A view from the top
A view from Nicola Mendelsohn

A view from the top

This week, it's the 102nd International Women's Day, so it's a busy week filled with exciting events celebrating women. Some may question why, in 2013, there is still a need for such a day, but my response is a simple one. We still need this day and we need it because women are still not treated equally in the workplace.

A recent, and somewhat provocative, headline screamed "Why is a penis worth £10,000 pa?", which, according to the Chartered Management Institute, is the gap between men and women’s pay for the same job in the UK.

Rant over, and on to business. Among my other duties, I spend at least 50 per cent of my time working on Karmarama client business, and the start of the week saw meetings with Age UK, B&Q and a beauty client looking to make a step change.

It’s always exciting to work with a new client, such as B&Q, on bringing its manifesto to life. There’s a great buzz in the agency as everyone is preparing for shoots and popping by to share concepts. At the moment, family life is dominated by GCSEs, as our daughter sits them this summer and our eldest son is about to choose his options.

Monday night was spent at school poring over what exams he will take – the last big decision is PE or Spanish. On Tuesday night, I attended a dinner where I listened to the inspirational Deborah Hale, who was the woman responsible for creating the Olympic Torch Relay last summer.

Wednesday saw the launch of the  inaugural Women of Tomorrow competition, created by the IPA and Campaign, where ten amazing women from across our industry were announced, including the formidable Hannah Matthews from Karmarama.

Later on, I was entertaining clients at the Marketing Group of Great Britain dinner, where Heston Blumenthal was the after-dinner speaker – a creative genius!

Thursday saw a pitch, which was, coincidentally, for another women’s product. We are down to the last two agencies, so fingers crossed. Lots of tired faces in the agency. Managed to squeeze in a briefing on the event I’m chairing here at Karmarama on Data Indigestion – a lot more fascinating than I had imagined.

In the evening, it’s over to Winfield House where the US ambassador and his wife, Marjorie Susman, are holding an International Women’s Day reception. Many amazing women from across all walks of life pile into the residence and gawp at the house and the art on the walls. Mark Rothko’s Orange and Tan and Willem de Kooning’s Untitled are the favourites. Then it’s on to date night with my husband at the Gielgud Theatre to see the awesome Helen Mirren in The Audience. Another magnificent performance as the Queen, seamlessly jumping from different periods of her reign.

Friday is WIE London, an annual event celebrating women, empowerment and inspiration that I’ve been part of since its inception four years ago in New York. Once again, the speaker line-up is breathtaking, bringing together Kelly Hoppen, Lynn de Rothschild and Ruthie Rogers.

A quick break from the conference to head over to Sky News to talk about IWD, and then to the Southbank for WOW – Women of the World Festival. White Ribbon Alliance, one of the charities that I am a trustee of, is hosting a reception.  What a strong ending to a week largely spent championing women.

Nicola Mendelsohn is the president of the IPA