Advice to Women in the Creative Industry

“I remember thinking ‘Wow, I wish I heard some of these insights when I was first getting started in this business,’” said Shannon Moorman, GSD&M’s VP of talent acquisition.

I recently returned from the 3% Conference, which focused on championing creative female talent and leadership in the advertising industry. Inspired and energized by the message shared at the conference, I took a moment to reflect on our ever-changing advertising industry by focusing on a set of guidelines to help young—or any—women in this business thrive.

Appoint your own “board of directors.” You should include a broad swath of advisors—men and women, young and old—with various backgrounds to help guide you in your career and personal life.

Speak up and use your voice. It was said that many women won’t speak up in meetings for fear of not sounding smart or insightful enough. The advice from the panelists: speak up. Even if you don’t think it’s important, contribute your voice and your POV. Your contribution is as important as anyone else’s in the room and is the only way to reach a level of comfort in sharing your own thoughts without continuing to run them through the “fear filter.”

Own your brand. We are in the business of building brands, and you are your brand. The more effectively you can establish and own your personal/professional brand, the easier it will be to compete in this male-dominated industry. Decide what you want your brand to be and be strategic in how you work to build it.

Presentation is key. Learn how to present your thoughts and ideas in an organized manner. It will not only evoke confidence from those who work around you, but it increases your degree of influence. Often women avoid presenting due to the critical voice within. Take an improv class, sign up for Toastmasters—do something that will help you increase your confidence in communicating and presenting.

Purposefully seek out mentors. Look to women who inspire you and ask them for advice on how they arrived at where they are. This can create a pathway for you to reach your goals and offer helpful, experienced guidance on how to surpass career hurdles.

As women, we are a team and should stand as a united front. Clear on our purpose, women should mentor and champion other women in the business, create a culture of advocacy and advise all their female peers to be thoughtful and intentional about the direction of their career.

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