In the spirit of doing things big, Disney and Omnicom Media Group not only celebrated International Women’s day but also joined forces to co-host a women’s networking evening, which included a panel discussion and film screening, as well as a speed mentoring day.
On Tuesday the women’s networking event saw 80 people from across the marketing spectrum including Marketers, Agencies and Media Owners come together to talk about how women can progress in the industry. In a fascinating panel session hosted by Philippa Brown, CEO of Omnicom Media Group, we celebrated the 48% representation of women in Omnicom UK’s senior leadership team, but we also recognised that there is still a long way to go. After all, there are more CEOs called John in FTSE 100 companies than women.
Emily Wilson (Assistant Editor of the Guardian) gave the audience an insight into how a job share role enabled her to balance becoming a mother whilst progressing her career, but she questioned why these requests seemingly always come from mothers? This sparked a great debate around gender assumptions in the workplace and how we need to tackle them face on. Men are sometimes seen as less able to make such requests and research in Australia found they are actually twice more likely to have flexible working opportunities declined.
Tricia Wilber (CMO of Disney EMEA) also talked about how as a family company Disney needs to push the boundaries of not only what it does for its staff, but the responsibility it has through storytelling. As such, she recommended the best way to bring about positive change is to follow the words of Cinderella to “have courage and be kind.”
Ending this event was an early screening of Beauty and the Beast (released 17th March), which not only was a cinematic spectacle, it also reinforced the strong female characters Disney are celebrating though Belle.
Thursday then saw over 200 women congregate for a speed mentoring day. Mentors and mentees stretched across the Omnicom network and Disney business. It was amazing to see the buzz and excitement across the board. Mentors included Verica Djurdjevic, (MD PHD), Aki Mandhar (MD OMD UK), Anna Hill (CMO Disney), Boel Ferguson (VP & GM Disney Interactive EMEA & UK), Philippa Brown (CEO OMG UK), Una Fox (VP, Digital Marketing & CRM Tech), Chiara Cipriani (VP, GM for Digital D2C) and Kate King (Chief People Officer, OMG UK). These inspiring women shared their stories of how they have progressed, but also noted how much they have learnt from the mentees who are at the start of their careers.
Disney and Omnicom’s first venture together for International Women’s Day was a great success and from the post-event murmurs we should watch this space for similar events in the future (yes men, you will be included too!).