Key takeaways from this year's 2018 Hall of Femme event

PRWeek contributor Mykala Healy catches up with members of the 2018 Hall of Femme for their thoughts on the awards and being a woman in PR.

Jennifer Gottlieb
President, W2O Group

What’s your biggest takeaway from today?

It’s very important for me to inspire women all over the industry to accomplish the things they desire and know the world is there for their taking.

How do we get more women in the C-suite in the PR industry?

It’s important to continue to encourage young women to reach for the C-suite or any leadership position they are capable of doing in the communications or marketing industry. This industry is a first-mover in supporting women in terms of leadership and development, and I’d like us to continue to lead the way.

How important is pay parity in career advancement for women?

Pay parity and career advancement are table stakes in any leadership opportunity for women, and PR and marketing is doing better than other industries in this area. But it’s important we continue to push forward and make sure we’re checking ourselves and everyone else as we move toward a more pay-parity society.

Dale Bornstein
CEO, M Booth

What are the most important takeaways from today?

I hope I take away a shared vision for how we can continue to elevate conversation around working together, men and women, to effect change and create unlimited opportunities for those of us currently in the industry, but most importantly for our next generation.

How do we get more women in the C-suite in the PR industry?

More and more women just need to believe and continue to be great at what they do. We need men to continue to support us and make sure we all understand a C-suite comprised of men and women is a good business.

When it’s good business hopefully people will start to open up the doors, but at the heart of it women just have to continue to be real good at what they are.

How important is pay parity in career advancement for women?

I personally hate that we have to talk about pay parity in career advancement for women. If two people are doing a job really well, shouldn’t they be fairly and equally compensated? We need to constantly advocate for equality in pay and make sure the best candidates are always put forward for jobs.

Gina Sheibley
SVP, corporate communications, Salesforce

What’s your biggest takeaway from today?

I want everyone to take away that we need to put an even bigger emphasis on accelerating women’s leadership in the public relations industry and, frankly, every industry.

How do we get more women in the C-suite in the PR industry?

Sponsorship and mentorship is a great way and women need to realize there isn’t a scarcity; there is room for as many women as we can have at the top and we need to invest in each and lift everyone up.

How important is pay parity in career advancement for women?

Pay parity is essential, both in career advancement and because it’s the right thing to do. When you pay women equally you let them know they’re valued and give them more confidence to raise up in the world.

Jennifer Cohan
President, Edelman New York

What’s your biggest takeaway from today?

The most important thing I want to take away from today is the role women play in helping our own firms as well as our clients and each other.

How do we get more women in the C-suite in the PR industry?

There was a wonderful phrase in one of our early panels about sending the elevator down, which was a reference to senior women making sure they’re being really purposeful in helping bring junior women and women starting their careers up through the ranks. That’s the best way to get women into the C-suite - those of us who are there or close to it are bringing along others.

How important is pay parity in career advancement for women?

Pay parity is crucial. Equal work, equal pay.

Suzy de Francis
Chief public affairs officer, American Red Cross

What’s your biggest takeaway from today?

It's always inspiring to be with incredible communicators who tell wonderful stories, and just to learn how to do our jobs better. The communications landscape is changing so fast we need to talk with our peers and learn from others about how to keep up with it.

How do we get more women in the C-suite in the PR industry?

It’s happening, but not as fast as we would like, but certainly faster than when I was coming up in this industry. And, honestly, I see people today just crushing it. They’re doing a great job, and with encouragement from other women in the workforce I see them in the C-suite.

How important is pay parity in career advancement for women?

Pay parity is very important. We’re doing the same work and we should get paid the same amount of money - it’s pretty obvious. More and more workplaces are doing that, but a lot of pay depends on the work you do and how hard you work at it, so I encourage people to just keep doing their job.

Erin Gentry
U.S. president and global co-lead, client services, Hill+Knowlton Strategies

What’s your biggest takeaway from the day?

It’s really encouraging to see all these women coming together and talking about becoming a tribe and sending the elevator back down. These are things that weren’t talked about when I was young and coming into PR, and I’m so heartened that other people are thinking like that because that’s what we need to be great. We need to help each other rise and that’s my big takeaway from today - it’s really encouraging.

How do we get more women in the C-suite in the PR industry?

Women need to want to be there. And when they do want to be there, their companies need to give them the opportunity to so: they need to have really good maternity leave and leadership programs. We need to compensate them in a way they’re going to stay and that makes sense for their families, so there’s a little bit on both sides.

What is the importance of pay parity in career advancement for women?

It’s incredibly important and it’s just not happening fast enough. Some agencies make commitments in parts of their raise pools that will be dedicated to fixing these problems. I hope to do the same thing at Hill+Knowlton because you just have to set a deadline and stick to it.

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