In honor of International Women’s Day, we asked advertising executives their thoughts on equality in the advertising industry, and here’s what Cathy Oh: Global Head of Marketing & Analytics, Samsung Ads had to share:
What additional steps do you think the advertising industry needs to make in order to achieve gender equality?
For any industry to truly achieve gender equality, women must be equally represented throughout the field, but especially visible in senior positions. Currently, only 27 percent of chair, chief executive or managing director roles are occupied by women across advertising and media agencies, despite studies showing how gender diversity in corporate settings can lead to greater innovation, better decision-making, and higher employee satisfaction.
There is no shortage of women who are suitable for these leadership roles. Consciously, working to increase female leadership representation will help to normalize gender equality – ideally we need to transition these discussions from an “initiative” to “this is the way we can be most successful as a business.”
Does your company have any internal initiatives that specifically support/celebrate your female employees? + What are you doing, outside of this month, to champion women?
Internally, Samsung Electronics designed an initiative called “Women in Samsung Electronics” (WISE) which acts as a resource network for female employees. We have also established a variety of ERGs (Employee Resource Groups) to foster diversity and growth.
We are also in the late stages of planning a women’s initiative specifically for Samsung Ads. Diversity and empowerment are integral aspects of our corporate values and we place high importance on empowerment and equality in all aspects of our work.
As an organization, we believe mentorship for women in the industry is an essential resource. At Samsung Ads, we have teamed up with She Runs It, which operates the largest mentoring program in the industry, to make the program even more robust. In doing so,we aim to support more women to lead at every level of marketing, media and tech.
Beyond the memberships and female-focused initiatives we engage year-round, Samsung Ads also relies on the substantive women leaders that run and contribute to our respective teams every day. In fact, a majority of our Samsung Ads President’s Award winners, an award created to celebrate our top-talent in addition to normal HR review cycles, were women.
What advice would you give to young women who are just getting started in the industry?
Lean in, speak up, and make sure you have a seat at the table both figuratively and physically. Find a mentor or sponsor – preferably one both inside your organization and outside your organization – this will help you to reflect and improve on the immediate opportunities in front of you as well as think outside your four walls for your longer-term plan. Like anyone trying to rise in their careers – keep your learning journey alive in terms of your specific discipline and from an overall leadership level. Watch other leaders and start to pay attention to style, approach, what works and sometimes what doesn’t.
While there is adversity we face as women in this industry, we must focus on the countless opportunities there are to succeed – both in the advertising field and the corporate world. The status quo is constantly shifting, and things will continue to change and evolve for the better when women leaders are at the forefront.