11th March 2016

Everyday female leaders

I was interested to read yesterday’s PR Week article on CIPR’s soon-to-be released State of the Profession 2016  report and it is encouraging that there has been an increase in the rise of women in senior positions in the PR industry, particularly when it is a profession that women are choosing to enter into.

I thought it was interesting what Sarah Pinch, former president of the CIPR and its lead on gender said in the article: “We know that there are not enough women in senior roles in the UK PR/comms industry and we also know there are increasing numbers of women setting up their own businesses and running those by their own rules. My concern is that we are in danger of having a lot of women in more junior and middle roles and not enough women taking the leadership positions.” I know that the CIPR are looking to there not being enough women in the ‘big’ roles in agencies or in-house; however the PR industry is made up of a whole range of different types of agencies from independent consultants through to small and mid-size, large, and according to the research 48% of them are being led by female MDs/founders.  Successful leadership is lived and breathed everyday across all of these organisations.

The research cited the lack of flexible working as reason for women leaving employers; it may well be the case that they move away from the 9-5 but I know from personal experience and from that of my female peers that the PR industry does allow more flexibility than other professions when reaching that point -as Fenella Grey, PorterNovelli, said it doesn’t have to be a ‘barrier to seniority’.  Almost seven years ago, I was a mother of two-year old twin boys when I set up CubanEight – it was so that I could be in control of my time and career, but I also want to lead my own agency, having held director-level positions in other agencies.  And seven years on, I would hope that the women in my team can see what is possible in terms of leadership on a day-to-day basis from myself and the senior (female) management team.

Whether large or small, led by women or men, we need to continue to show that PR is an industry that presents opportunity and will encourage women that whatever route they choose to build their careers there will be fair and equal opportunity to lead.  Throughout my career I have been inspired by female bosses, my peers and clients; it is down to us as an industry to ensure that we are giving the women who are building their careers now, everyday female leaders they can aspire to be.