MediaCom UK managing director Claudine Collins has urged women to find organisations that will propel their own self-belief to make a difference as the agency rolls out a mentoring programme for staff back from maternity leave.
Confidence has to come from within but you’ll only get that in the right environment, said Collins.
It’s an observation pertinent to all business, but particularly so in advertising where the industry is yet to resolve lingering issues around female empowerment. MediaCom has bucked the trend since its inception thirty years ago, harnessing the talent of some of advertising’s most prominent women to work with one third of the world’s top thirty advertisers. Collins role in a nine-strong senior team that also includes chief executive Karen Blackett, chief strategy officer Sue Unerman and chairman Jane Ratcliffe is testament to its commitment to diversity though it refuses to rest on its laurels.
Speaking at the launch event for charity Rays of Sunshine’s Generation Sunshine network of supporters last week (5 March), Collins told The Drum: “It’s important women have a good, strong support network, believe in themselves and have a good boss. I thank my lucky stars that I had a very meritocratic boss - Stephen Allan, chief executive of MediaCom Worldwide - who doesn’t even look at gender, age or colour.”
The agency is introducing a mentoring scheme to ease new mothers back into the business and continues to push the apprenticeship scheme for non-graduates it launched in 2012.
This isn’t about PR or fulfilling quotas, assured Collins. The business believes the flexible attitude it shows to all staff, combined with its unconventional search for the staff of tomorrow amount to wider efforts to future proof business.
“We’d never want someone to miss their child’s play because they had to be sitting at their desk,” added Collins.
McKinsey, Cranfield and other renowned business schools have all proved the commercial benefits of a diverse workplace. It is only now though that other advertising employers are starting to shift their stance accordingly.
Allan, who is co-founder of Rays of Sunshine and was also at the event, said: “I don’t see gender. I don’t see race. I don’t see colour. I don’t care. I just want the best people working in our company.
“if you take a market like London, which a recent survey said 55 per cent of its population is non-white, then those are the people that are clients are talking to. It actually makes really good business sense to have people in your operation that reflect and represent the population of people that we’re trying to communicate with. There’s a good business reason other than a pure ethical one.”