In honor of International Women’s Day, we asked advertising executives their thoughts on equality in the advertising industry, and here’s what Elyssa Gray, Brand and Advertising Executive Leader/Professional & Executive Coach had to share:
The media often highlights the negative, honing in on the lack of equality in the workplace, but what’s something that you think proves we’re making progress?
We are finally having real conversations about this openly and loudly to emphasize that that there is an issue. That is the first step. However, we are not where we need to be, but I’m hopeful we will get there.
What additional steps do you think the advertising industry needs to make in order to achieve gender equality?
I think each company has to make a commitment around what they’re going to do and not just talk about it. What actions are they going to take and be held accountable to?
Does your company have any internal initiatives that specifically support/celebrate your female employees?
My last employer did a lot around this area: training, industry meetups, mentoring opportunities, generous maternity leave time and ensuring that any recognition programs maintained a balance. However, the percentage of female vs. males employees was still a challenge.
What are you doing, outside of this month, to champion women?
I am a professional coach. Most of my clients are women, and I continue to mentor many of the women that I used to work with. I’m also proud to be an Exec Board Member of The AD Club, whose commitment to diverse talent and promoting women into leadership positions is a big part of its purpose.
What advice would you give to young women who are just getting started in the industry?
Speak up and find your voice. Find mentors and advocates to support you. Be brave. Be kind.