from the Boards “Questioning the Status Quo” panel.
Nancy Vonk; Co-Chief Creative Officer – Ogilvy Toronto
Ethel Rubinstein; Owner, President, COO – Bluerock NY
Jules Daly; President – RSA USA
Nancy Axthelm; EVP, Director of Broadcast Production – Grey NY
Janet Kestin; Co-Chief Creative Officer – Ogilvy Toronto
ON WHY HAVE A PANEL …
Nancy Vonk responded that “a lot of successful senior women don’t reflect on [the issue of women in advertising] because they’re doing fine.”
ON THE ISSUE OF HIRING …
While Janet Kestin stuck her neck out to firmly state “I think fewer [women] are getting hired in the first place, and I don’t think it has to do with the portfolios. It’s a case of like hiring like. Odds are stacked against [women] because there are fewer women doing the hiring.”
Nancy Axthelm offered that there’s a possibility “people are compartmentalized and then foster and create like-minded people.” Perhaps this is not an issue of who’s to blame, but how to change the silo-ing.
Ethel Rubinstein added that “as far as agencies go, I think until they realize they aren’t getting the best talent – if & when it becomes in their self-interest – then they’ll start taking notice.”
ON THE BOYS’ CLUB …
Ethel Rubinstein: “They’ve been doing the Boy’s Club much longer, and frankly, much better than we’ve been doing the Girl’s Club. I think we would do well to take a page from their book and help one another.”
This point came up again by a member of the audience later in the conversation. Do women stand in the way of one another? While no one took a clear stand on it, the general response tended to be yes, we do allow ourselves to revert back to 4th grade cattiness often enough to push one another down, as opposed to rallying for the cause.
ON HAVIN’ THE BABIES …
Janet Kestin: “The system was made by men, for men. There is very little accommodation made for women, and it’s hard to get back in. Once you’re out, people forget about you. And the idea that the time spent at home with a child dries up your brain? Well, maybe it’s being mega-stimulated instead. Who knows?”
PARTING WISDOM …
In Jules Daly’s words: “Don’t try to be one of the boys, strap on heels and work the room.”