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The 3 Percent Conference isn’t just a woman’s issue

Although the 3 Percent Conference represents the percentage of women creative directors in advertising, men are also invited to attend from Nov. 3-4 at The InterContinental San Francisco hotel, which is adjacent to Moscone West Convention Center.

ECN 052014_WII_The 3 Percent Conference isn’t just a woman’s issue_logoThe lack of women creative directors in advertising obviously directly affects women, but the conference illustrates this isn’t just a woman’s issue.

Women’s marketing expert and creative director of her own agency, Kat Gordon created an equal-opportunity educational gathering when she launched the 3 Percent Conference in September 2012. Evidently, she spotted what many major advertising agencies missed – complementary perspectives from both genders allows balanced creativity to thrive. Why wouldn’t this be the goal when agencies are trying to snag new, complex accounts or keep existing clients?

Even the best men-run advertising agencies in the world could lose a major account for undervaluing a woman’s perspective. Gordon saw this firsthand when an agency she worked for appointed a pitch team of 16 men and one woman, and consequently, they lost their pitch. This wasn’t a one-time occurrence, and it’s often a major mistake, considering women control 80 percent of consumer spending, according to FastCompany.com.

Letting assumptions about women guide business decisions, such as assuming a woman couldn’t bring value to a pitch related to the Super Bowl, is very risky. Oftentimes, whatever item is being marketed appeals to both genders, and no one likes a poor representation of something their gender likes.

Not all advertising or experiential marketing agencies are conducive to women rising to the top. While Switch: Liberate Your Brand’s Chief Creative Director Annie Castellano was able to have time for work and family, the demanding hours of some agencies could make women think they have to choose between their careers and having families. An educational session at the 3 Percent Conference in 2013 emphasized that “no single factor causes a greater exodus of highly skilled creative women from advertising than motherhood” while highlighting how women could balance it all.

Castellano was mentored by her male CEO – this is also a rarity. Many experts agree that women lose out on mentorships from male supervisors because of how it could be perceived by taking what is often a younger woman under their wing. Overcoming these and other barriers in the male-dominated advertising world are goals of the conference.

The 3 Percent Conference brings together 400 individuals who all have potential to act as agents of changing the statistic. While the agenda of the 2014 conference is still pending, speakers were announced: John Gerzema, Cindy Gallop, Todd Henry, Tara Mohr, Sarah Granger, Rob Schwartz, Jess Weiner and Ann Mack, among others.

The venue for the 3 Percent Conference from Nov. 3-4.
The venue for the 3 Percent Conference from Nov. 3-4.

For more information about the 3 Percent Conference, visit 3percentconf.com.

See related article:Switch’s chief creative director liberates health care experiences.”

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