A proven approach to equalityLast week, Isobar Global CEO Jean Lin and Asia-Pacific CEO Jane Lin-Baden took to the stage at Campaign’s inaugural gender-diversity conference, Campaign360, to discuss a proven approach to equality.
In Jean and Jane’s session, ‘A proven approach to equality’, Jean expressed the responsibility Isobar, and the wider industry, has to help solve the gender divide; “It is important for us as an agency to believe that we have to help, and we do have the responsibility to resolve the largest divide in the world right now.”
Jean and Jane’s session argued that in order to achieve gender equality we need to establish an open and happy working culture. “[This] will not happen unless it is in the company's business model and mission," said Jean Lin. In Isobar's case, our mission is expressed as transforming people's lives with the creative use of digital, and this flows through to workplace policies, the work environment, and inclusivity initiatives.
To avoid losing female leaders on the way to the top, Jean advised that leaders need to think broadly. "We have to have not just policies and checklists, but also a culture that makes people feel safe to voice out what their personal goal is, while also meeting the company's goals." Leaders must place a priority on finding creative solutions that help people achieve what they want in both spheres.
Jane reinforced the idea that a diverse workforce is necessary to drive innovation for clients, and an operational and systematic way of creating that environment in which we tolerate disagreement, and we thrive on it, is integral to business success. But Jean warned that businesses and leaders need to take care not to cast equality as a 'revolution', because revolutions involve bloodshed, but rather, equality must be viewed as a goal that everyone is working toward—and one that benefits everyone.
Interrogating our unconscious bias, and our working practices is fundamental to making progress happen. Over the last four years, Isobar's internal research (our Digital Maturity Index) has found a high correlation between its high-performing offices and the offices that are structured in a way that best respects autonomy and diversity. We have numerous examples of where our teams are proactively pushing for equality, including Isobar Canada’s programme that ensures the company is sending the right "cultural signals" in its hiring activities, and a Women's Council in India that not only nurtures leaders and supports flexible working arrangements, but also provides a system for addressing harassment.
The session was wrapped up with Jean calling for leaders to “find the confidence to embrace “cultures of many” and reiterated Isobar’s commitment to making progress in this area. As a business priority for both Isobar and holding company Dentsu Aegis Network, Jane Lin-Baden also contributed to Dentsu Aegis Network’s International Women’s Day campaign last month, #ConquerTheDivide, by stating in a blog post, Diversity is about respect, not empathy. Kai Exos, Isobar Canada CCO and Co-Founder, also contributed to this campaign with his piece, Your eye too big and other things my Mom was right about.
Read more voices from the Isobar Global Network on our blog.
Campaign360 is a one-day, invitation-only event that gathers key decision makers of today's leading brands and agencies who believe in the contributions of women to the industry, and the importance of equal opportunity. Working in close collaboration with a content advisory board, Campaign360 aims to establish actionable strategies business leaders can implement to help build a stronger and more diverse industry workforce.