At the end of January, a small group of us came together to talk about what was going on in the industry and in our offices and what we could do about it. That long night turned into more meetups and phone calls, and hundreds of emails. Many hundreds of emails. Along the way we have grown from 14 women to 200.
We had a lot of questions. We questioned ourselves and each other, and we shared and heard stories that made us both sad and hopeful. As representatives of both independent and holding company agencies, we saw that we had a lot of different processes and procedures that were designed to help but aren’t enough on their own.
We don’t for a minute believe we found all the answers. We found some. You’ve searched and found them too. The answers are there; they just need to be picked up and realized. Answers need to be acted on.
As women in senior leadership positions in advertising, we’ve agreed that we have the power to change this business we love until it looks more like the industry we want to lead.
As leaders, it’s on us to foster a workplace where people are challenged but still respected.
Sexual harassment is not OK. Never. No exceptions. No amount of talent, missed cues, or being great in the room unchecks the No Sexual Harassment box.
Old power dynamics are a lot of the problem. Power that blurs the lines between what you get to do/have/touch/ask for/expect and what you don’t. It’s time to talk candidly about the responsibility that comes with power.
We look at the lack of diversity in this group of women and see the long-term effect of power structures that encouraged some of us to rise but held others back. We see you. We see your talent. We see the gap. We want share of voice and share of power, for everyone.
As we build on the determination of the women and like-minded men in our industry and the agencies who have stepped forward, we’re stepping forward too.
Time’s up, advertising.
Time’s up on sexual harassment.
Time’s up on lack of representation.
Time’s up on inequity.
Time’s up on silence.
TIME’S UP™ is organizing as a global force for business reform across industry categories. To us, a commitment to reform represents common ground where we can gather in optimism and move forward, together. We’re proud to be the first new industry vertical to formally align with this group and its intentions.
TIME’S UP™/ADVERTISING’s mission is to drive new policies, practices, decisions, and tangible actions that result in more balanced, diverse, and accountable leadership; address workplace discrimination, harassment, and abuse; and create equitable cultures within our agencies.
Bring your voices. We need you.
To kick things off, we’ll hold community gatherings on May 14 in cities around North America. We will also create an online forum for reach beyond major cities. Our goal is real change. We think the best first step in this process is talking face to face with you.
Together, we’ll draw the rest of the road map, which should include:
Commit to creating solutions that work, starting with examining the processes and policies that have failed us.
Identify and mentor people representing diversity across the board and who are ready to become agency leaders.
Adoption of progressive agency training and education that brings this discussion and its solutions out into the open in our agencies.
We’ll post our goals and progress at timesupadvertising.com. Like our TIME’S UP™ sisters, we remain committed to holding our own workplaces accountable and pushing for swift change. Our companies should be safe and equitable spaces for all.
If you run an advertising agency and would like to commit to our actions to create policy change, contact us. If you would like to support and stand with us, please consider a donation to the TIME’S UP™ Legal Defense Fund, which will help defray legal and public relations costs in select cases for those who have experienced sexual harassment or related retaliation in the workplace.
Your advertising sisters