Having a professional mentor can be hugely uplifting as well as beneficial for developing your career. But finding someone to support and nurture you as you rise through the ranks isn’t easy, especially if you’re a woman, according to a podcast discussion between The Drum and Futures Network co-founders, Visha Naul and Laura Vipond.
Marking a year since allegations of Weinstein’s sexual misconduct first emerged, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to reflect on the current state of the industry and find out how genuinely (and seriously) brands were pushing for gender empowerment, as well as questioning the main struggles faced by women in their quest to excel professionally.
Hosted by associate editor of The Drum, Sonoo Singh, Naul – also the industry partnerships marketing lead at Google – and Vipond, group business director at Karmarama, sat down to discuss the importance of mentoring today. Together they explain how the relationship between mentors and mentees should be mutually beneficial and analyse the role that brands play in tackling stereotypes, including around body image, and their responsibility for keeping conversations alive in the public domain.
In the fourth episode of the SheSays Says series, the trio consider the effect that mentoring can have on establishing positive role models, especially in an industry that has so few women working at more senior levels.
“Mentoring is a secret weapon for women,” said Vipond. “It’s been an unspoken thing that men through the years have always had. It’s great that we’re [finally] building connections between women in middle management, our future leaders, and women at the top of their career. Futures Network has been massively successful [so far].”
Futures Network was set up in 2015 by Vipond and Naul as well as Cristina Loaiza and Camilla Eden-Davies. The initiative launched after winning WACL’s Future Leaders Award and was created to establish a network for women in marketing and advertising to help support each other through their careers. The community provides women with a series of events and 1-1 mentorship sessions, offering practical tips on leadership style, to expand their confidence among other skills.