International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a strong call-to-action to keep moving forward towards gender parity. The 2018 campaign theme focuses on #PressforProgress to motivate and unite communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.
At Epsilon, Conversant and CJ Affiliate we wanted to hear from our fiercest female leaders to learn how the #PressforProgress campaign is driving action on a global scale. Here’s what a few of them had to say:
I am already proud that our company helps our associates develop careers they are proud of but I will #PressforProgress by challenging my team and hiring managers to look for alternative ways to be more inclusive in the hiring and promotion process. We need to push ourselves to create more diverse candidate pools and pipelines. We need to actively encourage our female associates to pursue stretch roles or ask for promotions. I am committed to fostering an environment where women feel empowered to be more than they ever imagined
- Jane Huston, Chief People Officer, Epsilon/Conversant
To me, #PressforProgress means actively talking about the issues facing women, being part of the conversation and having a voice on behalf of women everywhere (in any and every industry and job or role). But it isn’t just talking about it. It means taking personal responsibility to help create change. That’s why, each year I mentor a woman in a different line of business at Epsilon. I meet with her monthly and work to identify the issues she is facing and how to overcome them.
In addition, I am working with other female leaders in the organization to roll out a Women in Leadership initiative that we piloted last year across Epsilon and Conversant. The pilot reached almost 170 women in 2017 and I expect the program to make a much larger impact across Epsilon and Conversant’s U.S. based offices in 2018.
- Stacey Hawes, President, Data, Epsilon
I’m proud to work for a company that is pressing for and achieving gender parity. But the #PressforProgress doesn’t stop there. I challenge myself and our team to work on closing the confidence gap. It is time to stop doubting ourselves and push each other to pursue the opportunities we are interested in. We have demonstrated that we are competent. Let’s coach each other and challenge ourselves to take risks and push for opportunities.
- Lisa Henderson, Chief Client Officer, Technology, Epsilon
To me, #PressforProgress is about making sure we include diverse voices and perspectives in important conversations, and are thoughtful about the words we use every day. Words do matter and can have an impact, for better or worse. In my work life, I make an effort to highlight the talent and accomplishments of other women, even when they’re not in the room. I think it’s important to shine a light on those who have contributed in impactful ways. I also encourage my colleagues and friends to make their voices heard. I think this is really important for women who are starting out in their careers.
- Clara Holm, Vice President, Support Operations & Compliance, CJ Affiliate
To me, #PressforProgress means that complacency is not an option. It means that taking the path of least resistance, though at times comfortable, will not amount in progress for ourselves or our colleagues and our communities. Whether it’s speaking up or listening – teaching or learning – there’s boundless opportunity across all spectrums to be better for ourselves and the world around us. I believe it is my responsibility to speak up for inclusion, for working mothers and for women so that we can continue to do and be better as individuals, as a company and as members of our global community.
- Jill Frank, Executive Producer and Head of Content Production, Agency, Epsilon
Gender bias once coded in Asian traditions and customs has ebbed with each generation but some lingering effects remain. Household chores are the woman’s precinct even if she contributes equally to the family income. When a child is sick, it’s typically the mother who takes time off from work for doctor visits. Pressing for progress here means encouraging young girls and women to dare to dream big, pursue a good education and a satisfying career so she can have the options that economic freedom brings.
At Epsilon, my goal is to develop all employees regardless of gender and in that same process, inspire the women to aspire through forging a positive image of women in leadership roles. Also, I don’t let them step off the ladder unless it’s what they really want! Outside of work, I would like to revive an informal “women in leadership” group I started last year. It’s on the to-do list!
- Janet Low, Vice President Client Services, Asia Pacific, Epsilon
There is strong momentum all over the world to achieve gender parity. And because of the attention and impetus behind the initiative of diversity and inclusion, there is no better time to Press for Progress. Press for Progress to me is about firing on all cylinders to capitalize and build upon what has been achieved so far (no matter how big or small) through the strong global movement that is taking shape and form to address aspects that negatively impact gender diversity and inclusion.
At Epsilon Bangalore, one of our earliest goals was around achieving gender equality which is why we launched a 50|50 initiative. We intended to make meaningful progress to achieve gender diversity and ensure that our efforts lead to positive outcomes at the workplace and outside.
The first program we rolled out was a special referral program in partnership with Smile Foundation. We committed to sponsor a young girl’s education for 5 years for every successful female candidate referred by one of our employees. Putting a woman employee on our floor helped put a child on her feet! We currently support 71 girl children through this initiative.
We were also platinum sponsors for a program to usher women who had taken a break back into their careers. We rolled out an internship program “She Rises” after identifying 10 women who had taken a long career break and wanted to reignite their careers.
We are looking to consciously weave our commitment to gender equality in all we do – our practices, our community initiatives, our development programs. Our belief is that if we do not consciously include, we unconsciously exclude and so we continue to champion the cause of gender parity and build on our success to-date.
- Seema Padman, Vice President Human Resources, Epsilon Bangalore
#PressforProgress is an inspiration as it is a reflection of our changing times and a representation of what we value dearly. While we are certainly experiencing a time of positive change in closing the gender gap, we must press on and champion women in their daily pursuits for success, prosperity and opportunity every day in small and global ways to fuel this momentum. It is through the everyday wins that the major equality revolution will be accomplished. I am hopeful that in a not-so-distant future we will have equality, not just in the workplace, but in the world. This will help provide some of the means needed to accomplish equality in our personal lives as well as global change. Words are not enough. I am proud to work for an agency that supports this vision.
- Lesa Lee, Account Director, Agency, Epsilon