Thinking Social / Value

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Kat Gordon’s Take on Mad Women

When we think of social, we strive to be creative and ahead of the curve. It’s a constantly evolving field. And one aspect of the advertising world that is changing – and Ogilvy in particular is paying close attention to – is the role of women, in creative positions and positions of leadership. One woman who is championing creative female talent and leadership within our industry is Kat Gordon, founder of the 3% Conference.

Kat came through Ogilvy on her roadshow, and we got to sit down with her and asked five questions:

What didn’t you expect embarking on your roadshows that has surprised you?

What I didn’t expect – the extra gravy – is what I personally get out of each roadshow. The things I pick up from the panelists and the people I meet in each new city.

Diversity is such a complex issue…someone will say something off-hand, or tell a story…and there will be some little nugget that I get, that my makes my knowledge base bigger. That’s why I love visiting each new city. The expectation of “who will I meet? What will I learn?”

Has your crusade surfaced guidelines for how to live in the new boundary-free world of technology?

Yes! And it’s funny you should ask that because I’m reading Arianna Huffington’s new book “Thrive” which addresses this issue. Women have not created good enough boundaries for their space – technology is always sucking us back in – and the toll it takes on us works against our productivity.  It’s an inverse relationship. Advertising is a field that seems to value people who work all night, give their whole lives. But there’s no correlation to creative output – that the number of hours you put in, the better the work.  In fact the inverse is true. There is definitely a growing awareness of things that have gone unchecked for too long – are they serving us? Are they serving our clients? Are they serving our tenure in the industry? When young copywriters are dying in Asia after working 30 hours straight, it’s time for a wake-up call.

Do you think we can pair together our quality of life with the quality of product for our clients?

Yes. If you’re a client, and your creative team is burned out, they’re not going to deliver as good of a creative product for you. Agencies and clients alike need to set a new standard for creative inspiration – one not measured by hours alone or butts in an office chair. If the majority of ideas come to people when they are doing something rhythmic or automatic (like driving or running)  — or when exposing themselves to a novel idea (like at a museum, concert or when traveling) — then why not encourage creatives to have more flexibility in where they work and to replenish their creative juices after a big deadline?

If there is one association you want someone to have between diversity and Kat Gordon what would it be?

I have a slide in my presentation that says “Diversity is not” and “diversity is.”  And I think the “diversity is not” is more important. Diversity isn’t expensive. It’s not affirmative action. It’s not charity. Diversity is incredibly smart. It’s really, really good for the creative business we’re in, for creative output. Having more people who don’t look alike in the room is the best thing you can do for an ad agency, or quite frankly, any company.

What is one takeaway you want attendees to have when they walk away?

It would be, “I can be part of this movement.” This is not a conference where you phone it in. This is not a movement where I give you a prescription.  This is a movement where every single person has marching orders they can create for themselves based upon what they’ve taken from the 3% community.

Everyone can be an agent of change. All it takes is awareness plus a series of micro-actions put into play. That’s the beauty of the 3% movement. It belongs to us all.

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