As of writing, the table only lists 19 female or non-binary agency owners, but Hiler hopes that by connecting this community, Own It’s reach can expand at an exponential rate. The initiative already has support from prominent industry figures like Terri Meyer and Sandy Greenberg of Terri & Sandy, Frances Webster, CEO of Walrus and Valerie Moizel, chief executive and chief creative officer of The Woo.
“The goal is to increase the numbers because we’ve seen the powerful impact data can have on creating change,” said Freeman. “Another need for data is to create awareness for brands that have the power to work with women-owned agencies. This database can educate brands who are working to support diversity among the agencies they add to their roster.”
“Let's put more women in the position of ownership and let's just talk about it,” added Hiler. “I really do believe sometimes it can be as simple as being aware and intentional in order to see great progress made.”
Part of Own It’s initial plan is a podcast where Hiler interviews influential women in advertising. So far the podcast, which launched earlier this month, has featured Freeman as well as Asmirh Davis, partner and chief strategy officer at Majority; Susan Lee Colby and Kathy Sjogren, co-owners of Grace Creative; 3% Movement’s Kat Gordon; and Nancy Hill, former president and CEO of 4A’s.
As Own It expands, the duo hopes the initiative can be a source of community and inspiration for current and aspiring female agency owners, perhaps even one day incorporating a mentorship program.
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“Our first hope is to create a community to showcase success stories, which will inspire more women to start their own agencies,” said Freeman. “We also want to identify and show that there are women agency owners who are available and ready to help others propel their businesses. There has never been a better time to start a business. The past two years have turned upside down and many work constraints for women have been lifted. Zambezi was started with a cellphone and computer full of contacts. Sometimes the hardest thing is giving yourself permission to start.”