Clems Sydney MD Perrett to chair Agency Circle as VCCP's O'Neill exits 

Rosie Baker
By Rosie Baker | 7 March 2017
Emily Perrett

Clemenger BBDO Sydney Managing director Emily Perrett is to officially take over as chair of The Agency Circle, the industry-wide diversity initiative which launched last year. 

Perrett, who was promoted to Clems Sydney MD last year and was pivotal to the set up and launch of the initiative, takes over from Michele O'Neill, strategy director at VCCP, who is leaving the agency to return to Europe later this year. 

It’s not yet clear who will fill the strategy roll at VCCP. Former Clemenger Sydney MD Andrew Holt took over as CEO of the agency at the end of 2016. 

O’Neill and Perrett worked closely with representatives from a host of other agencies to set up what has become a focal point for Australian agencies wanting to improve diversity within their ranks – particularly when it comes to gender. 

The Agency Circle launched with fifteen member agencies and is open to all agencies, creative, media, digital or otherwise. 

It aims to provide a peer network to support agencies in their efforts to address issues of gender and diversity as well as a framework to work within and benchmarking tool to measure progress. 

One of the first steps in joining the Circle was to carry out an internal benchmarking survey which agencies to report on items such as salaries, pay gap, and representation of women in senior roles. The aim is to then be able to measure progress against other Australian agencies as well as peers in the UK and US. 

The results of the survey have now been gathered and each agency is using the results to set their own targets and areas of focus. 

A second survey is planned for November 2017. 

O’Neill says: “Since inception, the intention has been to keep each other strong, fair and transparent and to progress as an industry. We want to learn from each other and share best practice. The survey was an honest means for each agency to understand where they sit within the broader industry but more importantly it has helped them very practically, identify the areas and challenges they need to address to improve diversity." 

"I always wanted the role of Chair to be something we shared amongst the membership. Each member brings different perspectives and new energy. This first year has been absolutely exhilarating and I’m very proud to have been a part of starting something that will make this industry better. Emily is a tour de force and will take this to the next level. I look forward to hearing about the noise Australia will make. We have a vibrant industry. We just need to punch above our weight on Diversity." 

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