It's a fact. Representation of women in leadership is lagging, representation of women on boards is lacking, and our ability to close the pay gap is languishing -- across nearly every industry, including marketing and advertising. This begs a question: How do we create opportunities to build women's careers -- and salaries -- in our industry?
As both a business leader and a mother, I have seen my career take off in the years since I started my family. I've had the opportunity to help build an agency that has doubled in size, even as I've doubled the size of my family.
Now that I'm pregnant with my second child -- a girl, no less -- I am more motivated than ever to share ways women can successfully build their careers and their families. My hope is that my son and daughter will grow up in a world where gender has no yardstick, in a world where families, career paths and parenting responsibilities are free to take many different forms.
For all the women in our industry who have ambitions to be both leaders and mothers, you can succeed at both, and you can pave the way to ensuring our daughters' prospects and pay stubs are better than our own. We are capable of more than we give ourselves credit for.
If you are a woman leader, aspiring woman leader, or someone who supports growing a woman in her career, here are ways we can all keep advancing. Let's change the conversation once and for all.
Delegate the details -- you've earned it
Too often women feel that they need to be super hands-on in the details of everything, taking responsibility for getting every last detail right. The truth is, some of the greatest leaders in the world understand above all else how to delegate, empower those around them and train the stars of tomorrow. These are essential skills if you are going to balance leading in business, in advertising, and especially if you are a mom.
Know your role
Understand where in the process you can provide the most value to the team, and focus your efforts around these key inflection points. Be disciplined about not getting involved in the minutia, if you can avoid it. As I said, trust others to handle the details.
Build bench strength
Make your team ready and capable of taking the lead. Spend a lot of time nurturing talent, and make sure they are well equipped to take on more and more senior roles. My mother always told me that if you can never be replaced, you can never move ahead. This is even more true if you are trying to grow your career and balance your life.
Set your team's expectations early and often
As you advance, and especially If you're a mom, you need to leave work at a certain time every day. It's important that you set this expectation, and that you make sure your colleagues are aware that this doesn't mean you're not engaged or don't care. Be accessible should something come up while you are not there, but make it clear that if it can wait, it will.
Work smarter, not harder
Your time in the office is limited, especially when you are a mom. Burning the midnight oil is just not possible. Therefore, you need to be hyper efficient with your time. You have to get done in 8 hours what others can get done in 12. Stay laser focused on finding process efficiencies wherever possible (for example, no meetings without an agenda, objective and next steps) and be extremely focused on producing while you are at work.
Most important, if women are going to succeed, we have to wake up every day loving what we do, to be motivated enough to advance our careers and demonstrate our value. This passion fuels the collective mission we're on with our teams and our clients, and inspires all the ways we make an impact.
Here's to our future industry leaders, and here's to hoping our daughters find and fulfill their passions too.