At the IDP panel about Women in Advertising today, I was pleasantly surprised by the number of men in attendance — at least until I realized most of them were there to grab seats for the Yahoo seminar that was up next. It’s a shame; the panel discussion, moderated by Soledad O’Brien and held between Carol Lam (McCann Erikcson), Kimberly Kadlec (J&J), Gail Heimann (Weber Shandwick) and Martha Stewart (Herself), offered some great thoughts on the so-called “glass ceiling,” and probably was more important for men to listen to than women.
I actually have a bit of a unique perspective on the subject, because the group I work in at Wunderman NY is almost entirely staffed by women; my ACD and Creative Leads for both Art and Copy are women, as are the Art Director I usually partner with and one of our most talented junior ADs. I can’t tell if this is sheer chance, or some kind of instinctive self-selection. Either way, it’s funny that I’m often in the opposite position of the women at the panel — that of being the only man in the room. It’s an environment more conspicuous by what it lacks than what it includes, but here are a few things I’ve noticed:
It can be more collaborative. Not that there’s any less competition, but I often feel that the team aspect is stronger when I’m working with the ladies.
There’s more respect of personal time. It’s easier to say “Hey, I have to leave at such-and-such time” and not get dirty looks.
I eat a lot better, because we often take meals together, rather than going off on our own.
I tend to get kicked out of rooms a lot (even after 3 years, I’m not invited to girl talk, and, frankly, I don’t really expect to be).
Otherwise, I know it’s a cliche, but the one thing I don’t see any real difference is the work. I still can’t tell if a headline was written by a man or a woman, or who designed a particular lay-out. Maybe it’s the type of clients we work on, or maybe it’s just solid creative leadership. But I do know one thing — July is just around the corner, and the ladies tend to smell a lot better.