Advertising Week

AWNY Unveils New Identity: She Runs It

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Advertising Women of New York is unveiling a rebranding at Advertising Week: The group, known as AWNY since 1934, will now be called She Runs It as the organization seeks to expand nationally and broaden its focus.

Lynn Branigan, president-CEO of the 1,700-strong organization, said AWNY decided to change its name because it has shifted as much as the industry has in recent years and is now about "much more than advertising." AWNY's founding name in 1912 was League of Advertising Women.

"We want to be more inclusive of the broader marketing ecosystem," said Ms. Branigan. She added that the name change will help people and companies understand that She Runs It is an "organization that paves the way for more women to lead at every level in marketing and media." To that end, it's also releasing some eye-opening statistics this week.

She Runs It partnered with EY and LinkedIn on a global study named "Accelerating the Path to Leadership for Women in Marketing and Media," which looks at more than 4,000 companies and nearly 3.8 million people across all career stages. The study also examines seven subsectors: publishers, pure-play digital publishers, broadcast and cable networks, ad tech companies, creative and media agencies, PR and advertisers.

Ms. Branigan said the companies in the study provided information about employee titles and career progressions, and LinkedIn supplemented the research with its own data.

One of the major findings is that 41% of people in early-stage marketing and media careers are women, a number that drops to 25% on average when it comes to women in executive leadership. "In every subsector, the stats are showing that overall the career trajectory for women is going in the wrong direction, with the exception of PR, which has 46% of women in the executive leadership," said Ms. Branigan.

The research revealed that in mature sectors, like media, creative, PR and publishing, women make up 50% or more of the early professional talent. When it comes to younger categories, such as ad tech and pure-play digital, 40% or less of the talent base is composed of women. Ms. Branigan said the most "dramatic drop-off" is between VP and senior-VP leadership roles and the C-suite. "We knew it was bad, but we didn't know it was this bad," she added.

Also, on average, nearly 70% of all professional endorsements for both men and women come from men, and that number goes up to 78% at the leadership level in media and marketing, according to the study.

She Runs It hopes the research will start a conversation among industry leaders, agency executives, marketers and professional women to help them figure out what they could do differently, said Ms. Branigan. For example, the study revealed that women across all professional levels should focus more on building their own personal brands and social media presences. Women also need to put more effort into networking, especially since men in leadership and midcareer influencer roles have 15% more connections than women in their overall network, the study found.

Next up, She Runs It wants to figure out why so many women leave the industry before reaching the C-suite. The organization also plans to dig deeper into its research, specifically about individual subsectors. Ms. Branigan said she's hoping to do the study annually so the industry can gauge progress.

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