Mpls MadWomen “The Man Event”

“The Man Event” has been discussed since the early days of Mpls MadWomen. The reality of the event exceeded expectations and made a powerful imprint on the women and men gathered at Mia to scratch the surface of this chunky topic. A slew of questions were created, which Jessica Nordell expertly curated. Her moderating style created a warm and inviting environment in which to tackle uncomfortable and awkward topics around today’s state of gender within agencies.

Panelists included:

Ed Huerta-Margotta, Director of Talent Acquisition, Carmichael Lynch

Joe Cecere, President & Chief Creative Officer, Little + Co

Chris Lawrence, Director of Account Management, Fallon

Maxwell Twum, Assistant Account Executive, BBDO

We’re featuring the Top 3 Topics, with summarized quotes:

Topic #1 – Gender Diversity Still a Problem?

The problem I have is that it’s still a problem. It’s 2016. I’ve been in the business since the 1980s when the behaviors were horrid. To see even a glimmer of that behavior still around (and I do) really sucks. – Ed Huerta-Margotta

In development of this event, I’ve been part of a conversation that’s opened my eyes that while I’m in an environment that makes me feel like there’s not a problem (working for a woman), gender diversity still is a problem. – Joe Cecere

I’ve always had bad-ass women in my life and I have bad-ass women I work with at BBDO. Like Joe, I didn’t necessarily recognize a problem. Having these conversations have made me realize there’s more work to be done. – Maxwell Twum

The work we do informs culture. Diversity is not just about the composition of our staff, it influences the work we do. – Chris Lawrence

Topic #2 – Talent Recruitment & Retention

Statements like “we just want the best talent” or “that person isn’t a cultural fit” are weak and stem from unconscious bias that we all have. Once you acknowledge that you have unconscious bias, you can be aware of how it informs your assessments. Besides, “culture fit” isn’t what you should be after – you should want people who enhance, grow and evolve your culture… otherwise you might not be in business in the future. – Ed Huerta-Margotta

We’re undoing decades-long behavior of bias. The pool is shallow for talent in general, and in particular female leadership talent. Hopefully we’ll start seeing a catch-up. – Chris Lawrence

I disagree that the talent pool is shallow. Female talent is out there, we need to create environments that are welcoming and appeal to them. No porn mags in the bathrooms. – Ed Huerta-Margotta

No magazines in the bathrooms period. That’s just gross…. At Little + Co we have female leadership, but no female creative directors and honestly I don’t know why, but it’s a problem. I admit I’ve been sitting back and waiting for one to appear and that’s a problem, too. – Joe Cecere

We’re in a creative industry, let’s get creative to retain and grow the rock stars we want to keep. Identify them and creatively adapt to meet their needs, in addition to business needs. Don’t give them a reason to leave. – Ed Huerta-Margotta

We need to be aware of creating atmospheres that allow people to do good work and do right by their families and personal lives. – Joe Cecere

Becoming a parent is a total reset of your life. As a community we need to applaud that transition. At Fallon we recognized that we were expecting an instant “on” from parents when they returned from maternity/paternity leaves. We’ve created an 8-week phased return plan to create a smoother transition. – Chris Lawrence

Topic #3 – What Can An Ally Do?

Start by asking your colleagues what issues they’re facing and let them know you’re an ally and source of support. – Maxwell Twum

There are people who do the right thing and then there are people who don’t care. For the latter, you make a business case for why there needs to be a change. – Ed Huerta-Margotta

Spread the word outside your walls. Talk to other leaders, ask them what they’re doing and share what you’re doing to make it better.  – Joe Cecere

Keep an eye on the Mpls MadWomen website for their conversation recap and an edited video recap to come. Continue the conversation on individual, group and agency/company-wide levels. Share your stories and experiences with others, in order to further understanding and progress in creating more inclusive and supportive environments for all.