Gender Equality in the Workforce with Olivia Douglas, Chief Client Officer, PHD Media

From Member Olivia Douglas, Chief Client Officer, PHD Media

Due to the economic downfall, we are facing the world’s first-ever “She-session” – the first time in history a recession is impacting women’s jobs more than men’s. That said, what is your advice to the industry to better support women today?

The industry needs to focus less on celebrating women for a day or month, and more about making changes that better support them on a day-to-day basis. That means giving them a safe space to talk frankly about what they are up against, and what they need from an employer to be successful—and then delivering on it. No trick questions, no false promises.

Do you have any internal initiatives or other ways in which your company champions women in the industry?

Yes, Omnicom has a wonderful program called OmniWomen that offers access to mentorship programs, training, events, and 1:1 advice.  It goes beyond one-off and one-way events to serve as a nexus for the women of Omnicom to find and connect with each other on a daily basis. It seems like a small thing, but the New York chapter, for example, set up Microsoft Teams channels that have turned into very active groups offering support and advice on everything from leadership and parenting to mental health and wellness. Omnicom Media Group also has a Working Parents Network that not only connects parents (men and women) to one another but also provides working parents with a larger and more unified voice within the broader organization. For Women’s History Month at PHD Media, we are celebrating the women across our agency. Our PHD Media Culture Club is featuring some of these amazing women through our weekly “Purple People Spotlights”, giving us a chance to get to know them, their thoughts & inspirations.  At the end of the month, we will also be hosting a PHD Media Women Leaders Roundtable to learn more about our leaders’ journeys, challenges in the industry, and advice for the future.

Can you share an example that highlights how the advertising industry is making progress around gender equality in the workforce?

Accountability and genuine curiosity are both getting better. We’re seeing people not only reporting on how they’re doing but committing to improve those numbers – and most importantly, eradicating legacy culture that enabled inequity in the first place.  PHD Media is a great example of the progress we as an industry are making in advancing gender equality at the highest levels: three out of the eight people on the U.S. executive leadership team are women, including the CEO, President of Integrated Investment, and our Chief Analytics Officer. And PHD Media’s global CEO is a woman as well.

Why is it so important to hire, promote and retain female leadership within our industry?

Overall, the numbers speak for themselves. Companies with strong female representation and leadership do better. Societies with strong female roles and role models do better. And then as marketers, remember that women are half of the population. If you think you can effectively reach half of the population without having those same voices heard, valued, and respected in your organization, you may want to consider a career change.