Tara McKenty: Why men are to thank for rising diversity levels in creative and technology

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAfBAAAAJGZjNzBhYWFlLWNiN2EtNDQzMC04ZGQ0LWI1NTc5MTFhZDVmMQ-thumb-400x400-249109.jpgBy Tara McKenty (left), creative director, Google APAC
 
David Waldon, Andy Blood, Damon Stapleton, John Merrifield, Matty Burton, Dave Bowman, David Park,  Ross Jauncey, David Slocum, Samual Payne, and Iain Nealie. To the untrained eye, this line up might look like a who's who of creative leadership. But they're so much more than that. They're a group of unsung diversity champions. A group I like to refer to as 'my man-tors'.
 
Mantor
Noun
1. An experienced and trusted male adviser.
"He was her friend and mantor until his death"
 
It may be surprising to hear a woman call out a cast of men as pivotal characters in her career - especially in a piece about diversity. But the truth is, my career and its trajectory is essentially a product of the guidance and support I've received from these guys.
Screen Shot 2017-10-12 at 12.39.01 pm.jpgOf course, this isn't to say that women don't play a part in mentoring up-and-comers. It's just to say that, I didn't have access to any. Because they're so, well, Rare.
 
If we look at current gender stats in Australia, only 13% of CEOs and 13.5% of ECDs in our industry are female. So women coming through the ranks have very few other women to mentor them and aspire to. Things get even trickier when you broaden the issue beyond gender.
 
So that's where the Mantors come in. In my mind, the increase in diversity rates is as much the work of the male champions of diversity, as it is of the female pioneers. Great men mentoring great women, creating opportunities for minorities to progress - despite a challenging environment - is our quickest win as an industry.
 
And it's a win-win. Because research shows that diversity in perspective gets to more interesting and successful solutions - a truth my troop of mantors have shown me in practice.
 
They've also proven, in building and running diverse departments themselves, that diversity isn't an 'or', it's an 'and'. It's not about favouring minorities over talented people who might fall into the majority. It's about having both. I personally don't want to see more women instead of men. I just want to see more women and minorities entering and staying in our industry. And, in time as a result, see future generations of advertisers learn from and aspire to a more diverse group of leaders.
 
So this is my ask. If you're a talented man in advertising and you are reading this, please think about the minorities you have in your team or agency, and do one thing to pass on your knowledge, skills. Or create an opportunity for someone within your business who has the odds stacked against them.
 
And if you're a rare talent who'd like to bolster your support base, but aren't sure where to start, you should look at applying for Rare - a new leadership masterclass for minorities which I recently co-founded with the support of a bunch of legends. But get in quick - applications close this Sunday 15 October.

Further information on the RARE program and applications for tickets to the masterclass are available online now at https://rare-syd.com. 80 spots are available, with those interested asked to submit an application about what makes them RARE.  

All proceeds from the event will be put towards grants and initiatives that further deliver on RARE's objective to boost diversity. If you are interested in supporting or sponsoring the event or a scholarship please contact info@rare-syd.com.

2 Comments

It’s 2017 FFS said:

Yeah but they’re still the patriarchy! Patriarchy!

Steve Dodds said:

By definition if you wish to change a patriarchy you need patriarchs to make the change.

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