Changing the Face: Talent specialist Esther Clerehan on diversity in advertising

By AdNews | 12 November 2019

Changing The Face, brought to you by AdNews and Microsoft, will host its event on Wednesday November 13 with talent specialist Esther Clerehan to host the evening.

Changing the Face is an industry-wide initiative that aims to creatively represent diversity in advertising agencies through data.

In October, 62 creative leaders from across the country showed their commitment to change by submitting their headshots, from which an AI algorithm created the current face of Australian advertising.

Those who have supported the initiative have been invited to attend the launch event on November 13, where the face will be unveiled and agencies will be able to participate.

Clerehan, founder of CLEREHAN creative recruitment, will discuss the power of diversity and its importance in the industry’s future on the night.

Ahead of the event, she shares why shares her thoughts on diversity in the industry and why she is supporting Changing the Face.

What is the problem in the industry at the moment – in your view?
I would say the decline in retained AOR, which has curtailed agencies' ability to hire, and that impacts their ability to create and maintain diversity, especially in leadership (i.e. the more expensive) roles. Dependable money removes excuses.
Of course we need better representation across race, age, LGBQT and disability, but a rising tide lifts all boats so let’s not use that as any reason to NOT highlight the historical dearth of women as creative leaders.

Why are you supporting Changing the Face?
Because of two young women I met this week: Ava Frawley & Jasmine Subrata from Ogilvy. Three years ago, when they came up with this idea, they could not identify a single woman who was leading the creative department of a major agency. That number has changed significantly since 2016 but we all know that there’s still a long way to go.

We can’t always see a problem when we are the problem.

But ideas which visualise a problem are hard to ignore. The infamous Leo Burnett all male creative photo in 2015 had a huge impact across the industry. I am really hoping this CTF visualisation shows us that we are better than we were three or four years ago.

But that we still have work to do.

What do you want the long term outcome to be?
Hire more women into leadership roles. And promote them prematurely.

For those who are interested in attending the event, please reach out to

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