiring, training and creating a culture of empowerment. Dettman says that all women have stories related to sexual harassment or gender inequality.

Have Her Back print ad
Have Her Back print ad Credit: Golin

"There's a huge spectrum from bias to harassment to assault on the far side. We've all had had things happen to us on the spectrum and we've all had different experiences, but make no mistake – we've all had experiences," she says.

All of the creative assets for the campaign, including the static ads and video, were created by Golin. The woman in the still ads is a composite of different women from Golin to represent how sexual harassment and gender bias is something all females have faced in their lives.

Golin has committed to doubling the percentage of women at the agency who are on the career path to executive creative director every year through 2020. The shop also partnered with The 3% Movement to co-create "Manbassador" trainings" to help include men in the solutions around culture issues.

"It's about action moving forward, and men need to get on board too," says Dettman.

The first training event in Chicago, which will be held at EvolveHer, a creative lab and shared workspace for women, is meant to help women network and learn and challenge the entire industry. "We all know we can be doing better, so what actions can we take?" says Dettman.

Going forward, Dettman says Golin plans on working with global women's advancement nonprofit organization SheSays, which has a presence in 40 cities, to hold additional training around the world.

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