“Perhaps we will soon reach a time when the media industry can spontaneously think of an equal number of great icons of either gender.” This is the last line in Sue Unerman’s piece in the latest edition of Media Week and it follows on from a number of things I’ve been talking or thinking about (why there are no female contributors in this series) in the past few weeks.
There are some really fantastic women working in our industry, women like Tess Alps, Philippa Brown, Farah Ramzan Golant, Helen Calcraft and Amelia Torode. These are senior-level women who are setting an example, speaking out and showing that’s it’s possible to get ahead in a male dominated industry and still be fabulous, fiesty, smart and most of all, themselves. These are fabulous female role models for women wanting to do big things in media and advertising.
But yet, we still doubt ourselves. Generalities aside, but you very rarely hear men uttering any of these classic lines: “This may be a stupid idea but…” or “I may not know what I’m talking about but…” or “I’m not sure if I deserve that payrise, but…”. Stop apologising! Say what you want and take control of your career.
Groups like WACL and She Says are fantastic places to get career advice, support and to meet like-minded women in media and advertising. Every year, WACL put on an amazing one-day training forum called Gather. They invite speakers like Stevie Spring and cover a variety of topics like improving your influencing & persuading skills, motivating yourself & others and bravery.
Last year, I heard some great pieces of advice that I’ve carried with me ever since.
1) Just because you haven’t, doesn’t mean that you can’t. There’s a first time for everything and to get ahead, you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone.
2) You can’t cry and whistle at the same time. If you feel like you’re going to cry, try to whistle. You can’t do both concurrently!
3) If you’re not enjoying what you do, be proactive in finding ways to enjoy it. If you can’t, it’s time to find another job.
4) Look the part. Dress for the job you want to be doing, not the job you’re actually doing. Dress for the input you want to give and the image you want to project.
5) Don’t wait to be given responsibility. If you want to get ahead, then take responsibility and show that you are capable and deserving of the job you want.
6) Be brave, opinionated and give up the fear. Remember that you got to where you are right now because of your strength and your ability. Stop being scared and doubting yourself.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?