Photo by Patrick Denton
Advertising Age hosted a brunch in Cannes, France, to bring together for the first time women who have been honored at Ad Age's Women to Watch events around the world.
Ad Age started naming outstanding women in advertising, marketing and media in the U.S. back in 1997, with an annual Women to Watch luncheon in New York and profiles of each honoree in Ad Age. In 2012, Ad Age partnered with Thoughtful China to launch Women to Watch in China, and Turkey, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia have followed.
At the global Women to Watch reunion brunch, three former Women to Watch honorees from the U.S., China and Brazil who are jury presidents this week at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity had a conversation about women in leadership. The informal session was led by Allison Arden, Ad Age's VP-publisher, with Wendy Clark, Coca-Cola's president for sparkling brands and strategy marketing, and the first marketer to be president of a Cannes jury, for Creative Effectiveness; Jean Lin, global CEO of Isobar and president of the Cyber jury, and Joanna Monteiro, VP-creative director of FCB Brazil, and president of the mobile jury, whose Grand Prix she won last year for a Nivea campaign.
Ms. Clark said one challenge is that organizations are set up to enable men. So the goal is "lift as you climb" for the Coca-Cola Women's Leadership Council. Currently 32% of Coke's leadership is female, up from 18% seven years ago when the council started. The goal, she said, is 50%. "Now we're into the tough sledding."
Isobar's Ms. Lin said parent company Dentsu Aegis has a group of about 40 women involved with empowering female talent who talk with each other and create consistent programs around the world.
"You lose them in the middle range; the key thing is how can we keep women at that middle level and mentor them?" Ms. Lin said that when anyone is making a senior hire at Isobar "I require them to give me the best man and the best woman for the role." That doesn't mean the man won't be hired, but it does force the hiring manager to consider female candidates.
Ms. Monteiro, who is one of the most-awarded female creatives in the world, said that when she was climbing the ranks in the creative department, many women didn't want to work there. It was so competitive that if a woman went home at a reasonable hour, male creatives who stayed even later would finish the work before she came in the next morning.
"Now a lot of men want to have dinner with their family, too," Ms. Monteiro said. "As women, we need to incentivize that, as a philosophy for the agency."
In addition to honorees from around the world, Ad Age partners Adlatina, MediaCat and Meio & Mensagem, who organize Women to Watch in Argentina, Turkey and Brazil, attended the brunch. The next event will be Women to Watch Mexico, launching in November in partnership with Adlatina.
Photos by Patrick Denton