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      International Women’s Day

      By Katie Hart     

      For us, International Women’s Day (IWD) is about celebrating truly inspirational women in our industry.

      We wanted to interview two people who are making a difference and paving the way for meaningful change.

      And, reflecting on our Marketing Debuts journey, no two individuals summed up these values better than Jane Saword, one of our Social Media Apprentices, and her manager, Rosie Hart at Leagas Delaney.

      Jane

      “I was born and raised in Malawi and came to the UK for university in 2017. It was an unforgettable time as I began to discover levels of independence and resilience I didn’t believe I had.

      I co-founded the social enterprise business, HerPackages. HerPackages aims to support the communities I come from by tackling period poverty. We do this by selling African jewellery and accessories and direct a portion of the profits towards our initiative. What drives us is seeing first-hand how the girls and women struggle every month. We want to change this.”

      What inspired you to start a career in marketing?

      “With HerPackages, I create offline and online marketing strategies to attract the attention of university students and women of the diaspora. That inspired me to pursue digital marketing as a career. Already, it’s been amazing. I’m learning so much every day. Working remotely is a big challenge, but everyone at Leagas Delaney has made it easier to overcome.”

      Who inspires you most?

      “It’s hard to say because different people, including my family, colleagues and friends, have influenced different aspects of my life. But a special mention goes to my best friend and HerPackages co-founder, Tanya Nyadzayo, who works at Earnest Labs.”

      What recent campaign has inspired you?

      “My colleague, Cara Van Rhyn, showed me a co-branded campaign by Nike x About You. It recognises the different phases of a menstrual cycle and provides a workout routine that supports each one. It’s an incredible initiative because it acknowledges something so common, yet so rarely spoken about, in women’s health.”

      What’s it like to be mentored by Rosie?

      “As someone new to the industry, I can’t explain how grateful I am to have Rosie as my mentor. Her attention to detail is amazing, as is her natural ability to give constructive feedback. Rosie has allowed me to think forward and push myself to do my best. I love how diligent and passionate Rosie is – she’s truly motivational.”

      What’s your advice to other females in the industry?

      “If you ever feel intimidated, don’t let it get to your head. One great thing about the creative industry is that different perspectives are good things, so don’t be afraid to speak up!”

      What do you think is worth celebrating this year for IWD?

      “This year I think it’s vital to recognise the monumental challenges women have had to overcome amid the global pandemic. It’s notable that during the pandemic women were 6% more effective leaders than men (Zenger J & Folkman J, 2020).

      “Another change is that society is starting to recognise women’s ability to stay composed during a crisis.”

      What still needs to happen?

      “I’d like to see further evolution around the association between authority and gender. Because much of this stems from societal norms, women need to encourage each other to break down stereotypes.”

       

      Rosie

      Rosie has ‘danced’ all over the place in her career. From PR to digital to big TV productions. From APAC to UK to global. Name a type of campaign or client and she’s probably done it.

      What inspired you to get into marketing? Did you always want to be a leader?

      “I studied civil engineering, then decided it wasn’t for me. I wanted to be in the creative industries, so I went back to university to study communication. I’ve never looked back. I love how every day is different.

      “Leadership? Let’s just say throughout my childhood I was always called bossy – and we know what they say about men with that ‘quality’. ‘They show great leadership.’ So, you could say I’ve been a leader since childhood. I just needed someone to show me it was a positive. “

      Who were your role models? 

      “I’ve had many fabulous, empathetic bosses. People who took time to work with me on a personal level which I think is so important. As they say at school – we’re all learning the same curriculum but we each need different levels of attention.”

      We’ve come a long way in the past few years. What next?

      “I agree we’ve come a long way, but we must challenge the status quo. It was only a month ago that Women in Advertising and Communication Leadership had to campaign to reinstate the Gender Pay Gap reporting. I’ve never stopped championing women throughout my career – mentoring them, hiring them and making their voices heard in our industry.”

      What impact has the pandemic had on driving change?

      “This McKinsey study shows that Covid-19 related job losses among women are 1.8 times higher than among men. We need to help women get back into the workplace or we’ll fall behind on the path to leadership.”

      How important is it to support, mentor and share your advice from a senior perspective? 

      “One of my biggest joys at work is when someone I mentor or manage has an ‘I love what I do’ moment. It happens when you’re happy, inspired and empowered, so if I can cultivate that environment for someone else, that’s success to me.”

      As a role model to Jane, what traits do you look to demonstrate? 

      “Communication. Having to mentor Jane remotely means I need to overcommunicate so she knows not only what we expected of her but also, what a great job she’s doing.”

      If you could give Jane – or anyone just starting out – one piece of advice, what would it be? 

      “I’ve told Jane this, but I’ll say it again: ‘Be kind to yourself’. In uncertain times, like starting a new job or facing a global pandemic, we need to be a little more patient with ourselves and our reactions to what’s happening around us. Stop criticising yourself and use that energy to show everyone what you’re made of.”

      Does Jane inspire you? 

      “Most definitely. Not only has Jane started a great business, but after just one month at Leagas Delaney she’s already telling me what we should be doing on our social channels. As Steve Jobs said, ‘It does not make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do. We hire smart people to tell us what to do.’”