Back in April, The List—a group of some 30 marketing, advertising and media executives selected by Ad Age and our partners at Facebook—gathered for the first time to set the agenda for the year ahead: (1) identifying a key issue in the industry and (2) devising a game plan to solve it.
It was during this initial brainstorming session that The List members—including Ricky Ray Butler, CEO of Branded Entertainment Network and one of Ad Age's 40 Under 40 in 2018—decided that family leave was the most pressing issue on which to focus their combined attention and resources. As members shared their maternity and paternity leave stories (the good, the bad and the ugly), Butler thought about his own company’s policy and his personal experience with parental leave, including the recent birth of his son Lorenzo, his second child.
This self-evaluation was eye-opening for Butler—as both a father and professional. Nearly eight months later, he recalls, he only took two days off when his son was born—and that he wasn’t quite clear on what his own company’s parental leave policy actually entailed.
“It was literally right after the brainstorm that I called our head of operations,” Butler admits.
He inquired into the company’s parental leave policy and wanted to know more about how it was serving his employees.
“When I asked, I got more feedback than I was expecting,” explains Butler. “I assumed the policy was perfect, but that was the wrong assumption.”