IWD2019: Diversity Matters in Advertising

To get everyone ready for International Women’s Day, Merkle hosted their fifth annual IWD Celebration.  Tiffany Phan, Mogul Founder and CEO, keynoted the event, followed by a panel with participants from Bloomingdales, Merkle and our CEO, Deb Boyda.

For a bit of background, “Mogul is a global platform that enables women worldwide to reach their goals and realize their full potential.”  The platform reaches across 196 countries and 34,470 cities.

Tiffany shared her journey, from Paris to Plano, TX, to Yale and Harvard, to becoming one of Forbes’ 30 under 30 honorees.  She gave advice on how we could learn from her journey to further our careers and truly be unafraid to go after what we want.  From a young age, Tiffany did not believe herself to be confident or brave, however, she was dead set on living her life without regret.  It was this unwillingness to have regrets that motivated and pushed her to become the success she is.

Some quick tips we took away from the talk:

Write down three things before going into a meeting and make a point of saying them all before that meeting ends.

  • Many people are shy or really just a bit apprehensive to raise their hand in a meeting.  This can make it difficult to have your voice heard. Tiffany recommended writing down  three points and making it a real goal to get through all three.  While she wasn’t always able to at first, this trick has worked for her and has helped raise her confidence in meetings to this day.

Don’t be afraid to volunteer for the mundane tasks.

  • It can be hard to jump in for the mundane task that may seem boring, or even a bit like a setback in the moment.  That said, it is your willingness to jump in on anything and get involved that can set you apart in the end.

Next up, Deb Boyda took the stage with the rest of the panelists to discuss passion and purpose.  A number of questions were posed to the panelists about their journey and their thoughts on being a woman in the industry.  Deb shared a number of insights throughout the discussion, but here are a few of the highlights:

The journey evolves. What used to be most attractive to Deb was a clean sheet of paper and no rules on how she should go about solving a problem. It was the solve she was after.  But, as her career has evolved, what she cares most about now is working with and inspiring people to do their very best work. “It’s no longer about the thing — fixing businesses and solving problems — it’s about getting through to people and inspiring them to be their very best selves.”

Tried and true.  Sometimes it is the old tools that get the job done.  “If you are fortunate enough to be in the room with other women and a woman says something that goes ignored or gets passed over, please amplify what she said and suddenly it will give you a voice and someone else a voice as well,” Deb shared.  Though a solution that’s been around for a while, Deb noted that we don’t use this solution enough — and she’s right. Encourage others to do this and, more importantly, encourage the men around you to do the same.

Be blunt.  Early in her career, Deb was lucky to have two female mentors – one of whom still mentors her today.  However, it was just not that she had two female mentors that helped her career – it was the gift they gave her.  And that gift, was bluntness. They were blunt and spoke directly, both when she did something beautifully and when she flopped.  From a young age, boys are socialized this way and are used to doing this for each other. Women don’t do this for each other as often as they should and it’s essential that we start.  It’s not that this needs to be done without kindness, but without sharing direct feedback, it’s very difficult to learn and get better.

The event was quite the success and left everyone feeling inspired and ready for IWD.  Thanks to Merkle and Carat for hosting!