By Ayeshia Toy
Sunday marks International Women’s Day, a day intended to not only celebrate women’s achievements but that also serves as an annual call for greater equality for women across society and within the business realm. These are lofty goals to be sure, but necessary ones to ensure an ongoing focus on the inclusion and retention of women in the business world. And not just because “it’s the right thing to do,” but because the inclusion of women is essential to the growth of a company’s bottom line and for a better economic climate for all businesses and nations. I genuinely believe that continuing to elevate the importance of a female presence on all rungs of the corporate ladder should be at the top of any discussion about talent both in human resources and at the executive level.
As a human resources manager here at GSD&M, I have been grateful to witness our own award-winning efforts of keeping an eye on the prize of diversity overall, including being the agency of record for ADCOLOR, a 501(c) (6) organization whose mission is to celebrate and champion diversity in the advertising, marketing, media, PR and entertainment industries. But specifically, I am heartened by our acknowledgement of the gender gaps still evident in modern advertising long after the era of Mad Men. I’m happy that we were the first agency in Austin to host a 3% event onsite in addition to sending employees to the formal conferences, and that we take pride in sending employees to the local Bertha Sadler Means Young Women’s Leadership Academy to educate future female workers about the potential careers in advertising and marketing. We also nurture a monthly women’s group to support employees across departments and functions with monthly speakers and content focused on the myriad issues uniquely faced by female professionals.
Ultimately, whatever your industry or job title, I hope that International Women’s Day can be a time to launch or renew interest in the critical importance of gender diversity for the sake of not just your own organization’s future, but for our collective future. Man or woman, the pay-offs of a balanced workforce are equal.