As part of International Women's Day 2021, AdNews is celebrating women in the industry. Here, OMD CEO Aimee Buchanan reveals an important, group-wide mission to drive change.
My working year in 2020 kicked off in February, when I returned to work from parental leave.
I can clearly remember rushing around that first morning, internally grappling with how I was going to manage work, a four-month-old and a four-year-old. I was anxious about how I would cope with the juggle of work and two kids.
Fast forward four weeks and that was probably the last thing on my mind.
I was focused, day and night on how we would navigate Covid-19 as a business, assist our clients through something we had no idea on how it would play out and critically keep the 600+ OMDers across the country safe and with jobs.
I love what I do, and I have always found it hard to separate work and my home life.
Both kind of co-exist and usually in a messy sort of way – kids joining calls, leftover breakfast on my work clothes before a big meeting, me trying to solve a big client issue while I am with the kids.
For the first time ever, the co-existing was different.
I worried. I worried about people, I worried I was making the right calls, I worried about how we were communicating.
In the middle of this, a few things happened. We had incredible campaigns and work that our teams were crafting. I found myself desperate to get involved, to get closer to the craft. It was a bit of light in the long days.
The second thing that happened was the Black Lives Matter movement.
It made me pause, it made me look at our industry and our business and want to do something that shaped our business in a positive way in the diversity and inclusion space.
With this, we kicked off one of the most interesting projects I have ever worked on, focused on how improve our diversity within the business and ensure our culture was inclusive.
What followed was a four-year plan for the entire Omnicom Media Group, looking at how we wanted the business to be in the future and what we needed to do to deliver this.
With the MFA, we also worked with media-i to get questions included within their industry survey to create a benchmark for where our diversity is now, so we are better able to measure changeover time.
As an industry we have come a long way.
When I started, my perception was I could not have a career in media and a family.
Now, I know I can do both (even on the days it feels hard) and the recent MFA census shows we have 44% of women in management roles.
Look more broadly and there is still a lot of work to be done. Our industry is still lagging in terms of diversity.
We have a choice to make on whether we want it to still be this way in three, five or 10 years’ time.
We can choose to accept this or choose to challenge this together.
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