By Egotist / /
Last week we posted on ThatsWhat3Said.com – a site inspired by the 3% Conference, dedicated to promoting women in senior creative positions in advertising. The site is a great collection of advice from women currently in the ad game directed at women who are new to it. We talked with the creator of the site, Anne Elisco-Lemme, CD at Duncan/Channon, to learn more.
The advertising world isn’t exactly known for shepherding its young into this business. How did you come up with the idea for ThatsWhat3Said and why did you think it was important to do?
The idea for the site was definitely driven by the 3% Conference and all the work that Kat Gordon is doing. One of the first things I realized when I attended the inaugural conference 3 years ago is that young women are hungry to know how to stay in this business. Women leave for all kinds of reasons — whether we quickly realize that it’s a boys’ club or we hear over and over that you can’t have a family and stay in advertising — but there are women who have found a way and we are so willing to help. So, the site is like a virtual mentorship. It makes me incredibly proud to be a female in this business. We are taking care of each other — the site proves it.
What’s been the response so far from both contributors and readers?
Response has been overwhelmingly positive. I think it’s really interesting that some advice is inspirational and some of it is very nuts and bolts, “stop-doing-that-and-start-doing-this” kind of a thing. I love when I see advice shared out on twitter, too. We’ve had submissions as far away as Australia so far, which is really cool for a homegrown thing.
The 3% Conference just released a study showing that the percentage of women creative directors is increasing. Do you feel like the tide is changing?
Sure. No doubt. 11% is a big increase in a matter of a few years. And I think it’s just gonna start snowballing from here. The more of us that connect, the bigger this thing gets. And now, women are starting to question an agency that does’t have real female leadership in the creative department. I know I would.
Your shop, Duncan/Channon has obviously supported the site. As an agency started by two men, what have they done to bridge the gender gap and build a culture that’s inclusive to women?
At Duncan/Channon, it’s been easy. When I arrived on the scene years ago — full of opinions and frankly, fairly bossy — I was met with nothing but openness. I think it was every day that I walked into either Duncan or Parker’s office with something I wanted us to change or try. And to their credit, they were always willing. Early in my career, I worked with some incredibly talented women so I was always pushing D/C, “More women. We need more women.” I would say that now half of our creative department is easily women. And they are DAMN good.
Are there any plans to expand ThatsWhat3Said? Is there more you want to do?
I think our goal with the site is to keep it going and keep getting rich content. We would love to implement some search functionality into it as well, as it grows. The site was conceived and live in a matter of weeks, so there is lots still to do. But, at its heart, I just want it to be a place where someone can go when they start to doubt themselves or feel a little beat down and leave feeling like they can kick ass and take names.
What’s the best advice you ever received about being a woman in advertising?
I have received so much great advice over the years, but the thing that’s really done it for me is what Isaw. It’s that saying, you can’t be what you don’t see. (Or something like that.) My first mentor was one of the most talented writers I have ever known, Cathy Bowen. She was a woman. She ruled our creative department. So, it never occurred to me that I wouldn’t be able to do this job. Ever. It was like, “Yeah. I’m gonna do THAT.”