On this episode of Shapers of Possibility - a Taylor Podcast, AnnaRose Rubright, Taylor’s Production Executive is joined by three Taylor colleagues to discuss their experiences as women in advertising. Arden Shirley, Senior Account Executive, Carly Wilkins, Director of Strategy, and Victoria Berry, Account Supervisor share their point of view on what roadblocks, challenges and opportunities they’ve faced in their careers.
Women in Advertising
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(AnnaRose Rubright 0:25):
Hello again and welcome to our Shapers of Possibilities podcast.
I am your host, a rose in honor of women in advertising to three strategy colleagues about their experiences as women in advertising. We will be discussing the challenges that they have faced, the mentors and strategies that have led them to where they are in the ways that they are shaping the future of marketing.
We are joined by Arden Shirley who is a Senior Account Executive, Victoria Berry, Account Supervisor and Carly Wilkins who is a Director of Strategy.
Let's start, this is for you.
What made you pursue a career in advertising?
(Arden Shirley 1:20):
I actually started in sports pr and communications
So I didn't have, I guess the traditional route, you know, starting at an agency or at a brand.
I actually didn't major in anything related to pr I was in political science and media but started working in sports pr while I was in college, both at the collegiate and professional level.
And then I ended up moving over this agency role here at Taylor working with sports, but a different obviously capacity being in an agency.
(AnnaRose Rubright 1:48):
Did you have any role models or inspirations in advertising?
Early in your career?
(Arden Shirley 1:54):
Yeah, I worked with a group of my really close friends.
We all worked in sports, which is how we met and got to know each other.
And a few of them were just a year or two older than I was and kind of working with them, hearing kind of their stories and the advice they had was super helpful.
There are now ones at the Cowboys and one at Auburn football.
And I think for me just having someone who is kind of one step ahead and could share with me, you know what they've learned things that have worked, things that haven't worked, even just down to people to meet and introduce myself to was super helpful and just kind of seeing their success now has been a huge part of, you know, why I love pr and I've stuck with it.
So they've been really great.
(AnnaRose Rubright 2:32):
What makes a good mentor to a woman in advertising?
Do you have any mentors?
(Arden Shirley 2:38):
Yeah, I mean, I definitely think ship is a huge part, you know, your career in your personal life for that matter.
I think, you know, the big thing is, is just transparency, obviously, you need access to people.
But I think once you get there, then kind of share their mistakes to avoid pitfalls that happen.
You know, again, people they can introduce you to or just ways of working.
I think that a huge part of mentorship is kind of making, you know, your path slightly easier than their path was or at least trying to do that.
So, again, mentorship is really important to me and I would say, you know, here at Taylor, I'm lucky I work on an account that, as they all do, but specifically on Crown Royal, shout out to the Crown team, Naomi and Amanda.
Amanda is my boss and they have been really instrumental in just teaching me the ways of working, teaching me how, you know, things are done at Taylor and what works, what doesn't and also just being able to work alongside them and see how they work.
Amanda specifically has really impacted the way we do media outreach and really has pushed myself and the rest of the team to be a little bit more nimble and a little bit more fun.
And, you know, I think that's been really awesome and just again, like seeing, we just worked on the Super Bowl for Crown and Amanda and I specifically worked on the entire NFL campaign.
So I think, you know, just being able to see how she works and how her mind works and just, you know, having that access again is, has been awesome.
(AnnaRose Rubright 3:56):
What are the challenges, you have faith as a woman in advertising.
And how did you overcome that?
(Arden Shirley 4:08):
Yeah, I think especially whenever I first started, I was working in sports.
So it was all, it was mostly, it was very male heavy.
There weren't a lot of women.
And so, you know, going into my first job, I was 18, 19 years old and I was often the only woman in the room.
And I think, you know, that was difficult to, especially at such a young age to have to, you know, form my own opinions and be able to back them up also have thick skin.
You know, there's, again, it's all men and it's sports, so it's very direct, it's things are moving quickly.
So I think that was tough.
And then, you know, learning that again at a young age was just a challenge for me.
It definitely served me well in my career now.
So, you know, I had to take that as a learning opportunity.
But I think, you know, my best piece of advice or, you know, how I kind of worked around that at the time was just finding at least one person, whether they were on my team advice, ways to handle certain situations and just have someone that really backed me up and believed in me that was really helpful.
And I would also say just working hard times the only thing you can do is put your head down and work and I did that a lot of the time.
And, you know, at that point, at least, you know, I know my work is solid.
I know that, you know, I'm doing everything I can to put out solid work.
So that was also a big key.
(AnnaRose Rubright 5:16):
How about you, Carlie, what barriers still exist for women in advertising?
And what do you think needs to change to remove them?
I would say at least from an executive or corporate standpoint, there still is a pay for quality gap that needs to be addressed and that is something that I think will be ongoing for years to come.
So I do think that work in that area, I also feel like the empowerment for women to, to really feel like they can ask for what they need or what they deserve to continue to foster that in, you know, junior colleagues and and other women in advertising, I think is incredibly important because collectively our voices are louder.
So I do think that that is something that will continue to be an issue.
But I do hope and you know, I think that I have seen some positive change but because salary is also one of those things that can be taboo to talk about even among colleagues that you don't always know.
So I'm hopeful and I feel like there is some inner workings, you know, behind the scenes happening.
I I still think that it's something that has further to go and I think that a lot of that is tied to the fact that people don't openly discuss it.
So I would say that is one area that I still think is something that will need to be worked on and also leave, parental leave is something that, you know, universally is not, not offered, you know, particularly with a new child coming into, coming into the families.
And I just think back to my first son when he was born, I got six weeks and my second and I got two weeks and then I'm so thankful when I see colleagues that are able to take these extended leaves that that should be offered shouldn't be, you know, this thing that you have to jump back into right away.
So that is something that I, I do think, you know, not just from women but for men as well.
And you know, non binary folks that offering of time to like acknowledge that, you know, your work is just one element of your life and you, you also have a personal life outside of that and, and just, you know, aligning yourself with organizations that, that see value in that see value in the person as a whole, I think is something that is just so important.
And if you know, the talent goes to those good places or those fantastic organizations, they're going to be the ones that succeed and we would hope that the ones that don't, and don't provide that, that resource that, you know, start to realize they need to do that, to be able to attract the right talent.
(AnnaRose Rubright 7:24):
How do women in advertising shape the portrayal of women in campaigns?
(Carly Wilkins 7:31):
Yes, that's such a great question.
I think that, you know, in particular, you know, women in campaigns can still be seen as a secondary character or not nearly a strong character.
But I do think that, you know, it's incredibly important for all parties working on a campaign to acknowledge the perception or the possible potential reception, the people and personalities in the campaign to really just think ahead about how this could be perceived by that audience?
you know, maybe even focus groups, or ask, you know, colleagues or, or kind of ask folks like, how, how would you receive this message?
Does it resonate?
Does it actually, you know, portray something that we're not intending to do?
I just think being incredibly open and cognizant to that feedback as well as flexible and needing to pivot when a campaign is essentially not, not relaying the story and the message or the person in the right light that you want to.
(AnnaRose Rubright 8:25):
How do you support other women in this field?
(Carly Wilkins 8:28):
I have, you know, I have a few mentors actually that have really encouraged me to take on mentees and really keep a close, you know, I, I do allow time for them, you know, whether it's, it be through one on ones or, you know, just even email communications.
But I have really managed to keep pretty strong open lines of communication with people that were on my team previously that I had a really wonderful relationship with and I guess I've somewhat turned into their mentor or so they've expressed.
So I would say that that is one way that I continue to try and support those that I feel like, you know, where I can make a difference and also where I can lend some, you know, some seed of knowledge based on my experience.
(AnnaRose Rubright 9:10):
This one's for you, Victoria, what advice will you give to the next generation of women in advertising?
(Victoria Berry 9:17):
The advice that I would give to the next generation of women in advertising is that your journey is yours and it doesn't have to look like anyone else's.
I think that's so important for women to really understand that you don't have to copy what someone before has done to be deemed successful or to make an impact.
You just need to leverage all of the resources that you have on hand and you know, carve out that space for yourself.
And then also I would advise that when thinking about mentorship, you don't have to reach a certain level to be deemed a credible mentor.
Like you can become a mentor at all levels.
You can be in college and mentor, you know, young women in high school and to just prioritize that like always try to pour into, you know, someone else as you are also making your way and climbing your way up.
And you know, you can receive mentorship from your peers.
It doesn't just have to be people that are above you.
(AnnaRose Rubright 10:20):
How do your other identities influence your experience as a woman in advertising?
So my other identities influence my experience as a woman in advertising.
I found that the influence of my different identities, it shifts as you know, different things are happening in culture, you know, and as of lately, I feel like I have the most room for impact as you know, a black woman, you know, playing, I think that in my day to day working in advertising, I consciously play a role to, to try to further validate and humanize the black experience, whether it be, you know, for my peers that I'm working with or finding ways for this to shine through in the work that we're working on, you know, in the investment that the brands, I just think that we are more than a moment like a month or a holiday and that should be shown in that I work on in the investment that they make.
So I make a point to do that and I think that that's definitely tied to what's happening at the moment.
(AnnaRose Rubright 11:28):
How do you shape possibility in your work?
And for your team, I shape possibilities in my work and for my team by forcing myself to just lean into being uncomfortable.
And that can come up in a bunch of different scenarios.
You know, I may feel a sense of uncomfortability, you know, sharing an idea that I have internally or, you know, advocating for someone else that's not in the room or just making sure that we really gut check.
Some of the things that we're putting forward, forcing myself to like any time I challenge something like that experience in itself is uncomfortable.
I try to just lean into being uncomfortable because I've found that when I am uncomfortable, the payback has always been, you know, tenfold like the, the work is better, the relationships are better.
I open lines of communication and visibility that didn't exist before when I allow myself to be uncomfortable.
So, yeah, that's what I do.
(AnnaRose Rubright 12:34):
This one's for you, Carly, how do you shape possibilities in your work and for your team?
(Carly Wilkins 12:40):
I think that by first acknowledging it's acknowledging, I don't have all the answers by acknowledging.
I'm probably not the only thought leader in that room and making sure that I leave space for folks that have, you know, different experiences to be able to share that and different viewpoints to be able to share that.
I think that's really important.
So I think that you really do need to lean on that collective.
There's no way that we can all be, have our finger on the pulse of every trend.
There's no way that we can, you know, think that it's impossible to think that, you know, we are gonna have all the answers coming from one brain in the room.
So I just think that, you know, leaving that space and that time as well as, you know, you may have one on ones with team members that might feel a little more introverted or a little more hesitant to share on calls, but retaining some of those nuggets from prior conversations that may have been in a more one on one setting with them and kind of teeing that up for them in a conversation so that, that can start the ideation or just kind of the brainstorm flow.
I feel like it's been one way to get to a more creative output from the overall group.
So I would say that's one way that I've tried to do that and then also just maintaining relationships with people that I've met throughout my career, whether that be at other organizations or people that I've come across, you know, on a production shoot and, and understanding that that could be a, that could be a connection that comes to fruition later may provide benefit, you know, to a possible campaign in the future.
Like how do I keep those lines of communication open and ensure that also I'm available when somebody taps me, you know, it's a two way street.
So to me, I feel like that really does, you know, provide an ingredient for a future opportunity that I may not immediately know that exists at the moment, but I feel confident that I could tap into that for something in the future.
(AnnaRose Rubright 14:25):
This is the last one for you, Arden.
(Arden Shirley 14:26):
A how do you shape possibility in your work and for your team, I think that's a great question.
And, you know, I've thought about this, I think the biggest thing is that bringing ideas and sharing ideas with each other is really how we get campaigns going, how we learn new things, whether it's just, you know, you saw a launch of a company that's really interesting or, you know, you had an idea yourself.
I think sharing those broadly, but then also being willing to hear other people's ideas and other things that they find interesting, interesting.
I think, you know, the wider your landscape the better.
So again, having those authentic conversations and relationships with your coworkers is really important.
And then being a good listener, I think, you know, that's something that especially again, today is everyone's moving a million miles an hour.
So make sure you're taking that time to really listen and be present, whether it's in meetings or one on ones or whatever it may be.
I think that's a big part of, you know, growing and learning as a team.
(AnnaRose Rubright 15:27):
Thank you for joining us today and have a great day.
I hope you all enjoy this women in the advertising edition of Shapers of Possibilities podcast.
Thank you for joining us and see you next time.
Well, that wraps up this episode of Shapers of Possibility at Taylor podcast to learn more about what we do at Taylor.
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