How we can champion women with the power of #PassItOn

Campaign and the Futures Network are launching an initiative to share mentoring and advice for women in the industry.

Futures Network: formed by and for winners of Wacl Future Leader Award
Futures Network: formed by and for winners of Wacl Future Leader Award

Campaign and the Futures Network are teaming up to share mentoring and advice for women in the creative and marketing industries.

The #PassItOn series will feature women from the Futures Network sharing the best career advice and insight with the next generation of  female leaders.

The Futures Network is a group developed for and run by winners of the Wacl Future Leader Award to provide support and inspiration for women across the industry.

Visha Naul, co-founder of the Futures Network, says that women tend to hold themselves back and believe they must be 100% perfect in their current role before they take the next step. Women also express reluctance to push themselves forward and seek the spotlight. She explains: "Because of this, mentorship has a more important role today than ever before."

Pippa Glucklich, president of Wacl, said:  "At Wacl, our purpose is to accelerate gender equality in the communications and marketing industry through support, inspiration and campaigning. That's what we're here for; our partnership with the Futures Network is a brilliant example of our purpose in action.

"We continue to iterate and grow together – this year will see the programme progress further to include reverse mentoring for Waclers – so the encouragement, advice and wisdom we share between us is a win-win for all the amazing women involved. #PassItOn is a brilliantly simple and effective initiative that Wacl is proud to be a part of."

The value of championing women

Naul believes that being mentored is fundamental not only early in your career but also during the later stages. She explains: "It’s not and shouldn’t be seen as a way of ‘rescuing’ women. Being mentored is not asking for help, it’s asking for guidance to support you in your individual quest to be the best in your chosen career.

"It’s no different to using personal training to get fitter, going to see a nutritionist to be more informed about a healthier diet, seeing a therapist when life gets too hard, or even enrolling for a part-time course to continue your marketing education. Mentorship is the support for your career needs."

Naul points to a 2017 study by Egon Zehnder that found women tend to be ambitious in the early stages of their career and almost 75% wanted to reach the top level of the corporate ladder. However, when the question of ambition was posed to women in more senior positions, it had a different response altogether – exposing the challenges at that level and the shift in aspirations of respondents.

She continues: "If a desire to advance is declining at this level, then that’s a fundamental problem in the industry, and I imagine one of the reasons why the IPA continues to report only marginal improvement in changes for C-suite female leaders year on year."

According to Naul, career plans often follow a typical pattern: "When you rise up in your marketing career, you tend to shoot up the ranks in a linear fashion. You know where you are going and the path is clear. However, as you get to a point of mid-management, that clear, linear direction begins to wobble and our carefully constructed plans and vision to get closer to a senior leadership position starts to become confusing."

Many in the industry can feel overwhelmed that they have more questions than answers. What should your next career step be? How can you have a healthy work/life balance? How can you define your personal brand? Do you even have one? Should you have one? How can you be more confident at work? How can you benefit from flexible working?

The #PassItOn series aims to help to answer these questions with insight from the Futures Network mentorship programme, which launched in association with Wacl last year.

In 2018, up to 40 women across agencies, brands and media owners were mentored by female leaders from Wacl. Over the coming months, you’ll see a series of articles from women from both the Futures Network and Wacl passing on the valuable insights that they’ve gained throughout the course of their career or from their mentored sessions.

Naul adds: "We have a duty to the industry we work in to pass on our learnings in order to look after the next generation that rise up behind us and keep it thriving. It’s the only way we’ll continue to have better work, more diverse people and more enthusiastic teams who are genuinely excited about marketing.

"We value the mentorship programme we have launched with Wacl and are thrilled to announce that its vital need to exist to support women in marketing has led to a year two."