Last week H+K Strategies London held its first EquALL Woman event to celebrate and work specifically with H+K women in junior leadership roles. It’s a commitment we made in our gender pay gap report and is part of a deeper focus across WPP.
It was a powerful two days. We were honoured to have Karen Blackett OBE, WPP UK Country Manager & Chairwoman MediaCom UK & Ireland personally attend. In a vibrant 45 minutes, Karen shared her journey to becoming a woman leader in the creative industries, her joy in being a black woman leader, and why diversity makes brilliant teams and brilliant campaigns, (Note to readers: do see Karen’s guest edited Campaign this week, which talks all about these opportunities.)
Our agenda was rich and varied. We looked at how Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) can help each leader better understand their unique style preferences and applied this to discussions on management approaches and team diversity. We studied resilience archetypes, the challenges of being an obliging “people pleaser” to the “questioner” and “upholder”. How to develop specific strategies to build energy when it may be low and recognise how that may manifest as behaviour in the workplace. We held a workshop on imposter syndrome and the inner critic, taming that little gremlin that gets us all which data show, affects more women than men.
A big theme was around not just working with each other and strengthening our own leadership approaches but also paying it forward to build confident, equal teams now and for the future. Tanya Joseph, former press secretary to Tony Blair and architect of Sport England’s This Girl Can, spoke about her journey to No 10. As a woman of colour and daughter of political refugees, she is focused on the mission of championing those for whom great chances may be harder to grasp.
This was the perfect introduction to our pilot partnership with the Future Frontiers. Our attendees will be given coaching to support a young person to vision and plan their career ambitions.
Why EquALL Woman
At H+K we talk about writing your own story. Yes, that can come across as a platitude, but we believe it to be elemental to our culture. We talk about being a company that is always in beta – this innovation thread guides our creative evolution.
Astrid and I sat down one evening and talked about female leadership and diversity – the things that matter most to us. We decided to write our own story. We knew what we wanted the ending to be. Inspired, confident woman – unafraid of their authentic selves – who value diversity as the driver of great teams and brilliant campaigns. So an idea was born, and it was nurtured and sponsored by our CEO Simon Whitehead and EquALL lead Jess Walsh.
We are both deeply proud of what happened last week. Importantly EquALL Woman is not just about the woman leaders at H+K. It’s about creating a stronger, creative workplace for everyone. Everyone deserves to hold a high level of confidence, feel proud of their identify and have the tools to help them embrace their inner power in order to become great team and client leaders.
Plans are already afoot to run a male focused initiative (who were integral in reviewing the design). Shorter modules will run on our extraordinary L&D programme, The Hub, as mixed team discussions.
We are also very excited to announce that we will be creating a client offer. With a curriculum that is so deeply connected and resonates to the needs and desires of our people. We have interest already from client partners and from across our One H+K network.
Let us know if you’d like to know more!
Victoria and Astrid
As we turn 50, H+K Strategies in the UK is riding a wave of positive and transforming cultural energy. We are super proud of our employee designed EquALL movement.
We are asking honest and frank questions like “who is missing from our agency today.” It’s creatively vital that we make sure we represent fully the audiences we are here to motivate and engage with our phenomenal client work. We must attract and retain the greatest creative minds. That means ensuring we have the right rituals and processes in place that welcome and appreciate talent whether they are a single mum, gay, black, Asian, from any economic background or part of the world.