Simona Suman, Group Creative Director at MRM//McCann Romania will perform at the seminar program of the third international advertising festival Ad Black Sea, which will be held in Georgia, Batumi on 21-23 September. She will share her own experience with the report `WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP: SUCCESS IS A SET-UP`.

Organizing committee had an opportunity to find out details of Simona`s speech.  

Difficulties women deal with in career

Currently, women occupy less than 15% of Creative Director positions worldwide. From unconscious bias, to lack of mentorship and different forms of discrimination, there are many difficulties that women have to face on their way to success. On the other hand, companies are under pressure to promote women fast and at any cost. Without the proper set-up, it is possible that women might face even more challenges when they get to the top. I think that talking about these issues is the first step to a balanced and healthy work environment. But we have a long way to go until women feel that their working conditions offer the same opportunities as they do men. In my talk, I will try to address a few more steps companies can undergo to achieve this.

How to succeed and how to take lead

I’m certainly not a leadership guru who can tell you an exact recipe for success. I can only tell you what I’ve learned from interacting with the successful women who have been guests at Lady Steps, the series of leadership conferences I am organizing in Romania, and from my own personal experience.

Some women know right away that they possess certain leadership skills. Some find out along the way, when they are appointed a sizeable task or when they (sometimes accidentally) take leadership on an important project.

One thing that women can do is seek mentors, preferably inside the company,  and directly ask them to mentor them towards a leadership positions. Studies show that women who have been mentored show a 3x higher chance of being promoted. This is also because by the time they are mentored, they have actively expressed their willingness to take on more responsibility, which is another thing women don’t do very often.

Another thing is risk taking. You can only really lead by doing the job. It’s not something you can learn from books (even though they do help), because each person in your team and each company dynamic is different. So women who strive to be successful should start doing the job to the best of their abilities even before they are officially nominated to a certain position. They can practice on smaller projects and with smaller teams, so that they already have some managerial results when they ask for the promotion.

Of course there are many more things women can do, this is just a very short summary. There have even been countless books written on the subject and I suggest to everyone who is interested to read some of them. One of my favorites is Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office, by Lois P. Frankel.

Lady steps at advertising market

Lady Steps is the series of conferences launched together with Art Directors Club*Romania, by myself and my colleague Sandra Bold, who is currently a Senior Creative in Publicis London. We did this because when we were counting the female Creative Directors in Romania, we found that they were less than the fingers on our hands. So we asked ourselves what we could do to prepare and inspire the next generation of women who are just entering the field with high hopes of one day leading a creative department.

During our conferences, successful women in creative fields share their success stories and their way to the top. We’ve asked all of them to put together a list of tips that each of the ladies in the audience could apply at their own job. Each personal experience is different and each of our speakers has brought valuable advice to the table.

So far the events have been going very well, with a full house every time, which just shows that young women feel a need to connect and be inspired in a market that doesn’t give them many opportunities to do this.

I don’t have exact studies as to the situation in other markets, but I am convinced the statistics for women in leadership would be similar. One of our speakers at Lady Steps came from Hungary, where she is just one of TWO female Creative Directors nationwide. I think this already speaks for itself.

About Georgia in one word

Georgia is an emerging market that’s starting to show great talent and has started to gain recognition in festivals like ADC Europe, Golden Hammer and most recently the prestigious Cannes Lions. So, in just a few words: things are looking up in Georgia!

Simona had 9 years of passionate creative output in agencies big and small, in 3 different countries: Romania, Hungary and Czech Republic. Before joining McCann in 2014, she has worked for FCB Bucharest, deepblue Budapest, Y&R Prague, and Romanian independent agencies Mercury360 and Jazz Communication. Her work has been shortlisted & awarded in festivals such as Cannes Lions, Eurobest, Golden Drum, ADC Europe, Effie, as well as in local shows. She is the co-founder of an empowerment program for young women in creative industries called Lady Steps.

About empowerment and inspiration, career challenges and difficulties in not only professional scope you will hear at Ad Black Sea seminar program from the world-renown experts. Do not hesitate and apply for accreditation on festival`s website.

If you have any questions, please contact organization committee: festival@vrk.org.ua (Kate Grabovska).

See you in Batumi!

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